I am twenty-four years old, a passionate and driven musician, and I am facing my own worst fear. All of my life I have been dead-set and decided against ever becoming pregnant or having children. When I was born the doctor in charge of my mother's delivery made some stupid mistakes. I grew up watching her suffer through the life-long consequence of being chronically ill - all of this because of my birth. I was also aware of the life she gave up to marry my father (and have kids) and how the path she chose turned for the worst.
I was very young when I decided never to walk the path of motherhood. It wasn't only a decision I made for myself, but a judgment against all women who had "unplanned" children; It wasn't only a judgment, but an intense fear of my own femininity. I was judgmental of my sister who is 26 and having her third child (having had 1 abortion). I looked down at women in her situation as having given up on life and having chosen nothing for themselves.
Well, today is father's day - tomorrow is the first day of summer, and I am scheduled for a 3:00pm abortion at Planned Parenthood.
I intuitively knew I was pregnant before I even missed my period. I found out two weeks ago when I picked up a pregnancy test on my way home from work. I got home to my tiny one-bedroom apartment and fed my cat before taking the test into the bathroom. The second line was so faint that I doubted the results. I called my ex-boyfriend at work (we had just broken up a week earlier) and told him over the phone. He came over with two more tests and the second one I did was not vague at all.
I have spent the last two weeks doing a lot of soul-searching and trying to react in a more positive way to a negative situation than I am used to. I am facing my absolute worst fear, worse than death--I had always told myself that I would rather die than give birth and that I would commit suicide if no other options were available. But the experience of being pregnant has changed me in ways I never thought I could be changed. I am not in any position to have this to term, but I am learning a new respect for life - ALL LIFE - including the unborn; including women who find themselves in unexpected situations and have to make the hardest decisions of their lives..regardless what those decisions may be.
Today on my way to work I think I saw more anti-abortion bumper stickers in one hour than I have in a year. Maybe I was just noticing more. Every one is entitled to their own beliefs, their own choices - this is America people. I love this about our country (one of the few things left). If this right had been taken away before today I might not have lived to see 2005. It would have been my own protest for the right to choose - I am thankful that it won't have to be.
At the same time I regret my irresponsibility deeply. I don't see abortion as something anyone should take for granted; it is a one-time 'get out of jail free' card. I know that the life I am ending is a life - despite the fact that it is probably the size of a pea. But I also know that it won't feel the pain of death, neither will it grow up deprived of parents emotionally and financially able to provide for him/her.
June 20, 2004
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