Abortion Story #198: From A Teacher in Tennessee

Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days. Below, JD talks about how she found many aspects of her abortion experience surprising – from the complexity of making a decision despite never wanting to be a mother, to feelings of grief. A teacher from the middle of Tennessee, she published her story on the blog of the Tennessee Stories Project.

“I wanted to tell my story because I feel like I can offer a different perspective. I don’t have any kids and I’m older. I was 39 when I got pregnant. And I never was the type of woman who had an urge to have children—it was never like a question. And, so, when I got pregnant it was unexpected and it was the first time in my life when I had to ask myself that question- “do I want to be a mom?” And I was surprised that that question was so hard for me to ask. And my boyfriend, whom I’m still with, had stated from the beginning that he never wanted to have kids. He has no interest in being a father.

[W]hen I got pregnant I knew that if I were to go through with the pregnancy, I would have to raise the kid on my own. So that became another part of the question. Is this something that you can do by yourself? I’ve always been pro-choice but it had been a label I had given myself that was out there because I’d never had to think about it. When I started asking myself those questions, the answers were more complicated and much heavier than I had anticipated. So I knew that I could not raise a kid on my own. I know there are women who do it and they do a fantastic job. But that’s not something I feel like I was capable of doing in a healthy, holistic manner. And I’m a teacher, so I see what our community does to kids and it’s just not a good place to have children and I didn’t want to contribute to that either. And so, I went ahead and said I’m going to get an abortion and the thing that surprised me was how hard of a decision it was. I had no idea.

When I made that decision, I was able to go to Planned Parenthood. Well, first I went to my doctor and it was weird because they didn’t ask me—they just assumed I was keeping this baby. So, they put me on vitamins and started scheduling follow up appointments and I felt like I was doing something wrong….I made an appointment with Planned Parenthood. I felt like I was lucky because there’s one in Nashville and I didn’t have to drive 6 hours to get to one in a different state. Then I remember thinking before it–I couldn’t remember about legislation about listening to the heartbeat. I didn’t know if that had passed so I was nervous about that…”

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