It was a few weeks after my birthday, three years ago, that I found out I was pregnant. I was on the pill, and was strict about taking my pill each day, but that didn’t prevent the pregnancy. I had just begun seeing someone the day before I realized I was pregnant, and I knew that the man that fathered this child was my verbally abusive, manipulative ex boyfriend. I wasn’t sure this new relationship would last, but what I was sure of is the amount that I had drank on my birthday, and how terrified I was to lose this new relationship. I was terrified to tell anyone that I was pregnant. I knew without a doubt that I was pregnant even before I took a home pregnancy test, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at it. I asked my sister to come over and read the test to me. I never had a moment of hesitation in the decision to have an abortion. I was in no place financially or emotionally to be responsible for another person, and I knew in my heart that if I were to follow through with the pregnancy, the child would have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I knew I would never be able to deal with the guilt, and I knew that I would never be able to get away from the manipulation and self-loathing that resulted from being around my ex boyfriend. From the first moment I realized I was pregnant, I viewed the pregnancy as a punishment. I would never be able to support or care for the child I had ruined as a result of my poor choices. I considered telling my new boyfriend but I was afraid he would tuck his tail between his legs and run away, so I went to the doctor, amidst stares and whispers from the nursing staff, and asked for the name and contact information of a clinic that would be safe to go to. I lived in a small town then, and everyone knew everyone’s business. I was out of my mind with fear that all those closest to me would find out and judge me. I drove the hour and a half to the nearest clinic with my mother and sister, neither of which supported my decision, but wanted to see me safe. I had to go through counseling and they made me watch the ultrasound before they sat me in the waiting room to wait my turn.

Now, three years later, I feel guilt and shame – not because I chose to terminate the pregnancy, but because I still haven’t told my boyfriend. I’ve never once regretted my choice to end the pregnancy and walk away from the life that almost sucked me in. I now have a wonderful life with the new boyfriend from the beginning of the story, and we’re planning on starting a family after we get married. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the day I made the decision, but I’ve never once regretted the decision either.