Approximately 1 million teenagers in America become pregnant each year. 35% choose to have an abortion rather than bear a child. I was one of them!
I knew people who had abortions. I knew they weren’t uncommon. But even so, I didn’t want anyone to know that I was going to get one or that I was even pregnant. I heard the way people in school talked about other girls who’d had abortions. They were “sluts” or “easy.” I knew I was none of those things, but I was still scared of being judged, so I kept it all to myself and stayed silent.
If I could go back in time, I don’t know if I would’ve shouted from the hilltops that I was going to have an abortion or not. But I definitely wouldn’t have been so ashamed of it. In the end, it’s you choice to make and I made mine.
Still, before you decide to have an abortion, here are some things I suggest you do first:
- Take your time. Do not rush a decision or allow yourself to feel pressured one way or another by other people in your life. Think things over and consider what would really be the best choice for you during this time and place in your life and what would make you the happiest in the long run.
- Allow yourself to feel. Abortion can be a heavy topic and it can come with a wide range of emotions both before and after the pregnancy is terminated. Whether or not you feel sad, angry, happy, or even relieved, all feelings are valid and completely normal.
- Find a good support system. Abortion can be hard to find someone to talk to about it, but it made it a much easier experience for me when I was able to reach out to a friend. Be it your partner, a friend, or a family member, it’s important to try to find someone who you feel comfortable speaking to about it and who won’t judge you.
- And lastly, DO NOT believe everything you read! It’s good to do your research and find out what you’re in for, but there are tons of people who will do anything they can to convince you that terrible things will befall you if you go through with certain choices. Having an abortion does not guarantee that you will be infertile or get breast cancer or regret your abortion for the rest of your life. Don’t fall for the scare tactics. (Also remember that abortions are LEGAL in California and that you do not need your parents permission).
So while the decision to have an abortion doesn’t have to be a shameful experience, that doesn’t mean that it’s not difficult. That’s why if you do decide to have an abortion, it's still important to take control of your situation by educating yourself about effective birth control methods in order to prevent further pregnancies until you feel ready to have a child one day.
And remember that the only opinion of you that truly matters is your own.