I had an abortion when I was 22. I was in a relationship that was only a few months old. My boyfriend did not want me to have an abortion, but supported my decision either way. He knew it was MY decision.

I was a recent college graduate, and had begun working toward my masters that fall. I was not prepared in any way financially or emotionally to raise a child. I was a pack a day smoker and a heavy drinker at the time. I lived in a tiny studio apartment in a semi-bad neighborhood. My plan always was to earn my masters, get married, and have children when it was the right time – and this was so very clearly NOT the right time.

While terminating that pregnancy was the right choice for me, it was also the worst day of my life. I had the procedure at Planned Parenthood, right before Christmas. I took several days off from work. My boyfriend took care of me as I left the clinic, and held me as I threw up into a garbage can on our way home, sick not only from the antibiotics they prescribed but from emotional distress of the day.

I had plans to spend Christmas with my mother, but from the start she could tell that something was off. There was no way I was going to tell her what I’d done, having been raised in a Catholic household. The truth came out when she noticed the band-aid on my arm when I’d received a Rhogam shot because my blood type is Rh negative. When she asked what had happened I just broke down and cried.

I was shocked by what came next. She held me and told me it was ok. That I shouldn’t feel alone. That she’d became pregnant not long after my oldest sibling was born, during her first marriage. She’d found out that her husband was cheating on her and knew things were headed toward divorce. She also knew that she wasn’t ready to be a single mother of not just one, but two young children. She had an abortion, pre-Roe V Wade, performed by a sympathetic doctor in the safety of a hospital as a D&C. She told me that it was the hardest thing she ever did but that she will always believe it was the right choice. It allowed her to move on, take care of the child she already had, and eventually meet my father and continue to build her family.

It was also the right choice for me. My boyfriend and I remained together, are now married, and have two beautiful children. This is the family and the life that I dreamed of and worked hard for.

I will always regret that I had an abortion, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I cringe when it is implied that abortions are “too easy” to get. Because even when the procedure is available and safe, it is never easy. I hope that it is a decision that my own child will never have to make, but it would be HER choice, just as it was mine, and my mother’s before me. May abortions always be safe, legal, and rare.