I was 19 and two weeks away from my
wedding when I had my abortion. I am now 45 yrs. old. In 1975, the abortion laws
had just become legal. Free love, sex and just about anything was rampant. Feminists
were just starting to really come into their own. I had a boyfriend in high school,
was sexually active, but never got pregnant. We never even discussed the possibilities
if it should happen.
When I left my home state to go to college, I became
involved with a boy several years older, and more worldly, than I was. I knew
about birth control, but we never used
it. When I became pregnant, I was scared. In those days also, once you were past
a certain time, there was no way anyone would do an abortion. You had to find
someone doing it illegally, so I lied about how far along I was. Ultrasounds weren't
"in vogue" then, so the doctor believed me.
There was only one
clinic in the city where I went to college. My boyfriend and I were engaged at
the time, and he had gone to Florida to start his last year at college and to
get us set up with an apartment. I stayed behind making wedding plans. The more
I thought about being pregnant, the more I realized I was repeating the same mistake
my mother made. She wasn't ready for children when she married, and because of
her religion, never used birth control and had one child after another. I was
the one who always ended up taking care of them.
I wanted something better
for myself. I always thought if I had had more courage or had been more of a person,
I would have had the baby and given it up for adoption.
But I was scared, I was embarrassed, and there was still the stigma that "good
girls don't." When I went to the clinic, I was given a psychological exam.
I passed by telling them I just couldn't keep it. The whole process took longer
than normal because I had lied about being so far along. I could see the machines
and hear the noises, and I knew the doctor and nurses were very angry with me.
I didn't care.
When it was over, my girlfriend drove me home. My boyfriend
was furious with me for doing it behind his back and kept saying we had a responsibility.
No amount of explaining how I felt about the whole thing did any good. It put
a rift between us, but we never spoke of it. At first, I felt enormous relief
I wasn't pregnant. My life would go on. Then later, I had to deal with a great
deal of guilt because I looked at it from a religious point of view. It was almost
Consequently, I had many female problems after my abortion
which eventually lead to an early hysterectomy. For many years, I told myself
this was my punishment for what I had done. My feelings of guilt also lead to
an estranged marriage, and many broken relationships after. I couldn't stand to
have a man near me for fear of getting pregnant again. It wasn't until my own
daughters were grown and having some of the same problems I had had, that I learned
to forgive myself. It still causes me a great deal of pain when I go to the doctor
and have to reveal how many times I've been pregnant.
is a very personal choice, I don't think it is one that should be taken "as
a means out." I have never told my daughters I had the abortion, and when
they were growing up, my biggest fear was that they would get pregnant. We spoke
very openly of sex and protection. I told them I loved them and would always stand
behind them, but there was no excuse for them to get pregnant with all the education
and free protection that was available these days. I don't know if I've jaded
them for life. Both lead alternative life styles, but seem to be happy. Now that
I am going through menopause, I have finally found relief and am at peace within
myself. I still think about "my little one" from time to time, and since
I am a believer in reincarnation, I can only hope he found a mother stronger than
21 July 2001
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