"There are times I reflect on how different my life would be if I had kept all six pregnancies, and I am always thankful I did not. "

This story is published at Shout Your Abortion.

Well, at 45 years old, I’ve actually had three abortions. I also have three children. There are times I reflect on how different my life would be if I had kept all six pregnancies, and I am always thankful I did not. The first pregnancy was also my first abortion. I was 22 and just starting out in life. I was thin and sexy for the first time as I had struggled with my weight and self-acceptance all through adolescence. Things just got a little out of hand and I wound up pregnant when I knew I didn’t want to be. I was broke and not ready to ‘settle down’ and the father had anger issues I really couldn’t deal with, so abortion was the most reasonable thing to do. Why would I want to bring a child into such a bad situation?

Pregnancy number two came a few years later, and even though I don’t remember feeling particularly guilty about the previous abortion, I did have nightmares about somebody trying to kill the unborn child I was carrying. Once I accepted my own buried emotions, though, the bad dreams ceased.

Pregnancy number 3, a few years later, was my second abortion – I had recently left my husband and was trying to start my life over. It seemed too tumultuous a time to try and deal with an infant. It was sad, and I felt regret that I couldn’t provide an environment conducive to keeping the pregnancy.

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Once things settled down again and I met my second husband, we actually planned and had my second live birth. My second son was only a few months old when I discovered that I was pregnant for the fifth time despite breastfeeding. We felt that it would be too great a drain on my body’s resources so try to raise one infant while growing another, so, abortion number three.

This one I was very sad about, but I felt like I would have been cheating my infant son, like I wouldn’t have been able to provide enough nutrients to him or the fetus, that one or both of them would suffer a deficiency. He was nearly weaned when I became pregnant for the last time, and my final son was born 20 months after my second. At that point I got an IUD as I knew I didn’t want any more children.

Sometimes I think that maybe the lives I gave up came back to me as my living children? But obviously there is no way to know. What I do know is that I would not been able to be the mother I have been if I had not made the choice to take control of my own reproduction, and I look back now without regret.

~ J.R.R.

"As someone who has been sexually active since 1991, having many pregnancies is not odd."

"He was like Jekyll & Hyde."