I was always one of those people who believed abortion was okay for everyone else, but that *I* would never have one -- I want kids, and always believed that no matter what, having one would be a blessing. I had a long & fantastic, sometimes protection-less sex life & had never gotten pregnant. Then right before my second year of grad school, about 8 months into a relationship with a partner who "never wanted kids," I got pregnant, at 28. Not gonna say it was an "accident" -- there was too much else at stake for us to have been so careless -- but it was a mistake, and clearly, instantly unwanted. As much as I love kids, having one at that time with that person was obviously the wrong course of action. THANK GOD I HAD A CHOICE!!!!!!! I had a medical abortion, paid for by my university-sponsored health insurance. THANK GOD I HAD INSURANCE!! Even though it was painful, upsetting, and seemed to last way too long, I know i did the right thing. My partner was with me and we got through it together, which made our bond even stronger. The experience also lifted an immense pressure I had been feeling about having a family -- I suddenly knew that i wasn't ready at 28, even though I'd been telling myself I was and should be and it was time, etc.
My mom and I are pretty close, and we're a very open, communicative family -- there aren't many secrets. It felt weird not to have told her what I was going through while it was happening, but I held back because I was worried she would be scared or ashamed for me if she knew. The following Christmas she & I were talking about my relationship, and I opened up about what we'd recently been through. Rather than being shocked by it or sad for me, she amazed me by nodding thoughtfully and responding "I had one too." Our stories are completely different -- hers happened a couple months after the birth of her second child (me!), when she got pregnant & realized she couldn't handle more than 2 without extra help that they couldn't afford. Actually she could barely handle one -- my brother was an incredibly hyper, frustrating, difficult child. My dad really wanted more, but she just couldn't do it. She had a surgical abortion, and we shared the details with each other about what we went through mentally, physically and emotionally.
At that moment, I felt so close to her, and felt a bond with womankind that I'd never felt before. Like I suddenly had this really womanly thing I could relate to my mom and other women about, on a totally neutral level, no power dynamic, no judgement. Since then, I have been much less afraid to talk about my abortion, and have found that many, many women are interested, receptive, and also have their own stories to share.
My partner & I finished grad school (which i couldn't have done 7-9 months pregnant -- I barely got through it on my own) and moved to a new city together. Now, almost 3 years later, we recently got engaged (yeee!). Our feelings have evolved so much -- I still don't feel as much pressure to have babies ASAP, and he now believes he could be a dad someday, albeit a very different one from his own. Because of who we were & the prejudices we brought to our relationship initially, I seriously doubt we could have gotten to this place of pure acceptance, love and trust if we hadn't gone through my abortion together.
Kudos to you all at xoJane for giving us a forum to safely, proudly discuss our choices -- I am not ashamed of having had an abortion!