When I was 19 years old I fell in love with a man seven years my senior. It was a whirlwind romance that climaxed in a proposal after just a month of dating and, after four months, a pregnancy. When I saw the positive result on my pregnancy test, I returned to my college dorm not knowing whether I should feel excited or terrified.
If I love him, why then should I be scared? I did all of the things I thought that a good mother would do, immediately making an appointment with an ob/gyn to get the proper blood tests and prenatal vitamins, all the while knowing that my family would be devastated by the news. My boyfriend was elated. After all, he was 26 and “ready.” As such, he did not take kindly to my trepidation.
Ultimately, my body made the decision for me, as I began to miscarry. Unfortunately, it was not a complete miscarriage and I chose to undergo a D&C, an evacuation procedure used in abortions, for my own health and reproductive safety. I was thankful that this was an option and, while confused, was quite relieved. Without that outcome, and I would have, perhaps, been trapped in relationship with a man who put his own ideology above my own, who chose drugs and abuse over care for his partner. This was my reality then and, had I not had the support of my family and access to this procedure, it might still be my reality.
This was my reality then and, had I not had the support of my family and access to this procedure, it might still be my reality.
Fast forward three years and I have just moved across the country to live with my current boyfriend here in El Paso. A week after arriving and after a lot of illness, I realized that I was, once again, pregnant.
We used the rest of our small savings - about $600 - to pay for the procedure and arrived at the clinic hand in hand. I don’t know what we would have done with barely enough money to pay for an abortion procedure, had we then had to pay for a full nine months of maternity care and, subsequently, a child. Organizations like the West Fund help make procedures like mine more affordable, for those who aren't as lucky to have a small savings, like we were.
Organizations like the West Fund help make procedures like mine more affordable, for those who aren't as lucky to have a small savings, like we were.
I was floored by how friendly the staff was, given the conditions they were forced to deal with in the state of Texas. I felt taken care of. Even when it came to light that I was a part of the 5% of people for whom the abortion pill does not work, they transitioned quickly to a surgical procedure and appropriate care.
I was lucky enough to have a partner that respected my decisions and supported me each way, walking me to and from the clinics, nursing me when I was not feeling well, aiding in my after-care when I had to have a surgical abortion, and helping me remember to follow up and consider various methods of birth control. He was always so incredibly respectful and that is something I could not replace.
I would always suggest taking some time off for significant self-care.
I am writing this to tell you that that is not true. You do not owe an explanation to anyone for the decision that you made. You do not owe anyone a false sense of regret. You do not need to atone. There are many of us who have made the same decision as you for a multitude of reasons and we want to walk with you to that clinic hand in hand. You should never feel ashamed for being the captain of your own ship. You are worthy of love and you are valuable, no matter what.
Not everybody was as lucky as Jane and able to afford their abortion and get the time off to recover. Donate to the West Fund today to ensure that every person seeking an abortion can afford, access, and recover from abortion safely.