At the age of 21, I had an abortion. Although my boyfriend and I used birth control throughout our three-year relationship, it failed (the relationship and the birth control). I knew that none of the birth control methods we used were 100% guaranteed. Perhaps I had in the back of my mind that should “something” happen I would have an abortion. Or perhaps I was living in the omnipotent state characteristic of youth, figuring “it” would never happen to me.
When “it” happened and I became pregnant I was shocked. I vaguely considered carrying the baby to term, but quickly refocused myself toward abortion. Any appreciation I had for the serious implications of having an abortion were trumped by my desire for life to go according to plan. (My life, that is.) It was not convenient to be pregnant. A baby would throw things off course. And that couldn’t be.
So I spent a day or so mulling things over, immersed in my emotions over the unpleasant ordeal and the disturbing feeling of having to have an abortion. It was as if I was on some pre-determined path over which I had no control. I felt I had no real choice: I had to have an abortion.
I called Planned Parenthood and scheduled it. When the day of my appointment arrived I felt a bit somber and perhaps a little nervous. But for the most part, I was pretty dissociated from what I was about to do as I sat in the crowded waiting room. When my name was called, I was escorted into one of several “procedure” rooms. The person I presumed to be the doctor was in the room along with one or two assistants. I don’t recall the doctor introducing himself. What I do remember is that things got down to business very quickly. Many years have passed since that day. What became seared in my memory was a machine positioned very close to my body that had an extremely loud motor and a vacuum noise that blasted on and on and seemed as if it would never end.
But end it did. And far more than the noise.