I found out I was pregnant on a Monday morning from two lines that painted my test positive.
I knew I was pregnant beforehand, but the test was my confirmation. I remember being excited that I wasn’t infertile like my doctor had claimed I was some time prior, but nervous as hell, because what was I going to do?
I stared at my situation as the lose-lose situation it ultimately was. On one end of the spectrum was to have the baby, to be a young mother, and struggle together, to be husband-less, unemployed, have no savings, and no real place to live – but to be happy that I was someone’s mother and have faith that in spite of the odds, I’d be a great one. On the other end of the spectrum, there was ending my pregnancy and forgoing motherhood until a time I was ready in every aspect of the word, or at the very least, the way I imagined it.
For about a week, I went back and forth with my decision, on top of having voices that were not very supportive (i.e. the men in my life, one of which was surprisingly my father). I was put in a position where I felt even smaller than I had before I heard the unharnessed opinions of my patterns of irresponsibility and emotional and financial instability. What I heard loud and clear was the dream life I envisioned for this child and I was more fantasy than reality, and I sank further into myself.
I had so much about me that I needed to work on and I didn’t want to run away from my responsibility, but I knew I didn’t want to do things alone. That same week, countering the negativity, I heard many more positive voices, most of them women who felt like I was confident and strong and determined and looked at me in a light that I saw myself underneath on my best days. That light lit a spark, maybe I could do it. But I looked harder at my reality, bills were piling up, I didn’t care too much for my living situation, I didn’t know if its father was who I wanted to be anyone’s father. Not to mention that I was already beginning to feel changes in my body that I didn’t like: I was exhausted all the time, sleeping 12+ hours a day, I got nauseous at the most subtle smells, lightheaded to the point of dizziness, etc. My tits were fleeky though.
I wanted all of this to happen differently, to happen five years down the road when I’m a little older and a little wiser. I wanted to go places and although a child does not mean your life ends, it does create a lot of change, changes that I wasn’t ready for if I were being honest with myself. I felt kind of bad then, because my thoughts no longer mirrored the inner dialogue of the women around me ready to nurture what my body and womb were preparing for. They stepped into their role as a mother immediately, while I was preparing to step down from mine. I didn’t want to be a baby mama. I didn’t want to be the person whose last name didn’t match her child or its father’s. I didn’t want to struggle. I wanted different things for my child. I wanted them to be and do better than me. I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my lifestyle, my desires, my goals, or my body. Call it selfish all you want, judge me or my actions all you want, but being a mother wasn’t what I wanted. Not yet anyway.
So I decided to have an abortion.
I entered the parking lot of the clinic to see a lonely bystander posted near the entrance with a sign that read “PRAY TO GOD TO END ABORTION” in bold letters. I rolled my eyes. Upon entering the waiting room, I was surprised to see how many women were there: white, hispanic, black. There were couples. There were women who were alone. The room was practically full and it wasn’t even 10 AM. The talk show on the TV was ironically talking about contraceptive effectiveness. Everyone seemed to be on their phones. My nervousness subsided a great deal because I suddenly felt a lot less alone in what I was about to go through. Lord knows my man, who came along with me, couldn’t understand. There was a lot of waiting in the waiting room, despite having made an appointment. It was about an hour and a half of watching our phones and laughing inappropriately before my name was called to come to the back. I thought he’d be able to sit with me throughout the entire process but when my name was called, I had to leave my purse and phone with him in the waiting room.
I found out through the ultrasound they performed on me that I was five weeks and five days. I thought I’d feel a huge connection at seeing that spot appear on the screen as a reflection of what was residing in my womb, a shock like the cold gel on my belly as she used the machine on me – but no. I got up, zipped my pants, and was ready to go to the next room and wait to take the pill.
The process is a series of five pills. You take one in the office with the medical professional and the other four 24 hours later. The first ends the pregnancy and stops the baby from growing. The other four start the “miscarriage” the body goes through, a process that involves the expelling of the sac, clotting, bleeding, and cramps so that your uterus returns to the size it was pre-pregnancy. The bleeding is heavy, the cramping is real, but for me, the process was complete within six hours and all I felt after that was an overwhelming feeling of relief.
There are a lot of women everyday who find out that they are pregnant and the two spectrums do not play out anything like the way my options did. Abortion is not an option that is often talked about and is very frowned upon, but I don’t believe that you should have a baby if you are not ready for one. I thought at 26 I wouldn’t be caught dead in a clinic facing the choice of terminating a pregnancy with a 17-year-old across seated across the room from me, undergoing the same treatment and same emotion toward the possibility of motherhood. I believed the 10 year difference in age would somehow up the ante with my feeling of readiness but life happens. Shit gets in the way and even if you have laid out the plan for the way your story is written, there will be edits. This for me happened to be one of them.
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I feel a little tinge of pain in what could have been every now and then in my heart when I hear a baby laugh or see a woman with a burgeoning belly, but I don’t regret my choice because I know that things will happen the way that I need them to happen in the future. My time will come and I’ll have my daughter or son. I really just wanted to put my voice out there on the matter though, even if anonymous, because just like women who decide the hard choice of being a single mother, there is also a hard choice in deciding not to become a mother.