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I was 20 with an “I’m invincible” attitude and a boyfriend who cared more about getting high than getting a job. After the “shock” of finding out I was pregnant wore off, I was pretty happy about it. A few weeks later, during a 21st birthday trip to Vegas, I told my parents. I don’t think I realized the magnitude of how a baby would change my life until I saw the look of devastation on their faces. My Catholic mother, who would never say “abortion,” pretty much had it written all over her face. My father cried, for maybe the third time I had ever seen him cry, and kept calling himself a failure. During my plane ride home I allowed myself to consider the option of having an abortion. My boyfriend made up my mind for me when he cashed our rent check for drugs.

The hardest part of my abortion was the protesters. I’ll never forget one woman saying, “your baby is crying out for help.” I was pretty numb and remained that way for months. Just as I was starting to heal I found myself pregnant again from the same dysfunctional boyfriend. I never thought I’d be “that girl” but I was her. This time I couldn’t bring myself to go back to Planned Parenthood, let alone tell my parents, because I was full of shame. I went by myself to a private clinic where I was examined alone by a male doctor who took off his glove. I just remember telling myself ‘get through this and you can get through anything.’ This abortion was unlike the vacuum used at Planned Parenthood with drugs that made the experience hazy. This was painful, this was my personal hell. I got through it and I tucked the experience deep inside.

On August 24th, 2010 I gave birth to a beautiful son. I feared I would experience deep regret for my abortions once I had my son. I was truly shocked by feeling the exact opposite, for the first time in my life I was truly at peace with both choices. This time around I was 30, married to an honorable man, owned a house, and had the ability to financially provide for a child. I no longer feel shame because I know I did the right thing for me.