How My Abortion Enabled Me To Be A Better Mother
Kiddo was still asleep as the sun came up. I had to pee. It was time.
For the past two weeks, I had been feeling off. At first, I thought my period was on its way. All the symptoms seemed right. I was tired, headachey, and had tender breasts. But after about a week, things changed. I could not shake this exhaustion and lately my stomach had been giving me problems. I also couldn’t stand the normal everyday smells I was used to. The scent of my usual morning cup of coffee would almost send me running for the toilet. Not to mention, I still had not felt any menstrual cramps.
So, I made my way to the bathroom. I dug out the pregnancy tests I kept stashed behind my tampons and toilet paper underneath the sink. I read the instructions carefully, even though I had done this before almost two years ago. I didn’t want to be unsure. I unwrapped the long, plastic stick. I uncapped it, revealing the small strip that was my target. I squatted over the toilet, positioned the test below me and went. I kept my eyes closed, controlled my breathing, and started counting. Inside my head the same mantra kept repeating, â€œPlease be negative. Please be negative.â€ My last, desperate prayer to whatever higher power was listening.
I opened my eyes and looked down at the strip. I stared at it for a while. My breathing was starting to hitch and my eyes began to tear up. It was positive. There was no mistake. That plus symbol was clear as day. I was pregnant. I was pregnant, recently divorced, unemployed, in debt, I had just moved back in with my father and his wife, and I had a nine-month-old baby girl asleep in the next room. This was bad. This was really bad.
I quietly wrapped the offending test in some toilet paper and diligently buried it in the bathroom wastebasket. I made sure it was undetectable. I stuffed the wrapper in my pocket and made my way quickly back to the bedroom. I sat down at my computer and started looking up a local address and phone number for Planned Parenthood. As I reached for my cell phone, I decided I should call him first. He should know. Besides, I still didn’t know how I was going to pay for this all by myself.
I chose his name from the contact list and hit the call button. Three rings later and his voice was on the other end. He was not quite awake.
â€œHey, you, â€œ he said. His voice was quiet, but he obviously sounded pleased to be hearing from me. My stomach did a flip and I took a shaky breath.
â€œI have to tell you something…,â€ I paused. My heart was pounding against my chest. How was he going to react? Was he going to freak out? We had talked briefly about such a situation when we started sleeping together about a month ago. He had reassured me that he didn’t want another kid. He was a single parent too. His daughter was younger than mine. Could I trust him?
â€œWhat is it? What’s wrong?â€ He was more awake now. I had tried to keep my voice calm, but I had apparently failed.
â€œI’m pregnant.â€ It was the first time I had said the words out loud. I could hear the panic in my own voice. I was on the verge of tears again.
There was a long pause. I could hear him breathing on the other end. I heard as he shifted his body and let out a sigh. â€œOh, babe. OK. Let’s stay calm,â€ he said, trying to reassure both me and himself. I started to sob. â€œNo, hey. It’s gonna be alright. Listen to me, babe. It’s gonna be alright. Tell me what you want to do.â€
I told him I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t have another kid. I didn’t want another kid. I had Kiddo and she was perfect. I knew as soon as I had her that she was it. She would be my one and only. Besides, I was already unable to support her by myself. How was I going to support two kids? Christ, I was 24 and living with my parents again. I could not do this to her, to them, to myself. How utterly selfish and stupid would I have to be to have this baby? It would ruin my life. It would ruin Kiddo’s life and we were already off to a rough start as it was. Her father, my ex-husband, had walked out on us when she was only two months old. We had been married young and my birth control failed during the honeymoon. We didn’t even make it to our one year anniversary. Everything was crashing down on to me again. I could not do this.
For his part, Dave was amazing. He was supportive. When I told him I wanted an abortion, he asked all the right questions. Did I make an appointment with the clinic yet? Did I want him to come with me? How much was it going to cost? He didn’t even ask if he had to help pay for it. He simply offered to.