Xingmu's Story

In my 7th grade health case, we had an exercise to discuss what we would do if one of us became pregnant or impregnated someone. There was no doubt in my mind when asked the question. The teacher asked me and I replied with no hesitation, "I would have an abortion." He asked me if I had really thought about my answer.

When I was 15, I was having sex with my boyfriend with no birth control. I knew exactly what birth control was. I knew the percentage rates of failure for different methods. But I was too scared to buy or ask where I could get cheap birth control.

A couple months later my period was two weeks late. I told my boyfriend that it was quite possible I was pregnant. We had already talked about our feelings before on the issue and he knew how I felt. While he did not prefer abortion, he seemed to agree it was the best decision. On the internet, I begin to look for clinics and figure out prices and how I would get there and how I would keep it from my mom. In the meantime, I began to really think about what being pregnant meant. I wrote a letter to child with the nickname I used for myself "Zoe" of my feelings. I explained to her my reasoning. A couple days later I had my period. I made a promise to myself never to make the same mistake again and I was on birth control pills for nearly 2 years.

At 18, despite breaking up with my old boyfriend, we moved in together. We called it "friends-only" but we were having sex. I was back on pills...until they ran out. Despite all my knowledge, I simply ignored my stupidity. I was having sex regularly with out birth control for about three months. I was working part time and going to college.

It seemed strange at the time that I had a cold for three weeks. I went to the doctor thinking I had a bladder infection or maybe something else. When they gave me the pregnancy test in diagnostics, I remained in denial. The doctor came back (busy as always) and said simply "Yes, you have a bladder infection and the test for pregnancy came back positive." Denial didn't work, damn. He asked me if I needed to think about my options or needed more information. I said I already knew my decision and asked for local abortion clinics. At least there was a clinic in town. He scheduled an ultrasound since I was not sure how long I had been pregnant. As I sat in the office waiting, it seemed very simple and according to procedure. No need to get emotional I thought. A nurse walked in and asked me if I was alright, the question made me choke a little but I replied I was fine.

Immediately after the appointment, I drove to my "friend's" work place. We walked outside and I told him....his response was "Damn! ....oh no..... why did you keep having sex with me?" Now standing on the street, angry at myself and him, I could cry. "Hey, don't even think about blaming all of this on me..." We agreed quickly not to accuse each other. I told him that I was already scheduled for an ultrasound and that the abortion would cost at least $300. We would split the cost.

I waited a week for the ultrasound, every day I was feeling more and more sick. I read that ginger would help morning sickness, but I never had much luck. My friend tried to help me as best as possible. We joked around sometimes about how cute the baby would be. I stared at my breasts in the mirror and wondered if they were bigger or not. My friend told me he wished we could keep the baby. I told him not to say that.

I called my father and told him what had happened. I knew I had to tell my mom because the insurance had been billed with the initial appointment and ultrasound. My father, when he heard me say "I'm pregnant, I am having an abortion"...drew a long breath. "Don't make decisions too quickly," he tried to say. I told him there was no other possibilities, I made this decision long ago. He told me I should consider the spiritual aspects and make sure my body was confident of my decision. I wanted to cry and say again, "I don't want to do this! But I must!" Instead I explained that I had seriously considering this before and wrote out my feelings. Now, in the moment of it, it is too hard to handle the emotional aspects. With my stubborn voice, he conceded and asked me about my mother.

Right then, she called and I laughed nervously and said her timing was perfect. When I told her, she asked me simple questions in a voice that I could tell was quite constrained. I told her my decision, and that the appointments were already scheduled. My friend and I would pay...and yes, I am alright. The more I heard her voice trying hard not to break...the more my voice was breaking. She told me that she would help me with anything I needed and she loved me. I said goodbye and cried again. Looking back, I wonder how I can ever thank my mother or father for their support. To imagine all the things they could have said or might have said....and yet, they only said words of love and concern.

At the ultrasound, I was trying to drink enough water without bursting. I thought of all the images I had in my mind of happy expectant mothers waiting to see their baby and then of me. The upbeat nurse explained to me the procedures. I laid on the table watching the screen flashing sections of my innards. Finally she said in her excited voice "There it is." I stared at the blurry image on the monitor. She showed me the heartbeat and measured the dimensions. I felt cold, no matter how much they warmed the room. I wondered if they could print out the image like all the other women on the TV do. I didn't ask. I just waited nervously for her to tell me the dates.

Nearly 8 weeks pregnant. I figured out the dates in my head, will that mean I can get the early abortion? If it was past 10 weeks, I would have to travel 2 1/2 hours away and pay much more. I was relieved but still feeling just as miserable. The abortion appointment was made, about a week away.

I searched the net with questions and read the paper they gave me over and over. What if I had the wrong blood type? Do I have to pay in cash? Is the total $300 or are there more charges? I made arrangements at school and work to miss a day. I tried to keep it simple: "I am having a simple surgery, I don't know how long it will take to recover, they tell me a day." Too much information? Not enough? My boss seemed genuinely concerned "Surgery? Are you alright?" I paused, "Yes, I am fine. It's ..." He saw my hesitation "Don't say anymore!" I smiled, knowing all the struggles I had had with his personality...but now I could really appreciate his concern for my health and respect for privacy. My friend got a day off work to help me too.

That day, "Thursday" we called it with an important voice, I slowly prepared a book to read, papers, and money. I arrived at the clinic (which was really a general health center and just happened to do a few abortions too) and apprehensively approached the desk (is this where I go? who do I talk to?). "Hi, I am here for an abortion." The words come out quite simply but I wonder if I see the woman flinch (is she really a pro-lifer? does she go to protests on the weekends? or does she just think I am another dumb girl?). I give her my name and details. But I keep hearing her say "termination." Termination? Is that the "clean" word? Every time she says it, I want to yell "Abortion!" I go to another desk to pay, and worry if the blood test costs are included. My friend has agreed to pay it all and I will pay him back since I am already struggling with the bills while going to school.

The blood test comes back good and I wait and wait and wait. Just like any other appointment, I think, you wait for an hour! I watched children play. After talking to the front desk, they take me to the room. They tell me my friend can come with me and I ask him to come. He seems a little nervous and wants to say no. But he agrees. I answer more questions, am given more instructions, then lie on the table waiting for the doctor. Almost immediately he tells me he will give me a dose of valium. Holding my friend's hand, I watch the needle in my arm wondering if it will affect me right away. In a fast fluid motion I begin to realize that I don't know what is happening despite the doctor's narrative. I hear metal tools clanking. I hear something about a needle. Maybe I closed my eyes when I started to feel the pain. It hurt, I didn't know if it would. Everything hurt. It seemed so short and I remember so little, soon I the doctor said "Done" and suggested I relax for a while. The lights went off and the door closed. I was lying in pain I am still holding my friend's hand. He has been squeezing it all the time I was moaning on the table lost in the valium haze. Now the room looks blue. Everything is blue. I am crying from the pain of cramps and being here. My friend asks me "Should we go now?" and I moan "Nooooo..." I don't know how long I laid there, it did not feel long enough. Finally I stood up and we slowly, very slowly walked out. I wondered if everyone was staring at me wondering "What is wrong with that girl?"

Recovering was not so bad, I went to school the next day. In short time, everything seemed normal again. I didn't think much about the abortion. Only at random times, I would remember and think about it for a while. It's been nearly a year now. My friend admitted to me that he did not want to have the abortion. Sometimes I wonder if I should have thought more about his feelings.

I have told a couple people about my experience. One, my friend/boss/roommate nodded her head when she heard me mentioned it. A few months later she told me about her abortion. I could tell she did not like to say much about it and I wondered which is better: "To tell people or not?" I've told my girlfriend. She listened with love, sometimes she asks me about it again and apologizes for mentioning it. I smile and tell her not to apologize. I wish more people would talk about it. Especially when I think of the women who go through it alone. That is why I tell my story.


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"We cannot make decisions for others; women must be trusted to make their own decisions."