I found out I was pregnant on a hot summer afternoon, my hands shaking as a peed on a pregnancy test, already knowing the answer before the pink symbols appeared. I called my boyfriend of six weeks and with a shaky voice told him to come over. He held me and asked what I wanted to do and made a joke about moving to the suburbs to raise our baby. For me, any option besides terminating the pregnancy wasn’t even considered. I had just graduated from college and knew that having a baby would change my life forever in a way that I wasn’t ready for and frankly that I didn’t want. I remember telling my sister with my heart pounding and so much shame and guilt. I called my mom a few days later and again felt so embarrassed and stupid for having become pregnant without planning it. They both were incredibly supportive which I felt so grateful for, but I think I continue to carry around that feeling that I “should have known better than to get pregnant”.

The abortion itself and the intake process was fairly quick. I went by myself because I wanted to and thinking back now, almost a year later, I think I chose to go alone because I was too ashamed and embarrassed to ask someone to come with me. My doctors and nurses were amazing and supportive and fanned me with magazines and smoothed my forehead while I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain and cramping and invasion of my womb. The nurse that was there was so beautiful and comforting and complimented my deep breathing and I felt so cared for. After it was over the doctor kissed my forehead and again I felt incredibly taken care of and supported by these amazing women.

After my abortion I biked home and drank iced tea while my boyfriend fed me popsicles. Later that evening I went to work because I didn’t know how to ask for the evening off. I think the shame and embarrassment made me feel like I didn’t deserve time off for a stupid mistake I had made.

I still haven’t told my dad, and only a couple friends. I want to share with others because it was a big experience I had and I don’t want to be limited by my shame. I think we as women and girls are told that unplanned pregnancy is rare and only happens to sluts and girls that aren’t responsible about sex and that an unplanned pregnancy is the worst mistake you can make. But I think the truth is that pregnancies are simply our bodies doing what they are meant to do, and as a society we have created a culture of shame and fear around this common experience. I am so lucky that I had access to an abortion, and having had this experience has made me more pro-choice than I already was. I hope that by sharing our stories, we can create a culture of support for each other and help make abortions accessible to all women.