Speaker's Age: 20
Story Told In: 2012
100_4509_picnik

It's only been 20 weeks since I had my abortion. Every night I go to bed knowing that I gave up my baby, and every day I wake up with the same thought.

I wish I could say I became pregnant by accident. Technically, it wasn't planned, but in reality my boyfriend and I didn't do anything to prevent it. I hadn't been on the pill for almost a year and condoms were too expensive and inconvenient. I'm embarrassed to admit that but part of telling 'my story' is starting with the truth.

By the time I had taken the first pregnancy test I figured I was around 6 weeks but I waited almost 3 more weeks to tell my boyfriend because we were going on vacation. I told him the day after we came back, through text message because I was too nervous to tell him in person. He was just as scared as I was and immediately replied, “OK, abortion.” It broke my heart and for the next month I did everything I could to persuade him otherwise.

My last ditch chance was to talk to my mother. I was sick to my stomach and cried my eyes out while telling her. She was just as calm as my boyfriend was and could only ask me one question. “What are you going to do?”
Keeping our baby meant a future of struggle, just getting by and never really obtaining anything. We’d get an apartment, maybe rent a house and most likely have to get on welfare. I wanted the fancy wedding, I wanted the honeymoon, and the baby shower, and a life I could be proud of.

My mother’s indifference and my boyfriend’s wavering support—- everyday he’d change his mind from wanting to keep the baby to wanting an abortion—- ultimately made me haphazardly decide to get an abortion. It was brash; I went from wanting the baby for nearly two months to getting an abortion in a week. I called my local clinic around the time I thought I was 12 weeks pregnant and made my appointment.

A week later, I showed up with my boyfriend in tow for my 8:30 AM appointment. The clinic was jam packed with women of all ages and races. I wanted to run out of there so fast. My boyfriend sat quietly the whole time, not really talking to me. I requested to see the ultrasound and to take home a picture of the ultrasound. When the ultrasound tech showed me the screen, she gave me a funny look like I was going to explode. I don’t know where my head was, but I was proud. I saw the baby’s head, spine and perfectly delicate little body. That baby was mine, and I didn’t fully understand that it would be gone so soon.

After my ultrasound, I was pulled in by a counselor who told me I wasn’t 12 weeks pregnant. I was actually 15 weeks and 4 days. They didn’t fully explain to me what that meant and I wasn’t able to think clearly enough to realize it. They asked if I still wanted to go through with it. I said yes.

After almost three hours of waiting I finally went into the procedure room. They gave me the morphine and my body felt so heavy, I couldn’t move. Nearly ten minutes later they escorted me to the recovery room.

I cried. They handed me tissues and I cried some more. After an hour, I could leave and my boyfriend took me to his house to sleep. By that time I had calmed down but I excused myself to go shower and cried in silence so I wouldn’t worry him.

Now when I look at my boyfriend, I see features and traits of a baby I will never know. He doesn’t mention it, and every now and then I will awkwardly say something when I’m feeling sad, which is a lot of the time. I know it bothers him. He had supported the abortion from the beginning but neither of us realized what it’d really do to us. Recently, while having an awkward heart-to-heart, he looked at me and said, “You know, this will never go away for the rest of our lives.” He’s so right; we paid a heavy price for a second chance. My faith has been shaken and I’m not sure if what I did was right for me or in the eyes of God. In terms of practicality, I know we couldn’t provide for our baby. I hope that one day I won’t feel so sad and I can make peace with my choice.