The Best I Could in That Situation

This is an excerpt from a piece written by a Davidson College student who had to make one of the most difficult choices a person can ever imagine: abortion.

"I am the daughter of two individuals who put drugs and alcohol before everything: before their jobs, before their responsibilities, and most importantly, before their kids. As a result, my four half-siblings and I were thrown to the side to become someone else’s responsibility. Although I am grateful for this life and for my grandmother who raised me, there is a constant ache of loneliness and unwantedness. This isn’t something that I choose to feel, I wish I didn’t, but I am affected by the neglect of my parents every day. For these reasons, one of my most important goals in life is to be an amazing mother one day and never let my kids feel that pain. I want to provide the love and support that my parents didn’t provide for me. I want to give them the best life possible.

Last May, in the midst of an emotional disaster of a semester, I found out I was pregnant. I never thought this would actually happen to me. I never thought I would get pregnant my freshman year of college. I was an athlete on one of our D1 teams, I was figuring out what I wanted to major in, navigating how to manage my mental health and struggling through a very unhealthy relationship. I was unsure of a lot of things but something I knew for certain was that I wasn’t ready to be a mother.

I had suspicions I might be pregnant after I spent Easter weekend in Maryland at my now ex-boyfriend’s house. The Sunday before that weekend my birth control prescription had run out and I wouldn’t be able to get it refilled until the following week. My boyfriend and I didn’t use condoms regularly but I bought a bunch because I didn’t want to have unprotected sex. I let him know beforehand that I wasn’t currently on birth control and we needed to use condoms.

Before the first time we had sex that weekend, he reluctantly put on a condom and when it was over immediately complained. He said he had to “go really fast just to feel anything.” I was so fixated on pleasing him that I didn’t think about how messed up the situation was. He should’ve wanted me no matter what, but more importantly, we both should have believed that his pleasure wasn’t worth the risk of getting pregnant. But I didn’t see this at the time and he successfully convinced me not to use condoms for the rest of the weekend.

Once I was back on birth control, I noticed I wasn’t spotting like I normally do when I restart on the pill. I was getting worried but knew I had to wait a few weeks to take a test. I bought one from CVS and took it as soon as the directions said I could, 5 days before my period was supposed to start. It was negative. A few days later to ease my mind, I decided to take the second test randomly before I met with my partner for a group presentation. I sat in the Belk bathroom waiting for 3 minutes, telling myself I wasn’t pregnant and this was just for reassurance. When I looked at the test there was a line indicating that I was pregnant. My heart dropped and I immediately rejected the idea that the test was correct. I got back to my room and my partner showed up, I blurted out the situation to him and then ran straight to the health center. I wasn’t convinced I was pregnant yet.

Little did I know, there are false negatives, but never false positives. The health center had me pee in a cup and took me into a private room to tell me that I was in fact pregnant. They told me I could go straight to Georgia Ringle to talk to through my options if I wanted. I didn’t want time to think or ask anyone their opinion, I knew I didn’t want a baby. Georgia helped me schedule my abortion for May 10th, a little over a week from the time I found out and just a couple days before exams started. I wanted it done as soon as possible, which was 4 weeks into the pregnancy.

Georgia asked if I wanted to take the abortion pill or go the surgical route. My first instinct was to take the pill, but Georgia explained that they give you the first pill at the clinic and the second one-out home and you basically sit over the toilet and have a very heavy period for a couple days with pretty bad cramps. If I got the surgery it would be done that day, I would have some bleeding and cramping but the procedure would be complete once I left the clinic. This sounded like the better option to me.

I wanted to tell my boyfriend as soon as I found out. He ignored the call so I texted him a picture of the positive test to which he responded with “What are we gonna do if the test is right?” We had talked about getting an abortion if this situation ever came up and I told him we would stick to that. He seemed relieved but also a little upset with the situation, not upset enough to call or show much support though. The next day is when it sunk in that I was actually pregnant. That was when I felt like I needed him the most. He ignored my calls repeatedly and I felt so alone in the situation. This was his problem too; he contributed to the making of this living thing beginning to grow inside of me. But I was in North Carolina and this wasn’t happening inside his body so he could easily remove himself from the situation.

I told two of my best friends from home and three people on campus about my pregnancy. They all supported me and showed me a lot of love. I couldn’t tell my grandma as she was constantly talking about how stupid it is for girls to get pregnant nowadays because of the amount contraceptives available and I didn’t want to feel her potential disappointment through this process. The next issue I needed to think about was how to pay. My boyfriend expected me to ask my grandmother for the money, even though he had a full-time job, but Georgia told me I could get a lending loan from the school, free of interest and I could pay them back once I had the money. So I borrowed $350 from the Dean of Students office and was good to go.

For the one week I was aware of my pregnancy, I felt really strange walking around campus. I felt tainted and out of place. For every person I passed, I’d wonder what they would think if they knew a fetus was currently developing inside of me, that if I just did nothing, less than 9 months later I would have a baby. I would be a teen mom. It was a sad thought, to think I was giving up something that I knew I wanted very badly in the future. To give up something that would grow into a little human that I would love unconditionally. But I didn’t want to be selfish like my parents, I knew bringing a baby into the world under these circumstances wouldn’t be best for anybody.

On the morning of May 10th, Georgia drove me to A Woman’s Choice in Charlotte. I was pretty nervous and a little sad on the way to the clinic. Georgia said it wasn’t likely that there would be protesters because it was early in the day in the middle of the week. We walked into the entrance of the clinic and discovered we were the first ones there. Georgia confirmed on paper that she would be my ride home and I filled out other standard information. I also checked the box to give me an anesthetic so I wouldn’t be awake for the procedure. After the paperwork was out of the way, I waited and watched as other women walked in and did their paperwork. I was the youngest one in there by far at the time. I felt almost embarrassed but I just kept thinking that this was the right thing for me to do. Georgia couldn’t come with me past the waiting room so I had to go through the rest of the process surrounded by nice strangers.

After blood work, each of us women had to get an ultrasound done to determine how far along we were. They stuck a large probe inside of me and moved it around somewhat roughly. It was a pretty uncomfortable feeling. They didn’t show me the tiny group of cells on the screen, rather they determined I was about 5 weeks along and sent me to the next room. Next, I was sent to the counseling room where a woman asked if I was sure I wanted to go through with this and then offered me birth control for after my procedure. I expected a little more comfort and compassion but the meeting was very short and to the point. After that, I was sent to a room to take off my clothes and put on a gown that I sat in while we waited for the doctor in the waiting room and watched E! television for what was apparently couple hours. We took some type of medication that was meant to open our cervixes and also something that made me drowsy.

After a very long wait, the doctor finally arrived. I was the second one in line. I walked into the grey room and the doctor shook my hand and assured me that I was in good hands. I laid on the table and they put the IV in my arm and had me count backward. The next thing I remember is waking up a little confused and being sat in a wheelchair and brought to a room where I would wait with the rest of the women in the group as we dozed in and out of consciousness. Georgia eventually came into the room and I felt so happy to see her. After making a stop to the bathroom so I could put on my clothes, we got in the car and started the trip back home.

The cramps started about 5 or 10 minutes into the drive. They were the worst cramps I’ve ever experienced and I was still dizzy and tired from the drugs they had given me. They sent me home with extra strength ibuprofen but for several hours after the surgery, they seemed to be ineffective. The trip back to Davidson felt like hours. Georgia brought me back to my room and gave me food and a heating pad. The cramps were still bad but it was nice to be in my bed. My friends that knew about the abortion on campus came to visit me and made me feel loved. My boyfriend was being somewhat supportive via text but I was starting to give up on him anyway.

I was sad after my abortion but because I needed to get through exams and pack up my room to go home, I was too busy to sit and think about it. I was happy that it was no longer another thing I needed to juggle in my life but I set any other emotions aside for the time being. That summer I worked for the money to pay back to the school, broke up with my boyfriend and started dealing with how the abortion made me feel. It made me really sad and I started wondering what it would be like if I had a little baby to call my own. I watched youtube videos about pro-lifers at clinics and blogs made by other girls like me who either had or hadn’t gone through with their pregnancy.

Today I’m happy to not be 7 months pregnant. I’m glad I don’t have to put that financial burden on myself or my family, that I can go to school with my friends and that I’m having a great athletic season so far. I’m also glad that I don’t have any type of obligation to talk to my horrible ex-boyfriend who took no responsibility in our pregnancy. Although I wish I hadn’t been in the position, to begin with, I don’t regret my abortion. I’m so grateful I was able to make that choice about my own body and do what I believed to be best for my myself. I’m here today to not only share my story but to be there for anyone that finds themselves in a similar position and to be a judgment-free resource for support. My goal is to not let anyone on this campus feel like they don’t have anyone to turn to. We all have access to the health center which is the place I turned to when I didn’t know what the next steps were and it’s a resource that everyone here can benefit from. I want to thank Georgia for showing such empathy and kindness during a time when I needed just that. I feel so lucky to have had an experience where I didn’t feel judged and was guided toward a solution that was best for me. As women and human beings, we need to stand together and support the choices we have the right to make. It’s my body and my choice."

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