Speaker's Age: 23
Story Told In: 2008
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Before I got pregnant, I had taken other pregnancy tests out of pure, irrational fear. I always used condoms and other contraceptives but still sometimes became paranoid about getting pregnant.

The boyfriend that I became pregnant with was also very cautious. He wanted me to be on birth control and always wanted to use a condom even while I was on birth control. He came from a Catholic, Maronite family who was very focused on his academic success. Before I became pregnant he would occasionally mention if the incident ever occurred that I became pregnant, he would try to talk me into keeping it. He was pro-choice but always said that he would personally never want to go through an abortion and wanted children sometime in his future. I had always felt the same and agreed with him.

When I took the pregnancy test that confirmed my pregnancy, if you had asked, I would have said I was 95% sure I wasn't pregnant. I, at the time, had felt usually sick and was waiting to get my period although I had started cramping and was sure it was on it's way. When I found out it was positive I was shocked, but calm. To me this was a part of life. I didn't know how he or anyone else would react, and because of my lack of reaction I called one of my closest friends. They were supportive and openly offered to loan me the money to help pay for my abortion, should I decide to have one.

At the time, my boyfriend and I were a long distance couple and in a way always had been, each studying at colleges in different cities. Most of our interaction with each other has been over the phone. When I finally talked to him I was still unnervingly calm about it, a state I would remain in until a day or two after my abortion. He took it very well and told me he would support me in whatever decision I made. It was a very short conversation. He called me again later to talk about our options: keeping the baby (he would transfer med schools to be near the child and home), adoption, open adoption, and abortion. Although he offered these options he never once tried to talk me into keeping my baby. He was never unsupportive, and was always very clear that whatever I decided he would back me up in. Not until afterwards did I become angry that he did not express a clear opinion, leaving the very difficult decision completely up to me with no feedback whatsoever about what his feelings might be.

I, in particular, have never felt guilty about my abortion and even though I have at times been sad, angry, and regretful about my choice, I have never wavered on why I did choose to make it. We were very young and immature, had no monetary resources, weren't even in the same geographic location, and even though we loved each other very much and still do, our relationship didn't seem stable enough to raise a child. With a very stoic opinion about the overpopulation of the earth, I decided that because I could not adeptly care for my child, I felt the responsible decision was to have an abortion. I began to approach it as a hurdle, an obstacle that I would brave just like any other.

I have acutely felt the loss of my pregnancy since my abortion and have privately grieved, at first a lot, and now only sporadically and when I happen to think about it. It was difficult after I took the first pill and knew the fetus was dead because I could feel that it no longer felt alive inside me. My situation became more complicated when I initially spoke to my doctor, who helped me through the abortion, and he assured me that I would never see the fetus. I did happen to see it and that has caused many feelings of regret and attachment I didn't know existed. I became very angry with my doctor when I told him what I had seen and he argued with me over the validity of what I had actually seen and then abruptly told me that there was a "reality" to the situation I was going through. A reality I felt I had experienced more than he had and that he didn't have any right to admonish me over apparently not acknowledging.

When I saw the fetus I remember being so numbed and shocked that I could not interpret my feelings at the time and felt that I had none, although I became sick at the sight of the removed. Not knowing what else to do, I flushed it down the toilet with everything else and when I continued to think on it felt an overwhelming sense of love and then regret for what I had done. Perhaps, I thought, I should have tried to bury it? However I know now that these feelings, while valid and important, are not entirely helpful. I did only what I could do at the time. I cannot feel guilty over not doing something so trivial, and what would have been a spectacle and strange experience for the friend who offered her home to me in order to help me through this.

I called my boyfriend and had the emotional conversation everyone else felt I should have experienced before. I was angry and, though I was grateful for his support, I blamed him for not expressing what he wished I would have done. He took everything in stride and after I blazed and released all of my feelings, I told him that I felt better and thanked him for listening. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my very soul. I was almost bouyant with relief until he called me later that evening and exploded. He didn't understand what I meant when I said I felt like he took responsibility for the mechanics but not the actual decision that I thought "we" should have made together. I only tried to be as supportive to him and I felt he had been to me. While I still feel he should have been more vocal about his opinion, I realize now how differently people react to difficult situations.

I still grieve from time to time but have learned to deal with my situation and the decision I made, how it turned out, and how it made me feel. I still feel comfortable yet at times uncomfortable with [the decision] and how I dealt with my feelings and experiences.