Pity my story if I was raped as a little girl by my father; cry for me if my unborn child was diagnosed with a terminal illness or malformation…
My story has no trauma or sadness. Mostly full of gratitude for the people who supported me.
I was a young woman, just married and barely 20, in the mid 70’s. The birth control pill was still fairly new with no time for many long-term side effect studies. As a teenager, I had obtained birth control pills from Planned Parenthood. The people there had always been great, supportive and non-judgmental. Although I later had insurance through my job, I continued going to Planned Parenthood, not only because they were so great, but I also felt it was the only place where they took time and I actually got a thorough physical.
After about 3 years of taking the pill with no side effects or problems, I started getting ill at work in the morning. I would turn green, get dizzy and almost fall out of my chair. This continued for a week or so before I returned to Planned Parenthood. I had an episode while talking to the nurse and almost fell off the exam table. She told me to stop taking the pill immediately and handed me a bag of condoms and spermicidal foam.
My husband and I had no experience with either. The foam irritated and burned us both. Each month we avoided pregnancy made it that much easier to be slack and take more chances. Of course about 6 months in, the inevitable happened and I became pregnant.
We again returned to Planned Parenthood to confirm (this was before home pregnancy tests) and again the women there were all so supportive and great. The problem was, the women there knew I was married, knew both my husband and I had jobs. When the nurse came in to tell me I was pregnant, she was excited for us. All I could think about was the awful stories she must see every day coming into her office. To her, a married, and what appeared to be stable woman, was in front of her who should be happy to hear she’s pregnant.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her this was an unwanted thing for us. I was able to obtain an abortion through a local GYN that was partially covered by my insurance. It was an easy procedure. I went into his office saying I knew I was pregnant and didn’t want to be. He also was very supportive and took great care of me. Afterwards, we were more careful with condoms; later trying IUD’s (that were disastrous) until finally finding a lower dose birth control pill.
This happened when I was 21. We waited until I was 29 before we had our first child. I knew that when we were ready to have a child, we would do it right. I had been able to save money to be able to enjoy a lengthy maternity leave. My husband and I were 21 and 19 when we married. We knew the odds of us still being together after marrying so young were pretty slim. Having an unwanted child at that age would have ruined our marriage and our future would have been fairly predictable.
We are now married 44 years with 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren. We are so grateful that we were able to have control over our lives and have children when we wanted. This isn’t a sad story that “justifies” our decision. I’m not a victim. I made a decision on how I wanted to live my life and have never been sorry.
For some to tell me I murdered a child; I would say that’s the same as your wishing my other children dead, as my husband and I know we wouldn’t have stayed together to have these children all those years later. We were too young. We made the life we wanted. Again, I’m grateful.