I have been pregnant six times. I have had three abortions and given birth three times. I have always wanted to be a mother, but I had the wisdom to know that I couldn’t do it while a senior in high school. I truly didn’t think it would be so easy to get pregnant, but the first time I had sex without my boyfriend using a condom, it happened. I knew I was pregnant when my period was a few days late because I was always punctual. Choosing abortion in the state of California was easy, as it should be for anyone in every state. I went to the family planning clinic and had a pregnancy test and then they helped me fill out the paperwork for temporary Medi-Cal, which paid for the abortion without my parents having to be involved in any way. I had the abortion two weeks after my missed period, in an out-patient procedure at our local hospital. The day before, I met with a doctor who inserted something in my cervix to soften it, which was the most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure, as it caused cramping. I skipped school that day of the abortion, but was back in class the next day, feeling positive about my decision. No regrets–I felt mature and responsible. I had no illusions about what it would be like to have a baby at 17. My second abortion a year later was upsetting to me because I couldn’t believe I had accidentally gotten pregnant again. I had broken up with my boyfriend so I foolishly went off the pill for a week, then had break-up sex with him. We didn’t get back together, but he went with me to the hospital, like he had the first time. After the procedure, the doctor talked with me about back-up birth control and recommended a diaphragm so I’d always be prepared. The diaphragm and accompanying spermicidal cream with applicator were awkward, but I absolutely did not want to get pregnant until I was ready. I got a new boyfriend (who would later become my husband)and we were diligent about always using the diaphragm. If we had sex more than once in a session (we were young)I would always get out of bed to put another applicator full of spermicide in first. Nonetheless, I got pregnant again. I didn’t even bother having a pregnancy test. I knew all the signs. I skipped the clinic and went straight to Medi-cal to fill out the paperwork and make an appointment. I was so angry that my birth control had failed me. This time around, the doctor gave me a lecture about being irresponsible. I felt so ashamed. I was 18, an “A” student going to our local junior college on scholarship, I didn’t drink or do drugs. I was a good person who wanted to have sex, but not a baby. He made me feel like I was stupid and didn’t understand how bodies work. Five years later, at 23, I got pregnant again, with my same boyfriend, soon-to-be husband, when the condom we were using broke. I had been on the pill for years, but was sensitive to its side effects and my doctor recommended I quit. This time I felt ready to be a mother and had a wonderful home birth nine months later. Oh–and when I got a diaphragm after I gave birth, it was much, much smaller than the one I had been given at 18, and fit snugly. I didn’t know they came in different sizes! The doctor who did my abortion gave me a diaphragm much too large for my body which is probably why I became pregnant using it–and then he lectured me!! Two years later my husband and I decided we wanted another baby and I got pregnant a few days later, the very first time we had sex without birth control. I think I am a very fertile person. I got pregnant just as easily three years later, then my husband had a vasectomy. I had three great home births, nursed my babies until they were two, and I love being a mom. I was able to be the mother I wanted to be because I had the option of waiting until I was older and more prepared. No one should ever be forced to give birth.
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