“You have options.”
That’s what they tell you when you find out you are pregnant, and those life-changing lines appear on the plastic stick when you are alone in your bathroom.
“You are pregnant.” Those are the words the nurse says in the clinic.
But do we ever talk about the “option?”—the choice I made when I saw those lines, when I heard those words, when I imagined my present life looking a whole lot different.
You don’t know me, I don’t know you, and we will probably never meet, so you will never know who I really am. Even if you don’t believe me, even if you want to villainize me for making the choice to terminate a pregnancy, please don’t because I have already villainized myself.
I have already let the shame demons take over. But I need to name the experience that I have had and be a part of the mission to normalize the conversation so that other women feel supported when they need to talk about the choice they have made.
I will tell you a little bit about me. My dream is to become a mother, ever since I was two—I have been a junior Mom, taking care of anyone who would let me. I made a career of it: a six-figure nanny, traveling the world and taking care of little humans who possess massive amounts of magic, energy, and love.
My dream has always been to become a mother, but right now, that dream is not meant to be a reality. If I were to tell any of my closest friends that I was having an abortion, they would have tried to talk me out of it, knowing how nurturing I am.
I was also raised in a conservative Christian household—a household where it was clear that a baby is the greatest blessing to a married woman and a family. But I am not married. And I knew that either path was going to be a challenge—carrying a baby to term, knowing the thoughts that were racing through my parents’ mind, and fearing that this child would be loved but would be constantly reminded that their mother wasn’t married and that they were a mistake. Another challenge would be having an abortion and living with the knowledge that my parents would disapprove of my choice so much that it might change our relationship for the rest of our lives.
What do you do? What do you do knowing that you will be alone in your choice?
At the clinic, they comfort us, telling us that one in every four women have also chosen to have an abortion. What they do not tell us is that our chances of community with other women who have made this choice are slim to none.
We fight so hard for our right to choose, but if and when we make that choice, shame is thrown onto us. Words like irresponsible, immature, killer, and selfish are thrown around so freely that we cannot bear to admit that we have chosen not to be a mother—that we have chosen to end a pregnancy.
In my state, they make us have a counseling call before we can schedule our abortion. My call was one full week before my procedure. My heavy bleeding didn’t stop for one full week after it. That’s two terribly long weeks thinking about the choice I made—two terribly long weeks feeling alone, isolated in my emotional and physical pain.
My pregnancy was so early that the only physical change that my boyfriend could notice was my engorged boobs. Being pregnant was more of a concept than an apparent, physical reality. But the concept of carrying a baby—becoming a mother—is such an emotionally loaded concept (for me, at least) that I needed to feel like I wasn’t an awful person for not being ready to be a mom.
I have already called myself selfish and irresponsible even though I am neither. I have already forgiven myself for recognizing that I am not ready to be a mother, just yet. I have already decided that my choice was brave, that knowing when I am ready to be a mother, my partner and I will have the tools we need to offer a baby the strongest foundation we can give.
If you are like me—if you had an abortion and feel alone—please know that you are not alone. You are not a monster.
Your choice is a brave choice—a choice that I hope one day you can see how responsible, selfless, and mature it is.
I am here to shift this terrible narrative and to remind you of the bravery that exists inside of you.