The Abortion I Almost Forgot

I didn’t notice my skipped period. I had switched birth control pills, in addition to my menstrual cycle had always been a little irregular. This kind of wasn’t like a movie, either. When I commenced vomiting, This kind of didn’t even dawn on me of which I was pregnant. I thought This kind of was some symptom of cancer.

Nor can I remember where or how I ended up getting a pregnancy test. I just know of which at some point I figured I couldn’t take a home test for anything else, so I might as well rule This kind of possibility out.

however I had a sex life with my live-in boyfriend in addition to a flighty relationship to Loestrin, I hadn’t had a period in over a month, in addition to I was constantly nauseated. Of course the stick’s indicator turned into a tiny pink plus sign.

There was no decision to make. Or rather, there was only one decision. I might get an abortion. I told my boyfriend in one breath of which I was pregnant in addition to might call Planned Parenthood the next morning in addition to make an appointment. His reaction made so little difference to me of which I’m not sure what This kind of was — he probably nodded in addition to hugged me.

I was 24 in addition to unsure I ever wanted children, let alone at a time when I spent a great deal of my life journaling about what to do with my life.

I rarely talk about my abortion. My silence is actually not out of shame, however a lack of This kind of. A friend I’m not all of which close to told me about her abortion recently in addition to asked if I had ever had one.

“I have,” I said. “This kind of was a long time ago.” I trailed off, shoving some carrot sticks into my mouth in addition to trying to evade the ritual of swapping stories. I didn’t want to sound too businesslike or as if I didn’t care enough.

however here’s the truth: This kind of was not a tortured decision. I guess of which makes me sound glib, or worse, as if I’m some kind of unfeeling monster. however of which’s what getting pregnant was to me: something of which needed to be fixed, in addition to of which I wanted to be done with as soon as possible.

I know in theory there are various other women who feel of which way, however I had never truly heard their stories. When you read abortion stories there’s often a tinge of regret or a hint of weightiness. What if I was being a woman the wrong way in addition to everyone might be able to tell?

At the time, I ended up telling just one or two friends about my decision (in addition to not my family, though my mother might have certainly been supportive; she had worked at Planned Parenthood when I was very young).

The hardest part was waiting two weeks between finding out I was pregnant in addition to going in for an appointment. I threw up so often from the bathroom of the tiny office of the feminist magazine where I worked of which I was convinced everyone thought I had bulimia.

I’d spend oddly wholesome nights in with my boyfriend playing gin rummy in a blue terry cloth bathrobe. I remember taking a bath in addition to thinking, I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant, in addition to This kind of might feel like repeating my name over in addition to over until This kind of didn’t register as mine anymore.

When I finally had my appointment, I learned I was eight weeks pregnant — too late to take an abortion pill, so I had to come back in a few days for an in-clinic procedure. This kind of was urban California, so there were no protesters to cross. I had told my boyfriend to pick me up when This kind of was over however not to stay from the waiting room.

A nurse asked me how I planned to prevent pregnancy from the future, in addition to I resented of which I had to reassure her I might set a timer to take the pill every day. When This kind of was my turn for the vacuum aspiration, another nurse asked me if I wanted to hold her hand.

“No thanks,” I said, however truly meant I didn’t want a big show of her support or anyone else’s. from the recovery room, I drank apple juice in addition to ate graham crackers — the very same snack we had during preschool.

I went home using a giant menstrual pad in my underwear in addition to went to bed flooded with immediate relief. I took a two-hour nap. When I woke up, my friend Rebekah, one of the few I had told, had brought me homemade banana bread in addition to minestrone soup. She knew exactly what kind of care I wanted, something of which wasn’t maudlin or expensive. Something of which involved carbohydrates.

When I washed the bowl she brought the soup in, I noticed This kind of was through Pottery Barn, which seemed so impressively adult. I still don’t have a matching set of dishes, however I do still use her white bowl all the time. I never did give This kind of back. This kind of has become my favorite bowl.

Having an abortion didn’t end up being the thing I remember most about of which year (of which goes to spraining both of my middle fingers in a rope swing accident over the summer). In fact, I almost always forget to include This kind of when some medical form asks me the number of pregnancies I’ve had.

This kind of has been 16 years since the abortion, in addition to, at 41, I’m close to the end of my window of fertility. At least I imagine I am; I have never done anything however try to prevent another pregnancy. This kind of turns out I never wavered in not wanting children of my own.

in addition to at This kind of point I’m ready to stop wondering if my story was typical. I am a woman in addition to something less than ideal happened, in addition to I moved ahead from the only way I knew how. In of which sense, This kind of was a reluctant initiation into a sisterhood, of which quarter of American women who will have abortions by the age of 45.

Every once in a while — like during the recent confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh — I’ll remember of which abortion was a hard-won right of which too often is actually treated like a luxury of which could be taken away at any time. Having an abortion didn’t define my life. Or maybe This kind of did, by preventing my nascent adulthood through veering off into a direction I’m not even willing to imagine.


Marisa Meltzer writes the Me Time column for Styles.

Rites of Passage is actually a joint project of Styles in addition to The Times Gender Initiative. For information on how to submit an essay, click here.