This story is published at Shout Your Abortion.
I had my first abortion when I was 20 and a junior in college. I had been with my boyfriend for about 2 years and he was 7 years my senior (I thought he was mature :|). During Spring Break I realized I was pregnant. We both knew right away that we didn’t want to keep it – I was still in school and he was in the military.
I kept it secret from my parents because I thought they would be disappointed in me (they both died never knowing that I made that choice). He drove me an hour to a clinic where I had an appointment, but he dropped me off and didn’t even come in with me for the procedure. It was painful and I cried; the provider was an asshole. I remember he said – “well, it should hurt because you shouldn’t keep doing this”. WTF? Looking back I should’ve reported him or cursed him out, but I was young and vulnerable and needed the service he was providing so. . .
Later I found out that my boyfriend had gotten married to someone else while continuing to date me and he probably didn’t come in with me because he didn’t want to risk being recognized. We broke up and I moved away for graduate school, thankful that I didn’t have a kid to keep us tied together or that would change my life trajectory at that time.
Fast forward 4 years and I found myself in a whirlwind relationship. Within months of meeting, I was moving to another state with him because he got a new job. The pace was classic red flag for an abusive partner, but I didn’t know that then. The abuse was physical, emotional, verbal and financial. I did get pregnant, but that time I knew she was my baby.
I became a mother to a beautiful baby girl and a wife to a monster. I tried to offer him a life that I thought would make him want to change. Big shock – it doesn’t work that way. As the abuse escalated after her birth, when she was 9 months old I found the courage and support to leave. He raped me the last night we spent under the same roof and about a month later I found out I was pregnant. Thank God I was living on my own; I never told him and although it felt agonizing – I knew right away that I would not keep the pregnancy. I was barely financially able to take care of me and my daughter and I knew pregnancy would derail the fragile strength I’d built up to leave, delay my divorce (divorces aren’t granted to pregnant women, did you know?) and strengthen the ties between us that I was desperately trying to unravel. My best friend took me to Planned Parenthood and I was so relieved to not be pregnant.
Deciding to abort was different for me before and after motherhood – it was harder as a mom but I chose the child I loved and had birthed, not one that I might have. I wouldn’t sacrifice her safety and happiness for anything, not even another child of mine. Now I have a son with my second husband who is everything my first was not. I’m so thankful that I’ve had four pregnancies but have only two children. It is as it should be.