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I owned that choice

Updated: Jan 4

I was 23 when I had an abortion. I was a senior in college and getting ready to study and travel abroad for my final semester. I was planning to drive the Alcan Highway after graduation with my best girlfriend and felt my own bright future and all the possibilities of life stretch before me. My boyfriend of 5 years and I had been ignoring the sounding alarm of our ending relationship, hitting the snooze button for the better part of my last year in college. After another night of pretending we could continue having sex without complicated emotions, I traveled to my childhood home for a weekend. Arriving home with sore breasts and a gag reflex —I knew. Before a drugstore test confirmed it, I knew I was pregnant and my heart sank. Telling my Catholic parents wasn’t an option. I didn’t want the lecture on adoption that was surely to come. We had never even talked about sex growing up and I had sat through enough Sunday masses to understand what religion thought of women and motherhood. When I called Planned Parenthood between my college courses that next week, I remember the kindness and calm of the woman on the other end of the line. Struggling with the crossroads I found myself at — the snatch of my future teetering in those hard moments — I remember her asking me if I wanted to have this baby? “No,” I said in a whisper, “I can’t give up the life I just started living and I am afraid I would resent having to.” She told me that I had a choice. That it was my body and my life and resenting a baby wasn’t fair to myself nor the baby. I remain grateful to her and the moment I owned that choice. Decades later and I am married now with two incredible, deeply cherished children. Children I planned for and felt ready for — mentally, emotionally, physically and financially.

And even though I wanted these babies more than anything, I sometimes feel pangs of resentment at all that I have given up to be a mother.

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