Seven years ago, I was a sophomore in college. I was 18 years old, in love with my boyfriend, and — as I soon discovered after taking an at-home test — I was pregnant.
When I saw the results, I was surprisingly calm ... at first. I was with my roommates, who reacted by celebrating in the halls of our dorm. They were shocked but excited. I think they were also relieved it wasn't them.
I laughed and celebrated with them, but inside I was terrified. I was a small-town girl from Maryland, attending college in Florida, with no family nearby. I was in the middle of my college experience and already had an older sister who had dropped out of college due to an unexpected pregnancy. (How dare I, right?)
When I told my boyfriend, he was shocked but said he was there to support me in whatever decision I made. One month later during Thanksgiving break, at my roommate’s house, I decided to call my mom and tell her the news. Surprisingly, she was very understanding.
After discussing the news with my mom and boyfriend, I made the scariest decision of my life: I chose to abort. I wasn’t financially stable, I wasn't ready, and I didn't want to drop out of college.
I felt a lot of guilt and even more doubt. Guilt for almost wrecking my college experience and doubt that no choice was the right one.
The procedure was done in a small clinic in Miramar, Florida. The process was quick and fairly easy. My doctor was a friendly man who made me feel very comfortable. His assistant, a younger woman, told me about her abortion before my operation. She held my hand for a long time. My boyfriend was by my side the entire time.
I barely remember my emotions or how I felt that day. I DO remember, however, that I felt a sense of relief when everything was over — almost like I had gotten rid of a burden.
By the last semester of my junior year, my boyfriend and I decided to go our separate ways. I’m not sure if the abortion had any effect on our relationship. I still don’t have the balls to ask him. Luckily, we are still great friends and speak to each other often.
The rest of my college career flew by blissfully. I was a member of the university's orchestra, I auditioned and got into some of the school's musicals, and I did PR work for the Black Student Union. In May 2012, I graduated with my bachelor's of science in music business. I took my “mistake” and learned a valuable lesson: Always use protection, so next time there won’t be a next time!
It took me six years to forgive myself for being so selfish. Every Mother’s Day, I'd cry and ask myself "What if?" and every Father’s Day was a sad reminder to my now ex-boyfriend of our loss.
Today, I’m 25 and I'm finally over being an emotional wreck. With time, the guilt went away. I took up yoga and meditation to help ease my mind and focus more on the positive aspects of my life instead of dwelling on the hardships. Through that, I found myself spiritually.
In retrospect, I think I would’ve made an awesome mother. I ultimately think I could've made it work if I'd had to. I've always been family-oriented, I’m very responsible and I have a great role model in my mother!
Even though it was seven years ago, I'm still sad sometimes about the decision. I can't help but think my baby would've been 6 years old and playing with my niece and nephew. I’m embarrassed to tell friends the truth about my pregnancy. I don’t think they'd understand the state of mind I was in at the time, or the place I was in spiritually. Among my friends, abortions are looked down upon.
But having been through this I know what it feels like to be scared and totally unprepared to bring a child into the world. I feel a sense of maturity as well as responsibility as I write this essay. I’m finally being real with myself and taking responsibility for my actions. I hope my story reaches somebody out there in the same situation that I was in. You're not alone. Do what's best for you!
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