Story No. 291: Stephanie from Massachusetts

I read about many women coming out unapologetically for abortion after being raped, and stories of the infinite tragedy when a woman is forced to make the choice to terminate a wanted pregnancy because of its unviability. Yet rarely, if ever, in the news or television (particularly in politics, which must be rife with women who want educations and careers before families) does someone come out and say, “I had an abortion because I didn’t want a baby”.

The absence of these stories in the media makes a simple, easy, ten-minute, noninvasive procedure seem atrocious, scandalous, embarrassing, and something to never speak of—unless you’ve had another atrocious, horrific thing happen to you before that.

Well, I had an abortion because I didn’t want a baby.

When I was 22, I had a horrific breakup (it was horrific for me; for him, less so). To help me over the hump I, like so many of us do, went out and got drunk at a slightly sketchy Irish pub. Not pass-out-on-the-floor drunk, just make-out-and-go-home-with-an-inappropriate-Irish-man-in-my-time-of-need sort of drunk.

The next morning, I ran to the nearest CVS to get one of the newly available, heaven sent, morning-after pills. I took the pill and sighed.

Little did I know that very soon, I would be one of the 11% of women (the statistics at the time) who would still get pregnant.

The moment I found out, which was within 14 days of being pregnant, my breasts got unimaginably sized, and I threw up for an hour and a half every morning. Without any delay or emotional and traumatic mental back and forth I scheduled—wait for it—a totally optional abortion. Because I did not want a baby. What’s more, I definitely did not want THIS baby.

I’m 33 now, and I have nothing but a houseworth of education debt and a puppy. At 22, I had even less.

I went to Planned Parenthood and had a psychological evaluation pre-procedure where I nervously laughed as I told her how guilty I felt for not crying (many people in the waiting room were). She told me I was sane and it would be fine. I went in for the procedure, and then 20 minutes later, I was somewhere eating animal crackers and drinking apple juice.

I went home, sat on the couch, watched Law & Order for six hours, napped, and was back at work the next morning. Done and dusted.

Here’s the thing: I am known to curl up into the fetal position and cry. Usually I’m crying over things like having to go to a party with people I don’t know, or when a baby elephant dies in a documentary, or when an adorable, yet socially awkward man falls in love on a reality show. I’m a crier. I am a gross over-emotional wreck. But not once—not once—have a I done the fetal-position-lost-child-I’ll-never-know abortion cry. The cry you see on every TV show and every movie.

This cry may or may not be a myth, but it is certainly not a universal. I do not, and have not, and will not regret my decision. It was one of the easiest, least fraught with stress and indecision, decisions I have ever made.

I won’t regret it if I’m told I can’t have children, and not if I want a child and don’t have a partner. I had an abortion because I didn’t want a baby, and I still, today, didn’t want a baby. I am not a cold, calculating bitch who has a heart of stone. In fact, I’m the opposite. I’m a gushing, newborn baby, true love believer, puppy lover, who cries at every movie I ever see, and at Halloween I save all my favorite baby costumes.

Still, I don’t look at babies’ faces and think of what may have been, or sigh thinking of what my thirteen year old might be getting up to about now had I not gone through with the procedure.

Now a large portion of the rest of my friends are having perfect little jerky-munchkins of their own. They’re awesome, and their parents are ready to make decisions about what method of education the overpriced day care should use—Montessori or quadrilingual?

Decisions that if I were to have a baby now I would actually think about: gendered toys, college savings, breast feeding options, health insurance, medications, bilingualism, discipline methods, school choice, and more vitally, how to name them something not terrible.

I will hopefully one day have an adorably obnoxious child who I love to levels unspoken of and who annoys me as much as I embarrass them. I totally want a baby one day, AND I had an abortion, because I didn’t want a baby back then, and those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

My life now is exponentially better, and by proxy whatever child with a hipster name that I manage to pump out of my uterus will now have an exponentially better life. But one thing I know: I don’t owe it to anyone to feel regret or remorse or shame for having an abortion just because I didn’t want a baby.