I had an abortion when I was 16. I started dating a guy who was 18 when I was 15. We were young and thought we were invincible and I got pregnant 5 months into us dating. We were both terrified to tell our parents. He was just about to graduate and had no idea what he was doing next and I didn’t have a job or a license yet. We went to his prom and struggled to have a good time without worrying about what we were going to do. I researched clinics on the computer (this was pre-iPhones) and I was privileged to have enough money to pay cash saved from birthday and holiday gifts from family members. We went on the day he graduated from high school, after the ceremony. We didn’t tell anyone, and we didn’t ever talk about other options. We took a train, a bus, and a taxi. We were late to the appointment, but they took me anyway and did my procedure last. We were there for at least 3 hours. I was also privileged to be living in a state where minors could sign that they were mature enough to make their decision to have an abortion without notifying their parent. I remember the clinic staff telling me how they could tell I was smart and mature for my age and that they knew I had important things ahead of me in life and that I was making the right decision. They didn’t allow men in the back, but because I was the last patient and because I was so young, they let my boyfriend come back and hold my hand. It took 5 minutes and then it was over and we left. I was still in the same white dress I had worn to his ceremony. I never regretted it and I still don’t. Sometimes I think about the fact that I would have an 8 year old now just for fun. But I know it was the right decision for both of us. We ended up dating for 8 years in total, and while many of them were great, it turned abusive and toxic for several of the last years. He had 3 children with another woman while we were still together and in the darkest moments a tiny part of me was jealous that I hadn’t had his child too. But I knew what was right for me, and I know that my life would not be what it is now if I hadn’t had that abortion at 16. I have a master’s degree, a fulfilling career focused on advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, and a healthy relationship with an amazing man who I hope to have children with one day, when we’re ready. There is nothing unique about my story – it’s pretty typical and common. And yet, I have only ever told 2 people about it. My parents, family, and even best friends still don’t know. I work in sexual and reproductive health and rights and advocate for abortion rights everyday and yet I still can’t talk about my own abortion. I am not ashamed and I do not regret it, but I can’t make myself feel like it is normal to talk about it openly and freely. I have only ever had one other person in my life (a best friend) tell me that she had an abortion, while it was happening. I am hoping that sharing my story in writing and reading others will help me to start saying it out loud, and hopefully all of us to start feeling okay sharing our stories.