In my mid-twenties, I was in grad school, working irregular hours at a grocery store for federal minimum wage, and in an abusive relationship. I didn’t have health insurance, so I didn’t have birth control. One day, a condom broke. I was nervous about it from the get-go, and I bought several pregnancy tests and checked constantly for a week, so I caught it very early. But then…I didn’t know what to do. I absolutely could not have a child. I couldn’t support one financially, I couldn’t be tied to this terrible relationship by a baby, I couldn’t shoulder all of this student loan debt and have to drop out of grad school. Worse, I have bipolar disorder, and something like 20% of bipolar women suffer post-partum psychosis. I was also, as it turned out, less than a year away from developing a crippling digestive disorder that would keep me from being able to eat solid food for almost a year. I went to the hippie store and bought a shitload of pennyroyal, because I’d read that pennyroyal tea could trigger a miscarriage. When it didn’t work, I finally confessed to my boyfriend’s mother, and she paid for the abortion procedure out of pocket. It was not a pleasant experience, but a week of pain and discomfort was a small price to pay when weighed against the years of difficulty I would have faced as a mother with a serious and untreated mental illness, a digestive disorder with no cure that left me weak and exhausted just from normal daily tasks, and an unreliable partner. Not to mention the effect on the child’s life. Would a baby even have been able to develop normally on my increasingly limited caloric intake? I doubt it. Even after all this, I wasn’t able to get my tubes tied until I was 30. The doctors kept saying, “You’ll want a baby someday!”