I was 20 years old, and my boyfriend and I were living in his parents’ house – both of us working low-paying restaurant jobs. When I learned that I was pregnant, I knew the timing wasn’t good, but was still ecstatic at the thought of the life growing inside me. I’d been raised in a religious home, and the idea of doing anything other than completing the pregnancy and keeping the baby did not enter my mind.

Then, one evening in the second month, my boyfriend’s mother invited me into her room to talk. She shared with me details of my boyfriend’s genetic disease, which had been passed down through his father – I’d known he had it, but hadn’t been fully aware of how awful his early years had been on both him and his parents, with over 18 surgeries in the first two years (and additional ones, less frequently, throughout his life). She also shared with me that she had aborted her second pregnancy because she didn’t want to risk putting another child through that. She didn’t tell me what she thought I should do, but she offered her full support if I decided to end the pregnancy.

I decided that I didn’t want to subject a child to so much pain and fear either, so I accepted her offer, and she helped me make the appointment with Planned Parenthood, drove me to and from, and was very sympathetic and caring. There was some bearable discomfort during the procedure, and I felt quite emotionally wrung-out and teary afterward. Since then, I’ve had moments of sadness and wistfulness, but not regret – I know I made the right choice, both for me and for the child that might have been.

My boyfriend and I broke up after a year or so. Years later, his mother happened to be shopping at a store in which I worked, and I gave her a hug and thanked her for helping me make that choice, and supporting me through the process.