I knew I was pregnant. That’s not why I made an appointment at the family planning clinic. It wasn’t my first time in this situation, crying, pregnant, sitting there with the kind women who could not change the wild night a few weeks ago or the fact that I took Plan B a day too late. The first time I had sat in that office, with the confirmation pregnancy test clearly showing the big pink plus, I knew what I wanted. That clarity was comfort in a way. The one-night stand with the person whose name I can’t recall today was not the introduction to motherhood I wanted for myself. That decision was easy, and for me who understood how to navigate a health system, supposedly set up to catch us when we fall but which often falls short, the process of scheduling and self-managing the medical abortion was relatively easy too.
It was harder the second time. Another unexpected positive test due to another careless night and a careless week after when Plan B could have worked. But now I was married, and I did want a child. So why was I still crying at the clinic?
Because it was the only place I could think of where I would be given the care and information I needed to make the right choice for myself. I had drunk alcohol between the conception night and taking the pregnancy test…would keeping the pregnancy unnecessarily bring a damaged child into the world or should I end it now? I was in my upper 30s, “geriatric” according to the OBGYN terminology, and at increased risk of having a child with genetic abnormalities, which I wasn’t willing to handle – I needed abortion as a choice on the table, but this time the choice was excruciating.
Nine months later, the same woman who counseled me and referred me for my abortion delivered my perfect baby boy. A baby boy who would not exist, and who would not be loved and cared for in the way I can offer him now, if not for the choices I’ve had.