Let me start by saying I am a pro-choice, atheist, hear-me-roar liberal. I had an abortion, and it was an abortion that I regret deeply. I have a unique story to tell.
I was 17 in 2008 when I had met him. I had graduated from high school early, and like most Southwest Missouri girls at that age…I just wanted to live, have fun, and fall in love. I was just waiting for him to drop into my life. And he dropped right in front of me. He was couple years older, smart, and had brown eyes. He was in college, on his way to a degree, and we took off. I had never had a serious relationship before I met him. This is what it was, this is what it felt like — the butterflies and the staring into eyes. It started in December, and by the time spring arrived, there were sparks flying and nothing could tear us apart.
I had no responsibilities but making sure I was with him. He encouraged it, and comforted me by telling me that he would take care of me always. Looking back now, as a 27-year-old woman, I see that was my first mistake. And I’m sure most girls have had that experience before. The summer of 2009 started off with me moving out of my parents’ home and moving him in with him and his roommates. I had no car but didn’t think I really needed one seeing as we never separated.
As I tell my story, I hope you notice the dependence on this male that I developed. I haven’t quite figured out if it was his intention or if it was mere coincidence that it happened. Maybe I will know with time.
With the relationship with my parents at the time broken, all I had was him to depend on. His parents didn’t even know that I lived with him. Looking back now, I believe it was because he was embarrassed and didn’t want to disappoint them. His family was very upper-middle class, and their son living with a girlfriend wouldn’t sit well with them. So I stayed hidden. I don’t know why I didn’t speak up about that. I was young and naive. Sometimes I think I did my best to not lose him because he was all I had at the time. Summer started, and I look back on the summer of 2009 with mostly fond memories. He and I developed a group of friends that were more like family.
We did everything together, traveled, and experimented with a lot of the usual irresponsible things that young people do. All of which I felt brought us closer but were merely a superficial feeling of closeness. None the less, it was a bond that I felt was real. That summer with those people will forever be engraved in my memory. I created friends that I thought would last forever. But as all summers do, it ended. At the time, I believe we did feel like we loved each other. We said so at least. I was working at a local gas station, on my way to start my first semester at Missouri Southern, and contributing the best that an 18-year-old could.
He, however, had help from him parents whenever he needed it. Even still, I was continuously pressured that I wasn’t doing enough. I was required to pay the same amount of rent that each roommate with their own room had to pay, even though I was sharing a room with my boyfriend. That was obviously a red flag that I was also too naive to see.
October rolled around, and I could feel in the pit of my stomach that things were slightly different. He didn’t look at me the same way. I felt like the butterflies were slipping away. A lot of people can relate when their intuition is telling them that something is wrong. I sat him down, and told him I was considering moving back in with my parents. I told him that I still loved him but felt it would be better for our relationship. He cried and begged for me to stay. Looking back now, I wish I could tell my younger self to run. Run home, and be safe. But one night, my childish dreams of love and happily ever after got the best of me. After lying down with him to sleep, in my sleepiness, I heard a whisper in my ear of him expressing his love for me and how much he cared. I drifted off to sleep and carried on in the same house with him for a few more months of doubt and fear that everything might slip away.
And then it did. It all slipped away with one positive pregnancy test in December.
And here we are. The positive sign that has affected every day of my life since.
I saw the positive test and was surprised to feel excitement. I wasn’t ready for a child, but that wasn’t where my thoughts went, surprisingly. I felt love for what I had just found out I was carrying. The moment I looked up, his face was white. He looked as if his entire life was passing before him. He had goals. And he has achieved them with his privileged life that I wasn’t ever allowed to fully enter.
Before I even had time to process it, before asking me what I wanted to do, before we had even left our bedroom, he had the phone number for Planned Parenthood on his phone. He handed it to me while it was ringing. With tears coming down my face, I pleaded with him that I didn’t want to do it. I told him we could do it, we could have a family. Younger people than us had done it before. Instead of being a man and letting me make the decision, he told me that he refused to do it. He said he’d leave me if I decided to keep the child. He told me we could have other children later on in life. He promised me this as I was lying on the ground in the fetal position crying in desperation. He told me if I really loved him, I would do this for him.
So I made the phone call. I made the appointment.
We told our roommates we were going on a mini-vacation to St.Louis. I cried the entire way and didn’t say a word as he looked onto the ultimate goal of getting rid of this problem. My mother lived off of I-44 and as I passed her house I clung to the necklace she gave me. To this day, I wish I told him to pull over. I wish I had gotten out of the car and walked to my mother’s house. But I loved him. Why would I hurt someone I love by making them have a child they didn’t want? How backwards, right? We arrived in St.Louis. After begging in the waiting room for him to change his mind, he stood his ground.
I walked into the room, and I did it. I laid down as two held my hand and did something to me that I didn’t want done. But I kept going. They did something to me that a man wanted done to me. For him. To save his future. But I did it, brainwashed into thinking I was doing it for our future, and for our future children that would have a better life once we were more settled.
It wasn’t my decision. It was his. It should’ve been mine. I should’ve told him I would raise the child with or without him. I should’ve walked out of that room. But I didn’t.
On the way back home, I slept most of the way. Once we arrived, I was aware of the symptoms that were to happen after an abortion. I stayed in our room for days and my symptoms became so severe, and I was in so much pain that I should’ve been taken to the hospital. Instead, he laid with me on the bathroom floor doing his best to comfort me and telling me that it was all normal. Once again, I was a secret he was trying to keep from everone. Knowing what I know now about abortion after care, I know I should’ve been in the emergency room. I risked a lot for this man, all because I thought he loved me, and I didn’t want to ruin his plan for his life.
All along, not knowing that I wasn’t part of his plan.
Two weeks later, he sat me down and ended our relationship. I fell apart the months after, too ashamed to tell anyone about my story.
This is the first time I have ever sat down and put this into words. I have to live with these memories for the rest of my life. He doesn’t. He gets to move away and forget. I’ve had his close friends come up to me and tell me that ultimately I could’ve stopped it. That it wasn’t his fault, it was mine.
I no longer blame myself for what happened. By reading this, you might think I’m anti-abortion. However, I am not. I am a woman who believes that if a woman doesn’t want to have a child, she shouldn’t have one. It should damn well be her choice though. I had that choice took away from me. I was groomed to be dependent on a man, and I was deceived. That’s what happened to me. I’ve come a long way with dealing with what happened. I have overcome it, and am a fierce female who will raise her daughter up to be the same. Life isn’t fair, and this man will continue with life unaffected by what we went though.
I’m writing this because there might be some woman out there who might be in the same situation that I was in. I want to tell her that it’s her body. Even if you don’t have a family that can help you, there are ways to find support systems for you and the child that you do want to keep. There are also ways to find support systems to help you after you decide to get an abortion.
Don’t ever let a man decide for you what you should do with your body. It’s your body and yours alone. Be strong. Always.