Today is Blogging for Choice.
Voting pro-choice is personal to me because the right to chose is a personal decision and the personal ends up political. I am not pro-abortion...really I can't think of anyone that is pro-abortion. No woman goes "someday I would like an abortion." I am not anti-baby either. I am absolutely pro-choice. But my life and my situations are totally different then the next persons. So who am I to make such a big decision for any other girl or woman, whose life and situation I know nothing about? I just can't ethically do that so I am pro-choice and vote for someone who is pro-choice.
As I said above it is personal to me. And I don't think I have ever shared this story in print on the web or even with that many people. I know I have mentioned that I had an abortion when I was 18 but just never gone into details. My ex-husband and I were in high school so basically lustful teenagers. And we practiced safe sex but the condom broke. It is odd for me because right away after we realized the condom broke I knew I was going to get pregnant. I just had this feeling and I broke down hysterical. Jim kept telling me it is a long shot. And can still remember looking in his eyes and crying and saying I hoped he was right but that my gut was telling me otherwise. This is long before the days of the morning after pill. So I waited until my period was suppose to show up -- just about 2 weeks later-- I think a little under 2 weeks. And it didn't. During high school I could predict my period down to time of the day - 2pm. And so the next day I went and bought a pregnancy test at a drug store in another section of town just so I wouldn't run into anyone I might know.
We had one bathroom in our house at the time so I knew I would have problems finding time to do the test. Four girls in the house meant walking in on others was a fact of life not about manners. One night I set my alarm for 2am knowing I could have the bathroom to myself. We had a linen closet in the bathroom. In the bottom of the closet was a bucket of cleaning supplies so after I urinated on the stick I put it and the box behind the bucket. Yes odd detail but this that is so clear in my mind....bending over to put the tester and box behind the bucket. I then waited. I knew if I were in the bathroom too long my Mom would wake up thinking I was sick. Their bedroom was right next to the bathroom. So I left it there and came back to find it indicating I was pregnant. When extreme trauma or stress enters my life, I go on auto-pilot. I think many people do to cope. I do what I need to get through the day. And most of the time people don't even know that anything is wrong with me. I still do that at times -- but I am more open with my feelings now.
I could hear my Mom's words echoing in my head -- of not getting pregnant young like she did. My Mom and Dad got married because my Mom got pregnant with me. She was 16 and my Dad was 18. Growing up all of us girls heard over and over -- about not ruining your life and opportunities by getting pregnant young. So here I am 18 and pregnant.
I didn't know what my parents would say. Jim was the only one that I had been discussing it with as both my best friends I knew they were against abortion and frankly abortion is the first thing that came to my mind. Jim wanted to marry me and have the baby. He was 17 at the time. Right before offering to marry me he did tell me ultimately it was up to me as it was my body that would have to go through the pregnancy. He did make it clear though his preference would be to marry me and raise our child together. But right away the thought that I would be a horrible mother sprung up. I was too young. My depression and my migraines even then play a huge factor into all my decisions. I knew I loved Jim but I thought that this would ultimately tear us apart because I felt one day I would feel like he made me marry him because of the baby. Add in I didn't want to become like my Mom did with me. I grew up thinking I was this horrible mistake that took her life away from her. And I didn't want to subject a child to that baggage. I thought of all the things Jim and I said we wanted and knew it wouldn't come about if we got married that young.
Jim is incredibly smart....one of those people that doesn't even need to crack a book but knows the answer. And so he needed to go to college...and having a baby meant he would have to work full-time. (I know better now that his parents would have paid for his college and our main bills to get him through college. They would have wanted him and us to have a better life and knew college was the way to get that. But at the time I didn't know that -- only been dating him 3 months at that point - known each other a year but didn't know his parents well at all.)
So abortion was what came to mind for me right away. I called and found out about them and how much it would cost. Because I was 18...I didn't need parent signature or anything. So my plan was for it to be just Jim and I going there. He supported me but he was upset. He cried but told me he understood and could see all my reasons.
I did something unfair then - that I do wish I wouldn't have done.....I told him he could not to tell his parents. I was so scared his parents would forbid him from seeing me because I wanted an abortion. But I told my parents and that is what I think was unfair that I got to tell my parents and he didn't. Actually my Mom guessed. About 2or 3 days after doing the home pregnancy test - we had for our Family Planning class a guest lecturer and I can't remember if it was planned parenthood or not....probably not as they pushed adoption more then any other option. I remember walking out of the class and then running to the bathroom....to get sick. Jim was waiting for me as he had a free period before that class and always waited for me. So he waited...I came out of the bathroom very pale and teary. We went to one of the stair wells to be alone. I broke down crying. I couldn't even get out what had happened right away. But eventually did and I could tell he was upset too but he tried to be strong for me. I came home my Mom asked me what was wrong because my eyes were puffy. I was really good at lying to my parents about where I was going to be (ie: a party) or my grades but emotional things...we didn't talk about emotions very often so when we did it was hard to know what to do. So when she asked me I didn't know what to say....and I told a version of the truth. I told her we had a guest lecturer at school that upset me. I also had been getting morning sickness - all through out the day -- pretty much right away so I was getting sick quite a bit. And I tried to hide it but again --- one bathroom makes it hard to hide that kind of thing.
And so she noticed me being sick. She asked me about the lecture what it was about and I said I really didn't want to talk about - that it was no big deal. Well my Mom worked at the school so she found out. For 2 to 3 days after she tried to get me to tell her I was pregnant without coming out and telling me she thought I was...she wanted to be the good Mom and let me come when I was ready. But at the same time she dropped all sort of hints that I could talk to her about it..like she talked about things that went through her mind when she found out she was pregnant. I told Jim...my Mom knows. And he said there was no way that was possible. But I knew that she knew. So I finally asked her if she knew. And she told me she was waiting for me to come to her....she said she didn't want to pressure me. She asked if I knew for sure....and I told her about the test. She told me those aren't 100% right so called and made me an appointment with our regular family doctor. She was GREAT really...really great. She didn't tell me how disappointed she was or anything. She just told me that she understood what I was feeling and struggling with and it was totally up to me what I wanted to do. My Dad....not so great. It was obviously upsetting my Mom behind the scene...she was being strong for me but breaking down with my Dad so my Dad hates when my Mom is upset so he takes it out on us girls. And so I was the one causing the problems -- so I was the problem and got it taken out on and yelled at that I was so stupid and so on and so forth everything you shouldn't say to your 18 year old daughter who is pregnant and struggling -- he said. He has done the same thing at other crucial times in my life.
But as I said my Mom was great. She went to our doctor with me. The doctor confirmed I was pregnant and supported my decision completely about wanting an abortion. He even found out that our insurance would pay for it because really it was a D&C because I was only 6 weeks along. He made me the appointment at the clinic.
It was decided my Mom would go with me to the clinic. I needed a blood test before the appointment -- to find out what my blood type was but they didn't tell me that until the day they called and confirmed the appointment the day before. So I had to fast and go to do the blood test in the morning and then go the appointment. So I have this little card that has my blood type on it -- and the date. It is a card I carried in my wallet for years and years. I hardly ever pulled it out really didn't even notice the date on it until I found it this past year going through some stuff as I don't carry a wallet. And I noticed the date on it and realized that was the same day as my abortion. So I had my abortion April 11, 1986.
Again my Mom was great through the whole thing. She got teary with me but she was so supportive and understanding. Jim really had a hard time handling it. I did the best I could to help him but really I should have let him tell his parents -- that was so unfair of me. He did end up telling his parents 4 months later. And they were angry with me for not wanting him to tell them. But over all they were fine with me having an abortion. Jim had problems with it later -- after we were married. And he often used it as a way to hurt me -- when we decided to try to get pregnant and I was having problems -- physical problems -- he told me that I screwed up our chance. He told me often that if he had his way we would have had a child already. And so on and so forth.
I know still now after even going through the aftermath of his feelings, that the abortion was the right choice for us. Even after knowing I can't have kids, I know I made the right choice. Choice....it was a choice. And I believe fully in having the choice.
Someone very close to me 6 years after my abortion called me late at night....she had been raped. She was drug across a gravel parking lot, beaten and raped. She got a STD from the rapist and also got pregnant. She called me and I cried with her. And supported her in her decision to get an abortion. It was her life and her situation and her choice.
I am glad she had the choice. I am glad I had the choice. As I said in the start of the post -- how could I tell some girl or woman that they don't have a choice of what to do....it is their life and their own situation. It is a personal choice that no one should have the right to tell another what to do.
So I am pro-choice and vote pro-choice.