I got pregnant in my twenties with my boyfriend.

There was a lot of conflict in our relationship, we were both immature, I was depressed, and I hadn’t finished school. As soon as I realized I was pregnant, I knew abortion was the right choice and my boyfriend agreed. I felt the weight of the decision and was sad about it, but I had clarity I was making the right choice. The way I thought of it was that I was choosing to kill a potential life, but not one that yet had an independent will to live.

On the day of my abortion I went to Planned Parenthood with my best girlfriend. I preferred her support to my boyfriend’s although he offered to come. The group of women there was very diverse in terms of age, race, and circumstances–we talked a bit in the waiting room and I appreciated hearing their stories. I received some counseling, which was sensitive, non-coercive (actually the opposite: super supportive of my choices and non-directive) and empathetic. I have a chronic health condition which they did a good job addressing from a medical standpoint. The procedure itself was mildly uncomfortable, but not terrible, and all the providers were kind. Afterward I lay on a bed recovering, noticing the beauty of the trees outside the window and feeling very, very grateful for the legal, safe, compassionate care I was receiving. When I was released my friend and I got sandwiches and drove to a beach where we watched a big family with many kids playing. I was struck by the beauty of all the kids and relieved not to be pregnant myself anymore.

My boyfriend and I stayed together and worked through our issues. Nine years later we married. We had two kids that were planned who brought us great joy. Then a year and a half ago I became unexpectedly pregnant at 40 despite contraception. We struggled a lot with whether to have an abortion or not because we felt emotionally, logistically, and financially stretched already–especially my husband. We went to abortion counseling, which was very helpful for clarifying issues, and wrestled together with this hard decision. We managed to stay connected and really listen to each other. Ultimately we decided to have the baby–today is her first birthday. She has brought us great joy, but also has been all the work and stress that we feared. Nevertheless we are very content and happy with our decision to continue the pregnancy.

I am so grateful that I was able to have an abortion when I was young and unready for children. From the first moment until now, I have been at peace with that decision and it has felt right. I am also grateful that I was able to have children at the right time. My kids are an amazing blessing. And I am especially grateful that when faced with an unexpected pregnancy again later in life I was able to get support to make a thoughtful decision–and that abortion was a possible option. I treasure my marriage and my three children, and believe the ability to make reproductive choices that were right for me has been foundational for realizing these blessings.