Amy C's Story

I remember the exact moment I fully realized I was pregnant. Sitting on the exam table in my doctor's office, a slight smile moved across my lips as I heard, "Yes, you're pregnant." My first thought was, "I'm having it."

I had not spoken to the possible father to be. I was thinking as a young woman who once very much enjoyed babies and children. A woman who fantasized of a wonderful husband and four beautiful children to someday complete her life. A woman, who once she faced reality, would come to the conclusion that fantasies are just that.

* * * * * * *

He insisted I have an abortion. "I'll take you tomorrow," were his exact words, I believe. We weren't by any means an exclusive couple, though I thought we were special to one another. He had one child already and wasn't "about to have another one." "I'm having it whether you want me to or not," I cried. A hateful, "I'll see you in nine months then," was his reply.

Many tears I shed in the next few hours as I sobered to the delicacy and exactness of my situation. This wasn't even close to my fantasy. I was supposed to be happy. I wasn't supposed to feel so alone and helpless.

While I wanted a child, I did not have any of the resources I needed to be a good parent. Not to mention damage I had already done. I had points against me and against the being growing inside my body. The main reason I became pregnant was a complete lack of love and respect for myself. I foolishly relied on a relatively non-effective method of contraception. I was delusional in half believing I wouldn't get pregnant because I smoked pot. Somewhere I had once read that marijuana use could cause a woman to not ovulate. There's the kicker. I didn't care about myself and was actually in a vicious cycle of self-abuse. I may have known some of what I was doing to myself, but rarely considered the consequences of my actions; immediate or long term.

* * * * * * *

I never considered adoption. I knew I get attached too easily. I could not carry a fetus to term only to give it to someone else as it takes its first breath of life. I was going to raise a child or have an abortion.

I was lucky. My mom is strongly pro-choice and raised me to be the same. I learned much about abortion long before it ever became something I'd have to personally consider as an option. I believe that helped me immensely in my decision making process.

I wrote out a pros and cons list for both options I faced. At the time I became pregnant I was taking prescription drugs which could have an adverse effect on a fetus, smoking cigarettes and marijuana regularly, and drinking alcohol occasionally. Not to mention I was struggling to eat enough for one. All of these factors supported abortion.

Even before I became pregnant my emotional and mental health was at about the worst it has ever been. I was having problems with anxiety and depression. My performance in school and at work was declining. I was having financial problems and lived from paycheck to paycheck. Another group of factors supporting abortion.

The only reasons I could find for carrying to term and raising were relatively selfish. I wanted someone to love. I wanted someone I could take care of who would be able to depend on me. I would maybe have a chance with the father. Mom and Dad would have a grand baby.

Surely now my Grandma would see a great-grand baby. Grandma would also be upset I got pregnant outside of marriage and had a multicultural baby with no father to model his culture.

While I felt lost, the signs became apparent. It was not time for me to have a child. I was not ready. I didn't have enough love for me, surely not enough for another. I began to come to grips with the fact I was going to terminate my pregnancy. I had mixed feelings, but felt that the choice I made was the best for me at the time.

* * * * * * *

I quickly gathered information about abortion clinics in the area - the closest one was over an hour away. After doing my research, I chose a clinic that offered general anesthesia and claimed to have no protesters. They advised me I would not be able to swim for at least two weeks after the procedure. This caused a problem. I was traveling to Arizona to visit my Grandma in less than two weeks. I planned on swimming. I chose to wait until I returned.

While on vacation I especially noticed physical changes in my body due to the pregnancy. I can't say I enjoyed the constant fatigue or vomiting every morning and evening. Trying to avoid anything touching my tender breasts was quite a task, not to mention trying to hide my sudden lust for extra garlic pickles.

Intense emotions hit when I returned home. The would be dad made no efforts to contact me, making it obvious he felt his monetary contribution was enough. I felt very alone again but scheduled my appointment for the following Wednesday morning. My roommate and good friend, Ang, was going to drive me since I was having general anesthesia. No food after 12 the night before, that includes water.

And no smoking.

* * * * * * *

We arrived just a few minutes early, thankfully to no protesters.  Oops, I had a cigarette in the car. That's okay. Paper work, more paper work. Chairs lined up and formed into conversation areas. A plant in the corner. Magazines and pamphlets to read. A TV if you'd rather watch something.

"Amy?" I walked back to the end of the hall, urinated in a cup as instructed, and made my way to the ultrasound room. "Ten weeks." I was surprised. I thought I was only seven or eight. Tears poured down my face as I sobbed and made my way to where Ang was sitting, waiting. For some reason that made everything much more real. Someone had actually seen something inside of me.

I was called in for counseling. I saw the picture from my ultrasound. The fetus was the size of a bean. I could make out no features. I cried and said I felt this is what I HAD to do. Valerie, the counselor, talked with me and told me if I was not sure I had time to think about it. Two more weeks until it becomes more dangerous. I knew I wouldn't do it if I went home to think. I had thought in excess about this decision. It was now or never. Now.

I told Valerie I wanted to be asleep before the doctor came near me.  She assisted me in getting properly situated on the table. Barry, the anesthesiologist, started me counting. I fell into unconsciousness hearing the doctor say, "Good morning, Senorita Amy."

Blurry. Very blurry. I awoke in the same room we had earlier seen a video. It had been rearranged into a recovery room. I watched a nurse bring a girl to a recliner, no doubt she'd just had it done, too. I wanted to leave. Forget the juice and cracker. I started to see a little clearer and made my way to the nurse. A bag with prescriptions, follow-up care information, clinic emergency phone number, etc. If you bleed through a pad in less than an hour or run a fever of 100.4 or more, call immediately. No insertion of ANYTHING into the vagina for two weeks. I slept most of the ride home.

* * * * * * *

That was almost a year ago. Actually, in three days will be the "anniversary" of my abortion. I am almost 23 years old now and have grown considerably since that life changing day.

I spent a lot of time very depressed. I constantly wondered if I was a murderer, if what I had done would scar me forever. I felt awful at times. Life seemed unbearable. I pushed myself to go to work and attended school only when necessary.

It wasn't until a few weeks ago I realized I was missing the point. In a moral problems course I am taking we started discussing abortion and all of the controversy surrounding it. Since I enjoy philosophy I chose to stay in the class, hoping to define my position even more. It forced me to examine myself; what I had done and how I really felt about it. I had to look the thing I feared most in the face and not look away. I've done just that.

I am currently in the process of forming a Pro-Choice group here at Central Michigan University. I was lucky to have a safe and legal abortion available to me when I needed it. I commend the women who have died and fought for this right and I will continue the crusade. I believe women should always have safe, legal access to abortion.

The point I was missing during all of my down time was this: I empowered myself by choosing to handle my pregnancy in the way I saw fit. I made my choice based on MY beliefs, values, and opinions, not those of others. I made the decision. ME. I finally did something myself, in love and respect FOR myself. It was the most difficult decision I have ever made. I will not look on this anniversary of my abortion with regret. Instead I will look on it with a mended heart and an evolved self; it has changed me for the better, forever.

Amy C.
March 1999

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"Do we really have a right to be direct and say what we need to say?
What we really are matters more than what other people think of us...
Take care of YOU." - Amy C.