Surgical (aspiration) abortion in the first trimester
I had my abortion or got my abortion pills from Planned Parenthood
When did you discover you were pregnant?
I took a pregnancy test when I missed my period, because I never missed my period. I was probably 5-6 weeks pregnant.
Was the pregnancy planned?
What was the very first thought in your mind when that pregnancy test was positive?
Oh my god, no.....
Describe how you felt in the days after you realized you were pregnant.
I felt like a complete failure. Numb, sad, alone. I had left a very unhappy marriage a few months prior and had been drinking a lot, and had hooked up with a couple of different people. I got divorced and then found out I was pregnant 3 weeks later. It felt very, very dark.
What factors did you consider when making a choice?
I was launching a new professional challenge at the time, which needed all my attention. I was almost completely broke. I was subletting a friend's house while they were out of town and didn't know where I would be living in a few months time. I was alone for the first time, as an adult. I had always considered abortion to be wrong... and yet... I knew, I could not have a baby, right then.
Did the person who got you pregnant support you during your abortion?
What is the nature of your relationship with the person who got you pregnant?
Who was the most supportive or helpful person or resource during your abortion?
A friend from work, who came and picked me up.
Describe your overall abortion experience using three words:
Surreal, Necessary, Sad
Please Describe your abortion experience. This is a timeline of the event, a simple description.
My memories of the day of the abortion are... fuzzy. It was almost 20 years ago... and was a difficult day. I walked to the clinic, which was about a mile from my house. I remember one women in particular who was very kind and assured me that I was going to be OK. There was some wait time between checking in and the procedure itself and I walked to a bookstore a block away and browsed, feeling so strange. There was an ultraosund (on the belly) and there was no heartbeat. The clinician told me this baby may not have survived anyway. I remember the procedure itself was uncomfortable but not truly physically painful. Like a Pap that went on extra long. The tube had red inside it and I watched it with tears streaming down my face. I was so sad, but there was no doubt in me that I was doing what I needed to do.
What were your expectations of yourself and others?
I asked the person who got me pregnant to help pay for the abortion, which he did.
Describe your feelings at the time you had your abortion.
I was sad, numb, and determined.
What about after the abortion? Did your feelings change? What made you feel this way?
I felt sad, less numb, and equally determined. I had made the only choice that I felt I could, given my life circumstances at the time. I was sad--- not even so much for the loss of the baby but for the place where I had been in my life that made it impossible to imagine being a mom or carrying a baby at the time. And, as more time went on, the sadness of that has transformed into empathy for that young woman (me) and gratefulness that she made the choice that made possible all the rest of the life choices that came after.
What about the feelings of others? While you might not know exactly what they were feeling, can you explain what you think they might have been feeling?
The person who got me pregnant was shocked, I think... and basically followed my lead. He was a friend/casual hookup during my "wild-breakup-days" and neither of us imagined being connected to each other, through a child, long term. We are still acquaintances and have never talked about it.
In what way did the choices you made meet your goals for yourself? Were the choices you made aligned with your goals?
I always knew I wanted a family... someday. I wanted to be a good person.
There was a part of me that, at the time, felt that my abortion was in opposition to both of those things... but that was not true.
What other choices were available? Why do you think you did not choose them?
I could have carried the baby to term and had them adopted, or raised the child myself. A friend's mother actually offered to let me come live with them, out of state, until the baby was born, if that would help. But I had just started a new job that was a deep passion for me and I felt that opportunity would not come again-- I couldn't walk away from it.
What do you feel now, looking back on the event? If your feelings have changed, how have they changed and why do you think that is?
I have so much more empathy for me as a young woman, and for women generally, facing this (and similar) situation.
What have you learned about yourself and others as a result of this experience and the way you feel about it?
My childish assumption that abortion was "bad" was.... well, childish. I have never regretted my abortion and that doesn't make me "bad."
What would your expectations be now?
This is a difficult question because my life circumstances are so different... I am happily married, more financially stable, and have a son. I am 50, though, and if I were to become pregnant, I would not hesitate to have an abortion if I had concerns about my, or the baby's health.
If you were able to go back in time, what would you do differently? What different choices would you make or different actions you would take?
I don't think I would change anything because my life experiences ARE me.
In what ways has your abortion experience changed you?
I have more empathy and less certainty that I know what's best for someone else.
Have your goals changed as a result of your abortion experience?
No, but my abortion experience has reinforced my certainty that I am on the right path for me
What have you learned about your ability to make choices?
That it's ESSENTIAL that women/people who are pregnant can make their own choice.
Will you make the same choices in the future?
It's unlikely to come up... but in the same situation, I would make the same choice.
I have a greater appreciation for the value of my own life.
I know that I can handle difficulties.
I have more compassion for others.
I discovered that I’m stronger than I thought I was.