All I remember is waiting every minute of every day for me to get my period but I just knew there was no use. I shiver every time I think back to that time… Having a dark grey cloud over my head, no matter what happy song played next on Spotify. I knew I had screwed up. I never thought it would happen to me because these sorts of things happen to ‘that girl over there’. Me? Getting an abortion? No, it’s me. I know better than to put myself in that situation. Right?
If only I had known more about birth control. I wish I would have gone to Planned Parenthood sooner. I wish I would have been more comfortable talking to my partner about safe sex. I thought I knew how sex worked; trust me when I tell you I definitely didn’t.
Three weeks passed and yet no sign of red. I went for a jog to run away from it. I hit my stomach till it hurt. I broke down crying. Thoughts louder than thunder while pacing at the speed of sound. I considered all my options, from not telling my mom to becoming a horrible mother. Yet, nothing made sense.
Four weeks passed and yet no sign of red. It was an eerie Saturday morning when I locked myself in the bathroom for an hour, looked in the mirror for a while, and saw my future crumble. I saw myself not loving the baby, fighting with my partner, becoming part of another teen pregnancy statistic.
“Honey, what’s wrong?” my mom said. “Nothing,” I wanted to explode. I felt this white relief when she asked since the secret was too heavy, growing too much alive for me to keep. “Honey, please tell me.” Silence. “Please honey, I’m your mother. Tell me what’s wrong. I can help.” I lied again, “nothing is wrong,” I said as she heard me crying. “Please open the door. I can help.”
I put my back against the door and rolled down, falling to the floor. “Mom, I’m so sorry,” I exclaimed. My mom started crying. I said sorry a million times before the words spilled out of my mouth. “I’m pregnant.” Words of bitterness and regret. An explosion of tears flooded the bathroom for what felt like infinity. As I opened the door to embrace the most comforting of hugs from my mother, I felt the tears flush away, allowing me to breathe again.
I told her I wanted to have an abortion; she respected that. It took an uncomfortable visit to the clinic to change my life, along with my perspective on certain things.
Years have passed; I have accomplished a million things. I have learned so much from an experience I was too vain to believe would happen to me. I stopped judging teen moms because who am I to judge their situation? I have become a strong supporter for Planned Parenthood because I stand behind what they advocate. I now value the importance of safe sex because I respect myself and my sexual partner. Most importantly, I value my rights.
I never thought I was going to share my story; I cared too much of what people would have to say about me. Plus, these sorts of things are always kept under the rug in my culture. Today, the rug has become too fat for guests to walk over. It wasn’t till I read a Teen Vogue article a couple of months ago, Women Open Up About Abortion Before and After Roe v. Wade, that it gave me this bit of courage to share my story, which will hopefully make other women, with a similar experience, feel less alone.
Through the years, I have had women whisper in my ear their abortion story. I always listened respectfully with this desire to tell my own as a form of comfort, but I never had the guts to do so. I am tired of hiding a part of my life that has made me value the importance of women’s rights and has defined me as the woman I am today. It is not something I am proud of, but the experience has made me a more empathetic person, a more understanding woman.
I’m not a statistic, I’m a woman carrying a story on my shoulders about using my human right to do as I please with my body and life, as one should.
This piece was originally published for HERcampus – Arizona State University.