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I am one of the very few women who get pregnant when correctly using their birth control. I know, I know, I can hear many of you already: She’s lying. She probably skipped pills. She probably took it late all of the time.
I haven’t missed a birth control pill in years. Those were my early twenties when I routinely got super drunk and forgot to take my pill. Thankfully during those years I either didn’t have a boyfriend or I was many miles away from my boyfriend. Other than regulating my period, my birth control didn’t really do much for me, so skipping a pill was no big deal in my mind.
Since then, I save drinking for special occasions and usually only have a glass or two of wine. I also have a smartphone now and have an alarm set to remind me to take my birth control. I’m never more than 5 or 10 minutes late taking it and that’s only because I needed to finish up a task I was doing or because I was waiting for a commercial break. My husband and I never use condoms because I’ve always been on top of my pill usage.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the real story. Thanks to my birth control. my period has become pretty predictable. I start my regular flow on Tuesday or Wednesday. Every once in a while it won’t start until Thursday morning so I really wasn’t concerned when I woke up one Thursday and it hadn’t arrived.
Without any sign of blood come bedtime a small bit of concern rose up in me. I rationalized it away. I’d just started back in the gym and was working out harder than usual. Surely it was just the change in routine. Unnervingly, the next morning my undies were still blood free.
Throughout that day, the worry began to creep back in. I ran down to the CVS directly after work to pick up a pregnancy test. I wanted to take it right then and there, the moment I got home, but I cooled my jets. I knew that all the water I drink during the day would dilute my pee, possibly giving me a false negative. And so I hid the test, kept it wrapped up in the CVS bag and buried under my gym clothes knowing my husband would never go into the bag and accidentally find it.
As the night wore on, I was stuck in my head so much that my husband asked me if I was feeling OK. I convinced him that I was just reading a book online and caught up in the story. which is why I wasn’t talking. In truth my mind was running rampant with thoughts, wondering and worrying if I was pregnant, what would I do if this was not just a cardio and weight-lifting fueled delay in my period?
I thought about the amount of debt my husband and I were in, which is the greatest reason why I didn’t want a child yet beside the fact that we are both still pretty young and still have a lot of room to grow in our relationship before having kids.
We weren’t in trouble money-wise, but we were just barely scraping by with rent, household expenses, groceries, two car payments, credit card bills, and a set of student loans to top it all off. We’d discussed children, deciding that we’d wait a few years.
I want a child, really I want at least two. My mind had been filled with babies as friend after friend share ultrasound pictures, in-progress nursery designs, and pictures of chubby cheeked babies and infants. But I’m also a very rational person.
My husband and I can’t afford a child right now. Our apartment is too small, our bills are too large, but we still make too much to qualify for any type of help financially. Both cars will be paid off in a year and two respectively. Our credit card debt will be reduced if not gone by then, and my husband’s student loans won't be as big of a mountain as they are now.
We’ll also be able to move into a bigger place A place for us, future children, dogs and cats, and my little baby goat that currently stays on my husband’s parents property.
“We’ll wait,” we said.
“We’ll start trying in three years,” we said.
But the two pink lines on the test that next morning said otherwise.
What I felt looking at that second, very faint pink line was what I could only describe as dread. It came rushing in like a tidal wave. Tears sprung to my eyes, my stomach roiled. I knew we couldn’t afford a child. I knew my husband knew we couldn’t afford a child. All signs pointed to abortion except one. My husband doesn’t believe in abortions.
He’s not religious, but he is absolutely pro-life, in all situations.
“Children are our future.”
“Every child deserves a life.”
“If I had my way, abortion would be illegal.”
The man doesn’t believe in God. He doesn’t believe in life at conception either. He simply believes that every child deserves to come into the world and hopefully make it a better place. I agree with the general idea, but I know the world isn’t as black and white as that.
I am pro-choice all the way, I believe that every woman deserves to make the call about what happens inside of her own body. It horrifies me every day to read the news about how much harder it is becoming for women to get true information and safe abortions.
Now I will admit, I never expected to be one of those women in that situation. I never thought I would ever have to have an abortion. I didn’t have sex until I was over 18. I’ve only slept with three men. I’ve always been careful. Yet here I was looking at a positive test and knowing exactly what I had to do.
I was going to get an abortion and I wasn’t going to tell my husband.
Many would call me vain, because I didn’t want the physical changes that come with pregnancy. Many would call me weak, because I’ve always been an emotional person and I knew pregnancy hormones would only make it worse.
Many would call me a coward, because I’d be too scared to give up my child to strangers or to have them fall into an overloaded foster care system. Most of all I’d be called a selfish bitch for not telling my husband about the pregnancy and going behind his back to have an abortion.
All of those things are true, at least partially. I knew what it meant, to do what I did. I always thought cheating was the ultimate betrayal in a relationship, but I realize that this is so much worse. A lie by omission, a lie so big that I know if it were to ever come out my marriage would be over.
That’s a risk I’m willing to take considering my marriage would be over even sooner if I had an abortion against my husband’s wishes. He would look at me forever as a child killer. He would never be able to trust me again. I don’t think he’d ask for a divorce, he’d make me do it as punishment, a punishment that I know I deserve.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not ashamed of my abortion. I am glad that I had the right to choose, I am glad that I live in an area where it was easy for me to find access to an abortion provider. I’m glad that I was able to get in quickly.
I wouldn’t exactly say that I am proud of my abortion, but I am proud that I took the steps I had to take for me. This was the right choice for my body, my life, my future. The operative word there being "my."
My husband would feel differently. He would feel that I betrayed my body, that I betrayed our life together and our future. Even still, I do not regret my abortion. But I do regret the lie that I have to tell to my husband every day for the rest of our time together, every time I look at him.
I regret that things couldn’t have ended differently. I regret that my husband would never see eye to eye with me on why I made the decision I made, even though I feel that it was absolutely the right decision.
I was strong enough to do what I had to do, I can only hope that I am strong enough to bear the weight of it on my back.