I had just turned 20 and had completed my junior year in college. This was my first sexual relationship; I was naive and ill-informed. We’d had sex only a few times before I realized I was pregnant. We were in the infatuation stage of an early relationship,and I didn’t know him very well. My parents were conservative Christians, far from sex-positive; I couldn’t imagine telling them, or raising a child on my own.
To my great good fortune this happened just before Roe v. Wade. I didn’t really hesitate about the choice. After reading in my college library about fetal development, I learned from the newspaper that a women’s clinic had opened in Minneapolis. My best friend from high school and my boyfriend’s brother lent us the money for the procedure. The people at the clinic were lovely, supportive; they made sure that I was sure about what I wanted to do. A nurse held my hand through the procedure, which hurt more than I had expected — something real was happening — but years later I had another procedure where the cervix had to be dilated, and it hurt just as much.
Afterward, I felt only tremendous relief. I married that boyfriend and we went through graduate school together before an amicable divorce. I earned my PhD and have a fulfilling career as a teacher, and a happy life with a lovely man. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have a kid — who would be 40 years old now! But I’ve never regretted this decision. I was nowhere near being ready to nurture another human being, and in some ways, my students have been like my children in that I have been able to help them grow.