Loretta's Story

I had an abortion two years ago. People told me I wouldn't think about it when the anniversary came around, but I do. I cried really hard about it for the first time since that hellish time about a month ago and it felt really good. I feel better now. Sometimes I worry that I won't be able to get pregnant when I am ready to have children... something about that Catholic upbringing and the "God-will-punish-you theory." But I don't believe in that kind of God anymore.

I love my boyfriend very much... I didn't know him then like I do now. I didn't know if he would be the kind of father I want for my children or the kind of man I want to be linked to for the rest of my life. I know he is now. He's had time to grow, so have I.

I don't like what society does to us with these myths that we're supposed to be so grateful and excited about being pregnant. Or that if we do get pregnant unexpectedly, then we weren't being "careful" enough. And this is our punishment and we must accept it. And if we make any other choice, we're immoral, bad.

Our bodies are made to do this and have been ready for pregnancy since we were 12, 13, 14 years old. Unplanned/Unwanted Pregnancy is a medical condition and Abortion is a way of treating that condition.

I think the hardest part of my decision was that I was 22; old enough to make it work, but not ready to want to make it work. I was waiting tables. I had just graduated from college. I had no insurance. I was living with my boyfriend in a run-down old house in a bad neighborhood with three of his friends. I've always envisioned a house full of kids. I love kids. I remember those few weeks of agonizing over what to do. I took two pregnancy tests because I couldn't believe it. I remember looking at my stomach and wondering how so much could be going on inside my body. I changed my mind over what to do every fifteen minutes. My boyfriend was wonderful... he changed his plans every time I changed mine. My parents were wonderful... I thought my dad would hate me (He's very Catholic). But when I called him on the phone we just cried and he told me he loved me.

I left the clinic the first time we went. I couldn't stand it. There were almost 15 other women in one room and it was so hot. Some of the women were talking about their children and that really upset me. I thought I was going to pass out. I got up and walked out. I went to the library and checked out a few books. One of them was "Why I am an Abortion Doctor." It was so good! We rented some movies..."If these Walls Could Talk" (HBO) was one of the best. The knowledge empowered me and I felt more confident about my decision, so we went back.

Within an hour after the abortion, I felt so much better. I threw up and cried and slept. My boyfriend and I rented a hotel room because I didn't want to see or talk to anyone. That night while we were watching TV, a commercial came on for a pregnancy test. He hugged me and said next time we need one of those we'll be so happy about the results.

Now I am 24. I have a good job. My boyfriend is in school. He is everything I could have ever hoped for in a partner. We couldn't be what we are today had we chosen a different path. Things may have been better and they may have been a lot worse. I want to know that my children will grow up with a good man for a father. We have to have high expectations... good men don't come easy.

Over the last couple of years I have been amazed to find out how many women in my family were pregnant when they got married. 3 out of 4 of my great-grandmothers, my mom, several aunts... They made so many sacrifices for their children, but so have I. And in a way I feel I have made a sacrifice for all of those wonderful women who had no choice.

December 1999

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