In honor of the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision today, I am going to share my abortion story.
When I was 20 years old, I was finally starting to find my groove and enjoy life. I had left my sheltered upbringing in semi-rural Iowa, joined the Air Force, and was living in Hawai’i. I was in the best shape of my life, I had a bikini for every day of the week, and I was having a lot of fun, if-ya-know-whaddamean.
My days were filled with work, hiking, going to the beach, working out, and reading. My evenings were filled with dates, dinner with friends, and whatever I wanted to do. I almost never slept alone. Mainly because I didn’t want to.
After a few months of this I managed to settle down and have an actual boyfriend. Tall and black, he had grown up in New York City and we had a lot of stories to trade. It was good! As much fun as I had been having, I was starting to get a little tired of the chaos. So it was nice to have some stability.
One morning on one of my gym days I got up like usual to go to the gym. Fifteen minutes into my workout I started feeling nauseous. Really nauseous. It was so bad I couldn’t keep going; so I left. I called my boyfriend just to chat and tell him what happened. And out of the blue, he said: “I think you’re pregnant.” I was like – what?! No. No way. We use a condom EVERY time. There’s no way I’m pregnant. “I think you’re pregnant,” he repeats. No. Not possible.
But the thought was planted and wouldn’t go away so off I go to the store for a pregnancy test. On my way in I puke in a garbage can outside. Gross. I hate puking. I get home, pee on the stick, and sit on the phone with him while watching the test. One pink line – okay, the test is working, so far so good. Then I start to see it very faintly but slowly getting stronger – “Oh God. Oh God. I see it – I see two pink lines.”
He was ecstatic! Huh, what?! That was not what I was expecting. Um – hold on. This doesn’t feel real at all. There is NO WAY I could be pregnant. But there are those two pink lines. He was ecstatic! I shook my head in confusion.
Okay then – I’m pregnant. Yup.
This brought a whole new set of concerns to our relationship. We figured out within the next couple weeks that although we both loved to watch football, go hiking, go spend time browsing bookstores, thinking and talking about whatever conversation is inspired by the books …. Despite all this, we were not meant to be married. Every conversation we had about possibly getting married and raising the baby together ended in tears on my end. It didn’t take long before we decided to go our separate ways. I went to my 6-week appointment alone.
I knew that I had no idea how to take care of a baby; hell, I didn’t even like kids. On top of that, it was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that I should not have this baby. From coworkers to acquaintances to relatives to the lawyer I called for child support advice, in no particular order:
“How far along are you? You have options, you know – have you considered an abortion?”
“Why would you have a baby? You’re not ready.”
“But … you’re not with the father. I don’t understand why you’re doing this to yourself.”
“You’re bringing a MIXED RACE baby into the world? There are places where their life would be in DANGER? How could you do that?”
“You should think about what you’re doing to this family – I don’t want a black baby in the family.”
“If you become a single mother you will ALWAYS be poor. And you will NEVER get out.”
“You’ll never get married – a good man doesn’t want a woman with a child. Especially not a black child. Men just aren’t any good with children that aren’t theirs.”
“I see it all the time – you’ll go from boyfriend to boyfriend, and one of them will end up abusing your child – maybe even killing them.”
“If you become a single mother, your baby will grow up poor and not finish high school and probably get into drugs – it’s a vicious cycle. Why are you getting upset? I only said he’ll PROBABLY use drugs, not that he DEFINITELY will.”
According to everyone, who of course only had the best interests of my baby in mind:
- I wasn’t ready
- I was irresponsible
- I was 20, single, and wasn’t staying with the father
- The father was black, so the child would be mixed race
- I hadn’t finished college yet.
It was all perfectly clear. I checked all the boxes of the perfect candidate – I was supposed to have an abortion.
But I didn’t.
My abortion story is that I didn’t have one.
That baby is now a beautiful 11-year-old girl.
And you know what? We’re not poor. We’re not homeless. I finished college and have a great career. I married a great guy who loves her like his own. We’re not any of the things I was told we definitely would be if I didn’t have an abortion. See, there’s this thing called free will, and with my free will I made choices to set me and her up for the future the best way I can. There is NO such thing as a pre-determined outcome.
So if you are in a situation like I was, and you have condescending people telling you to “just do what’s BEST for your child” and reminding you that you have “options,” just smile to yourself, knowing that they are full of shit. They really are. And I’m the proof.