Penny's Story

I am 22 and I had an abortion 38 days ago. At the time I was 5 weeks along. I was just about to graduate from college, and I had been involved with a guy that I had recently met. This may sound crazy, but I knew instantly that I was pregnant. The next day I bought a test even though my period wasn't due for another two weeks. I took one test that was negative (of course) and I saved the last one for later. Actually, I hid it in a box. You see, my entire family was coming up for my graduation in two days.

I was raised by my mother. I have never met my dad. All of the women in my family had kids early. My grandma at 15, my aunt at 13, and my mom at 20. I have watched my mother struggle all her life to raise me. At our lowest point we were sleeping in her car (age 8). We moved up and she was able to rent us a room. Luckily, my grandma has helped out when she was able.

I have always been the "good" kid in the family. I was a good student, didn't cause trouble, etc. I have one of those families that loves you to death, but talks about you as well. The day I left for college the family started talking about how they bet I would get "knocked up" like my mom did. Well, I made it until 3 days before I graduated.

I wasn't shocked when I found out. I pulled out the test that I had stashed and took it. Immediately after I had the results I picked up the phone and called the father. He asked what I was going to do, and I told him I was having an abortion and needed his half. Four days later I had the abortion.

The doctor came in the room and gave me an ultrasound. I still remember seeing the sac and the life that was growing inside of me. I will never forget the doctor's words, "you have a tiny, tiny , pregnancy." The procedure wasn't that bad. I felt a little pain during the MVA. After the procedure he did another ultrasound, but this time their was no sac. I felt so empty inside.

I haven't really had anyone to talk to about this. My good friend, I'll call her Greta, was dealing with her own pregnancy and the ultimately decided to end it- a day after me. My best friend, I'll call her Julie, took me to the procedure, but was to squeamish to enter the clinic with me. It was so weird!! When I found out that Greta was pregnant, I felt bad, but couldn't understand what she was going through. Then I got pregnant, and Julie couldn't relate to me. Wouldn't you know that Julie found out she was pregnant a week later! I always heard that trouble comes in three's. I guess it is true.

I don't regret my decision, but I can't help feeling a sense of loss. My mother and I have always been extremely close, but I couldn't tell her my situation. She loves kids, and has been saying she wants another child- I am her only one. I knew that if I told her she would try to persuade me to keep it, and she would offer to help raise the baby. This was not an option to me. I just graduated and I don't have a job yet. I had no way of supporting the baby. In fact, since returning home my mother and I are still sharing a room, and I sleep on the floor. My grandmother and uncle also live with us. My aunt, the one who got pregnant at 13, gave her baby up for adoption, and I can tell it is weighing heavily on her heart. I truly could not put the baby up for adoption, so termination was the only choice for me.

All I can say is this: be careful who you lay with, they may be in your life forever. And if you are going to have sex always use protection if you don't want a baby or a disease. I made the choice to terminate my pregnancy, and now I must live with the choice for the rest of my life.

2 July 2001

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"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Muriel Strode