I was your classic rebellious teenager; I skipped school, went to parties, and did a lot of things I now regret. I had a really rough home life and was bullied pretty badly up until high school. Needless to say I suffered from incredibly low self-esteem. That’s probably why I got so hooked on him; the would-have-been father of my baby.

He started out as my ‘knight in shining armor.’ He was someone I finally felt cared about me after years of neglect from my family. Well, care turned into control and control turned into abuse. My parents never questioned where the black eyes came from. When I had to get my front tooth replaced I told them I bumped it on a glass cup and they believed me. I followed that boy around for years and let him destroy me inside and out.

I always get backlash when I share this story; they tell me I was so young it should have been easy to leave. But I can promise you right now that it’s not, it literally never is. He was so charismatic, persuasive, manipulative. He was the type of guy that could convince you the sky wasn’t blue. When he told me he couldn’t get girls pregnant, I believed him. I went to one of those ‘abstinence-only’ schools, and I was naive about a lot of things. After months without protection and no pregnancy, I thought I was in the clear.

I was 17, a senior in high school when it finally happened. It took me a while to realize, I was constantly missing periods because my body was literally so stressed out from the abuse. As soon as the test came back positive the first thought that came to my mind was “abortion.” But then a second thought came, a much more chilling and painful thought – this was our baby and I loved it. I imagined it would have freckles like me and bright blue eyes like him. I would never have to face losing him again, and now he might actually treat me with respect and love.

Deciding to abort was so much harder than I ever imagined. I accidentally wound up in one of those ‘problem pregnancy’ clinics. They literally told me God would hate me and I would risk breast cancer and never conceive again. Nothing could be as painful, though, as when they show you tiny fingers that could be yours.

I would like to say I decided to abort because I realized I couldn’t support a child at 17 without an education or even a job. That was definitely part of it, but I’d be lying if I said it was even the most important reason. I did it because the father did not support me. He accused me of sleeping with other people. He told me to let him know when I “got rid of our mistake.” So, I did. He didn’t even call once the entire week of.

It was horrible, but it healed. I’ve had a lot of traumatic things happen in my life and I don’t consider my abortion one of them. Sometimes, I even look at it in a positive light because my mother really came to my rescue and it helped us get closer.

Less than a year after my abortion, my boyfriend committed suicide. I finally broke up with him and he knew I actually meant it this time. Things got really bad. He dragged me downstairs to his basement and strangled me. He hung himself directly after I escaped. This was the only time I regret my abortion. His mother told anyone and everyone that he would still be around if he had that baby. I believed it. I mourned the loss of him and a blue-eyed baby with freckles that would never, ever exist. Eventually, I convinced myself it was for the better.

If abortion were illegal or I would have been forced to have that baby I honestly don’t know where I would be today. I don’t even know if I would be alive or if he would have killed me by now. I do know that I wouldn’t be where I am; in graduate school learning to help others. In a way I owe my life to my abortion, and I’m thankful everyday for it.