I was 17 and had finished high school early. My boyfriend and I were living together and were using a cervical cap for contraception. One morning after we had had sex I woke up and the cervical cap was definitely not where it was supposed to be. Somehow it had gotten dislodged. Not long after that I started experiencing horrible nausea. I couldn’t be in a moving vehicle at all without needed to get out and dry heave. I couldn’t stand the smell of food…or of much else. It was intolerable. It was also clear I was pregnant. There was no question of whether or not I would get an abortion. I was about to move back east to go to college. And I was not equipped to be a good parent, emotionally or financially.
I was lucky though. My boyfriend was sweet and incredibly supportive of my choice. My mother was supportive both emotionally and financially. I took a train up to Portland to be closer to my mom. She was worried about protesters at the clinic but on the day we went there were none. The abortion itself was a bit painful but no worse than years later when I got an IUD. Mostly I felt relief. Huge relief. The fact that I lived in a state with ready access to abortion services, that I had family support, my financial resources, and that there were no protesters physically impeding my way all helped me. The fact that I did not need to wait 24 hours to complete a procedure that I had already thought long and hard about also helped me. This was not ever an impulsive decision but one that was very carefully reasoned out.
Fast forward to the present. I’m married, have a teenager who I love with all my heart, and work as a psychologist, where I help women and men who have experienced traumatic events. My life course would have been drastically altered if I had had a baby at the age of 17 and likely many of the things I have accomplished would never have happened. The good that I’ve done in the world might never have happened. I’ve occasionally thought about my abortion, often in the context of other women who do not have the same options that I had, but I have never once felt regret about my decision.