I was 19 when I got pregnant through a condom.
The guy I was dating was… fun. Mostly. His mom had him at 16, and his dad wasn’t in the picture. He played drums in a band, and looked great in a tight t-shirt, but he had a way of giving me complements that made me feel like I wasn’t quite good enough. After we broke up, I gradually came to realize I was one of three girls he was dating at the time!
I knew immediately that I was not equipped to handle parenthood- not on any level. I couldn’t support a child on the wages I earned in my full-time job at the mall, I couldn’t even afford to see a doctor, or take a day off with the flu. I was also a full-time community college student, and I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to keep taking classes with a baby in the picture. My family has never been helpful, or supportive, and there would be no one to watch the baby while I was at school or work.
Adoption was similarly out of the question. Not only could I not afford to have a baby, without paid leave or even sick time, I didn’t see how I could afford to be pregnant! How would I find time to go to all those doctors appointments? I spend a minimum of eight hours per day on my feet in heels selling crap at the mall, how would I do that pregnant? How would I explain my situation to friends and coworkers??
In that sense, the choice to have an abortion wasn’t a choice- there was no question in my mind that having a baby would have been an incredibly selfish thing to do. My baby would love me forever, and I would love him, but I would have no ability to make sure he was adequately cared for. My baby would have grown up like his dad, most likely, with a lot of unfulfilled potential for us both.
I have never regretted having an abortion. People who say that life begins at conception don’t realize how expensive pregnancy is for women- it costs us everything. Sixteen years later, I’m seven months pregnant, married, and much better equipped to raise a child. Pregnancy has been hell, I threw up at least once a day for the first six months, I’ve had crazy mood swings, I’ve been through a lot- and I can’t imagine what this would have been like for me at 19, if I was forced to carry that pregnancy to term. I would have killed myself, honestly! It’s miserable. I’ve made it through this time because of my support system, and the knowledge that this baby is very much wanted and very much loved, and honestly, none of those things would have been true for my first pregnancy.
I’m glad someone is collecting stories like mine. Young girls need to know that they don’t need to feel fear, stigma, or worry over this decision. In many cases, they’re better off not having children until they’re truly ready to take on the responsibility.
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