facebook : twitter  : email  : donate

Grief Without Regret

My Story….

I have never written about my abortion before.
Although I am not intellectually ashamed that I had an abortion – I am on some level because I have only spoken about my experiences with two close friends.

Somehow, I knew I was pregnant for a long time before I ever found out for sure. I ignored the feeling and hoped with all my power that it would just, magically “go away”. It was the end of my senior year in high school and I just wanted to ignore my pregnancy until I graduated and didn’t have so many other things to think about. Unfortunately, time doesn’t wait and I knew that I had to do something.

I started to get depressed and wanted to speak to everyone but was also afraid of speaking to anyone – I didn’t want anyone to judge me and if I WAS pregnant, and then there was no baby… what would they think? So I just kept going through my normal days until I admitted that I couldn’t procrastinate any longer.

I bought myself a pregnancy test without telling anyone and found out I was pregnant without telling anyone. I still didn’t know what to do. I thought my next step would be to find a doctor and pay for the abortion. I wasn’t even going to tell my boyfriend. At the time, I didn’t think I knew anyone else who had ever had an abortion – I later found out this was far from true, but in the moment I felt completely alone with my choices.

The same night my mother asked me what was wrong. I said “nothing” even though I wanted to tell her everything. She looked at me strangely and said, “Are you pregnant?” And I started to cry. We made an appointment at Planned Parenthood for a consultation and to find out how many weeks along I was – I called my boyfriend.
Luckily, my family and boyfriend were all incredibly supportive. No one judged me. And everyone asked me what I wanted to do.
I loved my boyfriend deeply and would have had a child with him – in fact I WANTED to – just not yet. We agreed together that the best choice at that time was for me to get an abortion. I had known since I first “knew” (suspected) I was pregnant that I would have an abortion, I felt lucky that the people around me supported that.

My boyfriend drove 5 hours to be with me and we went to Planned Parenthood for a consultation together. The woman there rattled through our options and then proceeded to push for us to consider having the baby, paid for by some patiently awaiting adoptive parents. I left feeling judged and shamed.

At some point during all of this I graduated from high school – a moment that was supposed to be full of joy and expectation for the future but which for me was mostly just surreal. I felt far away even from my closest friends and didn’t know how to explain myself to anyone. I ached to talk to my friends and the teachers who had been my guides for the past four years, but hesitated to open to anyone for fear that they would disagree with my choice or blame me for ‘doing something wrong’.

A few days after my graduation I went to the doctor’s with my mother to get a surgical abortion. Although the doctor explained everything to me, I don’t remember much of the actual operation except that we went down some stairs into what felt like a basement and it was definitely painful. Everything went as it should, and the abortion was completed successfully. My mother drove me home. I remember thinking, “How would I have done this alone?” I was in no state to drive, it was hard enough to be in the car.
My whole family was supportive and gentle to me. My boyfriend drove to be with me again but it was hard for me to communicate with him. I felt upset that I had had to have an abortion, that we hadn’t been careful enough and I had ended up getting pregnant. I was angry at myself for getting everyone involved, part of me was ashamed and still wished I could have been totally independent through it all. I felt physically violated – even though I had chosen that route, it had still felt like a surprise to me how ‘serious’ the operation was… maybe because no one really talked to me enough about what to expect.
The emotion that surprised me the most though, was grief. Some part of me had wanted that baby, I loved the man who would have been the father, and I knew that one day I wanted to have children. The sadness that came over me was unexpected, and I was unprepared for it. I didn’t know how to talk to anyone about it. It seemed strange, I had CHOSEN to have an abortion, but I was SAD that I wasn’t going to have the baby. I knew that wouldn’t make any sense to anyone.
I realize now that a lot of that was due to the drastic hormonal shift, one minute my body was pregnant, and the next minute it wasn’t. But no one ever seemed to talk about that part of abortion – maybe people feel it would hurt the argument for pro choice.
For me, that was the hardest part of the experience, and the time when I felt the most alone. Now I know that all women who have abortions (and there are a lot) experience some kind of grief. I can only imagine how helpful it would have been to have someone to talk to, to assure myself I wasn’t crazy. I never doubted my decision and I have never regretted my abortion – that was part of what made the emotions of grief and sadness so confusing.
We are tied to our bodies in more ways that we understand, going through something like an abortion can affect us – and those involved with us – in more ways than we expect.

How I felt at the time…


How I feel now…



Leave a Reply