I was in my final year of school, and got pregnant after only a week or two with my new boyfriend. My period has always been irregular and I kept telling myself it would come someday soon, but it didn’t. I got sick after dinner twice in a row, then in the morning, and finally my mother went out…
I had my abortion when I was 17. I knew I wasn’t ready the minute my doctor told me I was pregnant. I started to ugly cry right there on the spot. I wanted to “grow up”. I had a new boyfriend, like really new, less than two months new. I could barely make it to school on time and remain there for an entire day, forget having a baby.
Around 13 seconds after being told I was knocked up the decision was made I was going to have an abortion. Yes, 13 seconds was all it took.
I wanted to hang out with friends, get a job, maybe go to art school (I never did but I wanted to.) I wanted kids. Later. Way later. I wanted to do it right. I wanted to get married. I wanted to travel and introduce my new boyfriend to things he had never done (camping, he had never been camping). I wanted to continue to fuck up my life and learn from my mistakes.
My abortion allowed me to do all of that. I screwed up so many times and I learned so many lessons. I got married. I had kids, 3 of them. I took my “new boyfriend” now husband camping. I have a great time raising my kids. I was ready for these kids, I wanted them, they were not a burden, and I would never resent them. Babies deserve love.
My dreams came true. — @KnittingRad
I’m grateful for the safe, legal, affordable, covered-by-insurance abortion I had at age 20 after becoming accidentally pregnant by a man who was cheating on his girlfriend with me and didn’t want to marry me or parent with me. Now that I am older and am married to a loving partner we are looking into insemination or adoption. My dream is to be a parent with this wonderful woman I loved enough to marry, and to bring an eagerly anticipated child into this world. — K
I haven’t had an abortion.
What I’ve had are three or four pregnancy scares — you know, when it starts to really sink in that you still haven’t gotten your period and then your life flashes before your eyes and you can’t concentrate for a couple of weeks because of your prolonged panic attack: how many days ago was it, exactly, that we had sex? How long does it take to be sure? What will I do? Who can I tell? Can I get a free test somewhere? Where would I go? I don’t have a car…does the Planned Parenthood on the bus route even do abortions? Can I go by myself? I can’t tell anyone, anyone. How much does an abortion cost? I can’t be pregnant.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a scare like that, and thanks to my IUD and advancing age I hope I’ll never have another. The last time I did, in 2002, I was 30 years old and my life was a mess (completely apart from any pregnancy scare): untreated depression, heavy drinking, a job I hated, a troubled marriage, no close friends, a city I didn’t know well. So it would be stretch to say that knowing abortion was an option helped preserve my “hopes and dreams,” but it would not be a stretch to say that without it I would have been suicidal. — Anonymous
[I understand the desire for anonymity, but like our LGBT brothers and sisters who came out of the closet, I believe it’s imperative - particularly for women of the Boomer generation - to come out about their own abortions to support the reproductive freedoms of the next generation of women and the one after that].
Having said that, I’m not certain I’d frame my abortion in terms of “hopes and dreams.” I’d frame it as a terrible time for me to have a baby.
Here’s the story.
I was married and in my third year of law school when I had my first abortion. I wasn’t using the pill because physicians were warning women that the pill increased a woman’s chance of having breast cancer. I was using a diaphragm and spermicide.
I got pregnant in the first semester of my last year in law school. I remember sitting in student health waiting for the results, looking at a calendar on the wall and calculating what might be my due date. If I were pregnant and carried the pregnancy to term, I’d be giving birth when I’d otherwise be taking my final exams and beginning my bar review course.
My marriage wasn’t going well. It would fail a couple of years later, largely the result of what my husband considered an excessive focus on my studies and, subsequently, on the time I expended to learn my trade during my early years of legal practice.
I knew women who had infants and toddlers in law school and managed to balance both career and motherhood. I knew I couldn’t. I was stretched as far as my emotional and psychological well-being could stretch just to get my legal studies done and pay enough attention to my husband to keep him relatively happy.
We weren’t poor, but we needed a second income - mine - and of course I had law school indebtedness - nothing like today’s students, but still, I felt I needed to learn my trade and have a steady job before I had children.
No one tried to shame or blame me for this choice. My husband, a social worker, suggested that I was “blocking” my “grief.” But I didn’t feel grief. I was 27 and I didn’t doubt we could have children when our marriage and my career were both on more certain footing.
I have no idea what would have happened had I not been able to obtain an early abortion. I can’t imagine that I would have given up my investment in a legal career. At the time, all of the women lawyers who came before me warned me not to have a child until I made partner because having a child before that time told the men that you weren’t really serious about your career.
I didn’t see the point of having children only to have a nanny raise them and I knew I’d need additional help and, of course, the income to pay for it. I was completely at sea about planning a life that included both career and motherhood. There weren’t a lot of role models available. Something would have suffered. Someone would have suffered.
I had a career and am still having it. I never had children but I don’t regret that choice. I have wonderful step-children and I mentor dozens of Gen-Y women who I’d be proud to have as my daughters. Sometimes I see myself as a transitional maternal figure who allows young women make a clean rather than a messy break from a troubled late adolescent mother-daughter dynamic. I’m sure that have been plenty of childless women like me in history who have served this and many other roles in place of biological motherhood.
I love my life, my husband, my step-children, my work, my colleagues and my friends. I believe I’m a net benefit to the human race and defy another pretend to know what’s good for me or for my potential progeny, or for those of any other woman, ever.
Walk a mile in my shoes before you even think of judging. — Victoria Pynchon
I couldn’t afford my car payments, I was behind on my credit card payments, and like most everyone knew I was living hand to mouth. How on earth could I afford to have a child? I worked at a day care in the mornings, took classes in the afternoons, and waited tables at night. There was no question that I needed to have an abortion and the only question was how I would pay for it. My boyfriend paid half and borrowed some from his friends. My coworkers at the restaurant helped out a little for “car repairs” and I put together a pathetic little garage sale. Thinking back I guess I knew it would all work out, which it did, thank goodness — that was 22 years ago, and my life has moved on in so many ways.
It feels a little weird to think about my “hopes and dreams” because it’s not like I’ve had a fairy-tale life (who does?), but in the alternate reality where I had to quit school and somehow raise a child that I DID NOT WANT TO HAVE and was in no way prepared to care for, I am stunted, left behind, broken, and resentful. I shudder to think. How on earth can anyone justify denying women their hopes and dreams? — Deirdre M.