This story is published at Women on Web.
I've had two abortions. The first occurred in 1998; it was my senior year of high school. I was dating a much older man and was convinced to have sex without a condom or protection. I should have known better, but then again I was barely 17 and he was 25.
He quickly dumped me after he found out I was pregnant, then called me a liar. I hate him to this day. He made me feel like I was disgusting, trash, unwanted and damaged goods. I was a child. He was a man. Disgusting.
My mother arranged the procedure at a clinic out of town. Fortunately, we had the means to afford a clinic far away from my small town where no one would recognize me. I, a 17 year old kid, had to walk past protesters who called me whore. My Mom was in tears, shaking by the time we got to the door.
The procedure was in fact very cold. No one cared, it felt like an assembly line. I was numb the whole way through and for days afterward. But, I'm glad I did it. I would do it again.
The second one was my third pregnancy. I married and got pregnant (on bc; low dose, unfortunately combined with antibiotics) with our son. Not planned, but we had love and I wanted so much to fill the void left by my earlier experience.
A few years later, we were working and going to school and raising a child and I became pregnant again. I knew it when it happened. I was in between birth control. I always had a hard time with birth control — weight loss, nausea, severe mood swings. The condom broke. This would have been an excellent time for the Plan B drug. Didn't have it then, though.
As the confirmation came in that I was indeed pregnant, my husband and I decided that it would be best to end it. I was in school, he was working like crazy, we could barely afford our son. Having another child I believe would have been a death sentence for our ability to move up in life and provide for a child we already had.
The experience was somewhat better. The clinic still felt cold, but I met a woman my age and we helped each other get through it. In the recovery area, I was in tears, shaking and sad. I didn't want this. I wanted to be able to have another child, just not now! We held hands and both grieved at our situation, but both thankful we had the choice.
No woman's abortion experience is the same. It is as complex as the women who make up those choices. But, it is always the choice that should be there.
I chose not to tell others outside my husband and mother. For me, this was a very personal decision and I don't feel like justifying myself to anyone.