I don’t even know where to start. I was a “smart” kid who didn’t sleep around like my high school friends did in the 1970s. I was a good girl; I didn’t even have sex with my long term high school boyfriend.
I went to college and met a nice guy soon after. My parents immediately cut my financial support because “college is for studying, not for fooling around”. I loved my boyfriend, so I stuck with him. Besides, he stepped up and paid my tuition and put groceries in my refrigerator.
I became pregnant after my first year of college and, looking back, I was extremely naive about it. I didn’t even suspect pregnancy. I just knew that I was very sick all the time. Pretty sure I was fostering some major denial. I’d prided myself on being a “good” girl and being so unlike my slutty high school friends I’d left far behind.
With little money and family or medical support, I called my mother. Of course, she wasn’t thrilled. She said very little when I met her at her doctor’s office. This was 1984 and we hadn’t spoken in nearly a year. I recall no warmth or concern from her, just silence and an occasional dirty look. To this day, I do not know how she was feeling that day. And it’s too late to ask.
After getting my positive pregnancy result that day, I was on my own. My mother told me that she couldn’t help me and that I needed to figure out things for myself. Luckily, I was not really alone. I was in a loving relationship with my boyfriend and we knew we could figure things out on our own. And we did. Abortion was an easy decision, made all the more easy by the fact that I was so sick all the time. My boyfriend and I knew some things for certain: we wanted to finish college, get married, and have kids someday. Someday. Not then. So I had my first abortion at 19. The procedure went well and I had the full support and loving care of my boyfriend. We moved forward and moved in with each other for our last year of college.
Things get fuzzy from there forward. Over the next 3 to 5 years, I had a few more abortions. Same boyfriend (future husband) and same situation: we weren’t ready yet to be parents. The procedure was the same each time, some counseling, waiting, discussion, then suction. A quiet ride home and then major bleeding and pain for days. And then back to normal again.
Notice I don’t easily write or admit to how many abortions I’ve endured. Too many. Though I believe they were the right thing to do, I am extremely ashamed by my ignorant behavior. I was one of the “smart” girls who proved to be not so smart. I’m 52 years old now and have NEVER hidden the fact that I’ve had an abortion. Sometimes I fess up and admit to having two of them, but never have I admitted to the true number. I’m not even certain there are records that would show that I had four. After my second abortion (performed at a different clinic than the first one) I fibbed and returned to the first clinic for my third abortion (they thought it was my second). By the time I got to my fourth abortion, I was back at the second clinic convincing them that my fourth abortion was my second. My records will show two abortions each, at two separate places, right down the street from each other.
Even as I write this, it all seems so ridiculous to me. I’m sad for the ignorant young girl that I was who was left hanging by her own mother. She and I have never spoken about any of this. She’s 75 now and would claim to have forgotten about all of our past. So I let it go. She taught me a very important lesson about how NOT to be a parent.
I did go on to marry and later divorce this boyfriend who endured four abortions with me. He was there for each one of them and provided 100% support for the decisions we made together. At 26, we became pregnant for the fifth time and now have a beautiful daughter. She has always received full support from us and there’s nothing she could do that would make me turn my back on her. Her father feels the same way.
I’m trying to count or name the number of people who know that I’ve had four abortions. Not many. Maybe two. My family does not know, yet I am very close to my two brothers. My best friend thinks I’ve had two. I can’t bring myself to tell her the truth as I think she’d very disappointed in me. I’ve lied and lied and lied about it. To some, I’ve had one; to others I’ve had two. I can’t recall ever fessing up to having four. I’m too embarrassed. It appears as though I used abortion as some form of birth control, but that was not something I consciously decided. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking back then. Clearly, I was not thinking. I thought I was smart, but in fact I was pretty dumb.
I’m still very close to my ex-husband and there’s nothing that we can’t talk about. We don’t sit around and bring up the past, but I sometimes wonder how many abortions he remembers. He’s a dude. He lives in the moment and practices Yoga. The past is not something that concerns him. And I’m pretty much the same way, but as I age and move further away from my younger days, I want my record set straight for some reason. I don’t want that very important and formative period of my life to remain a lie or secret forever. Someday I hope to tell my daughter. She knows I’ve had abortions, but has never asked about how many. If she asks, I would not lie to her. Maybe someday I’ll ask my ex-husband how many he remembers; he’ll probably say three.
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