True Story: I Had An Abortion

I had an abortion

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/amazing/challenging things. This is the story of “Mara” and her abortion. I think Mara’s story is a particularly important one because most of us have been raised to believe that unplanned pregnancies (and abortions) aren’t things that happen to “nice girls.” They happen to women who have unprotected sex with multiple partners and make bad decision after bad decision. When, in reality, these things can happen to anyone.

I recognize that abortion is an extremely sensitive topic and I really appreciate Mara’s willingness to talk about her experience. Please keep all comments respectful. While I usually maintain an no-delete comment policy here on Yes and Yes, any hurtful or inflammatory comments will be deleted. Intelligent, respectful disagreement is, of course, welcome.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 26, married, pretty traditional in lots of ways. I grew up a bit south of Boston in a middle-class college town, had a lapsed-Catholic upbringing that eventually morphed into agnosticism, and currently work as a middle school teacher. I was brought up with the understanding that it’s good that abortion is legal, but it’s not for “good girls.” (I was and still am very much a good girl.)What was your life like when you got pregnant?

When I got pregnant, I was two weeks shy of 25. I got laid off on Monday, found out I was pregnant on Friday. My personal life has always been pretty drama-free, but I was especially happy, because my boyfriend of 6 years and I had just gotten engaged. It was a week of the most intense highs and lows I have ever experienced.
Were you using protection when you got pregnant? How did it happen?
I was using protection. I was on the pill. Something my doctors never told me until my appointment at Planned Parenthood was that if you use the same pill for a long time without a break or switching brands, there’s a chance your body will adapt to the hormones and you will be able to get pregnant. That’s what happened to me. After 5 years on the same pill, taking it the same time every day, it stopped working.
How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
I was angry, honestly. I have never been promiscuous or irresponsible in my sex life, I had been religious (ha!) about taking my pill on time, every day, I was educated and aware of the risks, I felt like I had done everything the “right” way, and so it was hard to deal with the truth.I was in denial about being pregnant for about 4 weeks before I took a test and had to face it. In hindsight, all the typical symptoms (nausea, constipation, smell sensitivity, giant breasts) were there, but I was so committed to my pill I thought there was no possible way.
How long did it take you to decide that you would terminate the pregnancy? How did your partner feel about the decision?
When my husband and I discussed the possibility of pregnancy when we first started sleeping together, I told him that I’d have the baby. I think that’s easy to say at 19, when you’ve yet to make a real adult decision. (Not that being a teenager excludes you from adult circumstances, but I hadn’t faced one yet.)When it did happen, the decision part was easy, surprisingly. After I took the test, I called my fiance at work. He was prepared to rush home, but I told him to take his time, that I was calling Planned Parenthood to make an appointment for an abortion. I just knew that I wasn’t prepared to be a mother, regardless of my love of all things tiny and helpless.I have to give credit where credit is due: my fiance (now husband) was a rock. Only after did he share that I had chosen what he would have wanted. He refused to let me consider his opinion: to him, it was my choice and my choice only. His role was to support me.

Can you tell us about going to the clinic?
I think that was what scared me most: protesters, judgment. But there was no one! I live in the Northeast, and in general there isn’t a lot of zealotry– Massachusetts isn’t a very socially conservative state. I was in and out in one appointment. The thing I would tell a woman to prepare for is a long, long wait.

My appointment was scheduled for 9:15, but I wasn’t seen until 5:30. They take your clothes and give you a johnny, but it was cold and I wanted a sweater and thick socks. Pack a book, a cardigan, a small blanket if you’re wimpy like me. You can’t eat for 12 hours beforehand, so tuck in at dinner, you’ll need your strength. You do speak with a counselor. They ask questions about how safe your relationship is, if you have multiple partners, if anyone has forced you into your decision. It’s a little embarrassing, but totally necessary.

Could you tell us about the procedure?
I’m going to give the gory details here, because I want women to know what they’re in for. First you’re given an ultrasound, to make sure you’re within the medical and legal parameters for first-trimester abortions. Often if you’re less than 4 weeks in, you have to wait to have the procedure. When that’s done and the wait is over, you’re brought into a dim room and sedated.

The sedation doesn’t kill all the discomfort, but it made me relaxed enough to chit chat a bit with the nurses. There’s a brief internal exam, the cervix is dilated, and the doctor will tell you when he is inserting the vacuum. I don’t know if there’s a way to describe the feeling other than it feels like a really prolonged visit to the gyno. I didn’t think it hurt, but it’s different for everyone. The whole thing took about 15 minutes, even though I’d been there 8 hours.

How did you feel afterward? Have you ever regretted your decision? Do you plan on having children in the future?
In the days and weeks after, I felt like I was trapped in a Dali painting and everything was shifting and breathing and melting around me. It was the most surreal few weeks of my life. I felt like I was in someone else’s body, watching myself. I know now that was partially my hormones readjusting, but I was definitely depressed for awhile. Not because I regretted my decision (I still don’t) but because I was confused as to how I had ended up on the other side of the statistics.

It took awhile to forgive myself, and recognize that I had done my part as best I could. Birth control is never 100% guaranteed, and asking myself “what if” 30 times a day wasn’t productive. My husband and I do plan on having a family, but we aren’t committed to when. Definitely not until we’re in our 30s. I have a Master’s degree to finish first!

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about women who have abortions?
That they’re all irresponsible teenagers, that they’re mostly of minority races, that they’re promiscuous, they’re from a big city or a tiny country town, that they’re uneducated or lack resources. Something I learned from my experience is that all kinds of women, of all ages, races and religions, for all reasons, have abortions.

No two women ever have the same experience, so it’s completely inappropriate to lump us into groups. I am an educated white woman from a fairly conservative family, with access to doctors, health insurance, and counseling– I still got pregnant unintentionally. It could be any of us.

What advice would you give to a woman who experiences an unwanted pregnancy?
Talk to someone. If it can’t be your mom or your partner, seek out a counselor, friend, or forum online. You don’t have to hold this inside you, and you’re never alone. Be kind to yourself. Even in the darkest hours, you’re still your own woman. You’re good and complete, even in the scariest times. Forgive yourself. You have to live with yourself forever, in situations that bring you pride and pain in equal measure. I guarantee you’ll be amazed at the strong and resilient woman inside you.

Do you know anyone who had had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy? Any questions for Mara?
P.S. Check out these other True Stories: I married my high school sweetheart & I met my birth mom!
photo by ezra jeffrey  // cc

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  1. Lorra Fae

    Wow, I can't imagine going through it – I mean, I have no problem with abortion and know people who have had them, and I respect their decisions, as I respect yours. But every time I hear about them, I get this horrible gut feeling. I don't think I could do it, unless it was a very dire circumstance.
    It was interesting to read your experience, Mara, I wish you the best when you are ready for a family 🙂

  2. Lauren

    Volunteering for a sexual health clinic here in Australia has opened my eyes to many things, but one of the most important has been the reality of terminations. A woman and indeed her partner/friends/family as well have to deal with the emotional turmoil, the angst, the grief, fear and the pain of whatever decision the woman makes – and let me just say it's not one ever made lightly. It is so important for stories like this to be told, as there are so many who have to face such scenarios, but rarely do we publicly speak about them. With few opportunities for people like Mara to speak about how these things can happen to people in even the most 'normal' lives, it makes the whole process even more difficult and alienates those who may have experienced similar things. Thanks Mara for having the bravery to share your store and for Sarah for giving her a forum to do so.

  3. Patzie

    As I work in reproductive health field (actually Planned Parenthood association but from different country), I would love to give loud applauds for Mara for being brave to talk about this. There are so many misconceptions and stigma&discrimination against people who have abortion. People only talking about how sinful etc. but never think about the emotional and even physical experience (in some cases like unsafe abortion) these ladies have to go through.

    Mara, I wish you the best of luck and thanks for your bravery!

  4. ashe mischief

    "I was using protection. I was on the pill. Something my doctors never told me until my appointment at Planned Parenthood was that if you use the same pill for a long time without a break or switching brands, there's a chance your body will adapt to the hormones and you will be able to get pregnant. That's what happened to me. After 5 years on the same pill, taking it the same time every day, it stopped working."

    I've been to PP, and several individual gynos, and not one has told me that– and that frankly pisses me the fuck off. They should notice when their patients have been on for a while, and make some kind of advisement.

    Mara, thank you so much for sharing this. I think it's so important for women not to be villianized for the choices they make. You're so strong, and your partner sounds like one hell of a guy!

  5. Mara

    This is why the Yes and Yes community is so important. Your kind words and support mean a lot, even almost two years later. If you have questions I'll do my best to field them. Thank you, Sarah, for helping me heal a little more.

  6. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing, Mara. I wish you the best.

  7. Laura

    Thank you for sharing your story so honestly.

  8. Ayesha

    Mara, thank you so much for sharing your story. I admire your courage & strength in this. I had no idea about needing to switch up the pill– I was on the same pill for 5 years and never heard that from a single gyno or doctor, so that is definitely useful info. Good luck with the healing process, all the best to you!

  9. Kristie Lynne

    I hate to sound like a parent here, but the only fool proof way of not getting pregnant is to not have sex. If you're not ready to have a baby, don't have sex.

    That being said, I completely respect Mara's courage to talk about this issue, I just wish human life was considered with a little more levity and respect.

  10. Kate

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing your story. I also had an abortion as have many women I know. I support women's right to choose regardless if it failed birth control or a "mistake" (we all make them). Glad you had a supportive partner. I'm sad to hear your appointment was at 9:15, but you weren't seen until 5:30! That doesn't sound like very sensitive or client focused health care.
    Best wishes.

  12. Ky

    Thank you Mara for your courage, this is an important message. Bless you and your family!

  13. Luinae

    This story is one of the reasons I am pro-choice. I am also incredibly impressed at your fiance/boyfriend. IMO, it is a woman's right to choose whether or not she wants to keep the child, and I really respect him for giving you that choice. You were so brave- thanks for your story.

  14. Elizabeth.

    Thanks for sharing, Mara. I'm glad your experience with abortion was (relatively) positive and that you're healing from it well.

    My experience with abortion was a very negative one. I found out I was pregnant (after weeks of denying it) ten days before I was due to leave on a so-called trip of a lifetime to Europe. Everyone I spoke to was against the idea of me having the baby – my friends, my parents, the sperm donor. With ten days until I was due to fly out, I really had no choice but to proceed – a decision I deeply regret, two years on.

    I wandered around Europe in a daze, wanting to chuck it all in and go home, but with the vague idea that if I did, the abortion would have all been for nothing. I spent three weeks in London not seeing the sights but curled up in bed sobbing. During this time I found a fantastic counselling service for women grieving for the loss of a child – an organisation in North London called Rephael House ( I sat in their office for an hour and cried. The counsellor there helped me to understand my feelings and gave me so much love and support in that short time. The services they offer are free, and I can't stress enough how much they helped me.

    When I got back to Australia I collapsed into a little heap for a while. I started taking anti-depressants and seeing a psychologist twice a week. I adopted a cat and later on moved to a city with no memories. Two years on, I'm still healing and I still have very dark moments but on the whole I've come out a much stronger person. I have the aforementioned cat and a loving partner – we're planning a family within the next few years.

    I'm not willing to accept yet that I made the right decision in having an abortion, but I am so happy with the way my life is right now. That's not to say that if I had an 18-month-old child now I wouldn't be happy, but I've learned to be happy with what I do have and accept that you can't change the past.

    Erm, that was a long post! I hope it wasn't too depressing.

  15. Anonymous

    thank you so much for sharing your story. I know I wonder what I would do if I got pregnant right now; I'm not sure I would have your strength to make the decision so quickly.

    I also had not heard that birth control can "wear off." I was on my last one for 6 years and was forced off when my insurance stopped covering it. I suppose that was a blessing in disguise.

  16. Jasmine

    Great story, I had one when I was 25, married, on birth control, and financially stable. I didn't want kids, and since the precautions I was taking let me down, I made the decision I had already known I would.

    Just a little FYI, I have to say that the moment you ARE pregnant, the crazy hormones really change everything about you, I didn't feel even remotely like the same person. It can make it difficult to ignore protesters or families opinions, since you are an emotional wreck, and you just have to stay strong to whatever you feel is right for you.

    The week after, when my hormones were getting back to normal, I read back over what I had journaled and said to myself, holy crap, I was NOT thinking clearly there! This might be helpful for anyone going through this situation to take into consideration 🙂

    I have not suffered any emotional trauma afterward, and continue to be thankful for a country and a time where an abortion is legal and able to be safely performed.

    Also, I did the pill option, it was very painful for about an hour but I was glad to experience it at home.

  17. Anonymous

    I live in the Bible Belt, and I really wish that more people here were willing to listen to stories like yours. The ideas that abortions are sinful and that only "bad girls" have them are alive and well here, as are protests at clinics. Stories like yours, and others of strong women who have made difficult choices (regardless of the option chosen, any decision regarding an unwanted pregnancy must be a difficult one) may be the only way to combat the notion that women shouldn't have the right to make their own decisions.

    Fyi, your husband sounds fantastic!

  18. Alyssa

    I just spent the last semester in a media studies class that focused solely on the topic of abortion, and if there was one thing I learned, it was that if we are ever going to be able to destimatize abortion, we need to be able to talk openly about it. I applaud your strength and courage to talk about an issue that impacts so many young women, and I wish you all the best.

  19. Anonymous

    I was really glad to read this post; it's an important story, and Mara, you're awesome for telling it.

    Which is why I'm all the more appalled at the picture choice: carelessly tossing away a baby (doll)? Really? It seems more than a little demeaning to women who, like Mara, approached the decision to have an abortion deliberately, thoughtfully, and seriously.

  20. LynnieBee

    Thank you for sharing this story, it was very brave of you. All types of women from all walks of life face unplanned pregnancies, and it is very important to work against the stigma associated with situations like this!

  21. Zia Madeira

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think yours is frequently a missing perspective. I admire your ability to decide on more than raw emotions, and I wish you the best for your future decisions in family planning. 🙂
    In a general response to folks that may disagree with the decision to abort:
    Everyone should do what is right for them at the time, because it really does justice to everyone that would be involved.
    It is bothersome to me that making a conscious and careful decision about childrearing appears to have a more negative stigma than haphazard breeding with a lack of parenting.
    (P.S. This is not to imply that Mara would fall into this category – I believe responsible folks who make actively make life choices wind up being the best parents – it is an amendment to arguments I've had with friends and family about the topic of abortion [and sterilization])

  22. RMb

    good for you for sharing this! i was in a similar situation (24, unmarried, barely employed) except we were a little more foolhardy. while i completely resepct a woman's right to choose & i would NEVER judge her for the descision she makes about her own body, i could never have an abortion myself (i was raised very conservatively & even though i dont share those beliefs, i can't shake some of the things i raise to believe). and to be honest, i am so happy with my decision to keep my baby (my daughter!) i can't imagine my life without her. i wish you & your family all the best. it sounds like you & your husband will be great parents.

  23. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for publishing this post on Yes and Yes. This feature is one I have come to really look forward to and this was probably the entry that I have related most to and I have found the comments really interesting. I had an abortion at 17, while I was in a stable four-year relationship and although I do not regret the decision, it was a time when all I was hearing around me was that I would become a statistic, that teenagers make bad mothers, that I would hate my life and hate my child. Not one person told me that they thought I should keep the child. The whole experience happened so quickly and I was told by people around me that they would not support me if I was to go through with the pregnancy, including my partner. My then best friend told many people at my school that I had an abortion and people looked at me in a different way. I was an A grade student and had only had one boyfriend and used protection from day one and the way I was treated really changed the way I thought about people. The procedure itself was not traumatic, the people who work at clinics are fantastic and my body returned to normal very quickly. I felt depressed for many months, but I never regretted the decision.
    I recently moved states and just found out that abortion is illegal in this state and I was so appalled. Their reasoning is, of course, that women will use it as a means of birth control.
    I think discourses on abortion are so important and I am very grateful for the discussion here.

  24. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your story, Mara. I applaud your bravery in the situation.

    I find the picture above the article to be rather inappropriate, though.

  25. Anonymous

    Thank you for talking about your experience of having a termination. I also am a "nice educated girl" who at 24 had a condom split the first time I slept with my boyfriend. Like a good knowledgeable girl I went and got the morning after pill the next morning, took it as described and had no side effects from that. However it didn't work so I realised early on that I was pregnant.
    This happened in the UK (abortion is free and legal on the NHS) so I went to be tested at the family planning clinic and I knew straight away that I was not ready to have a child. The first difficult part was waiting for a medical termination – this means there was a queue of slots available to take the pill to induce a termination. I had to wait until nearly 8 weeks which included going home to the family for Christmas and I didn't tell them even though my hormones were all over the place. This was my decision not because I don't get on with my family, just I knew that I was going to have a termination so I didnt' feel they needed that worry as well and I had support from my boyfriend and friends.
    I had the termination on New Years eve as there was a slot available at the hospital and the next one would be a couple more weeks which would be an agonising wait. The second difficult time was actually afterwards. I was fine mentally as I have always felt it was the right thing to do, however I continued bleeding for months afterwards and passed clots which was a constant reminder and meant I was in and out of the family planning clinic with multiple trainee doctors checking out my nether regions. The relationship didn't survive but I am still very close to the guy as a friend.
    I really worry about a condom splitting on me again as I dont trust the morning after pills, which means that when I'm in a relationship it has been on the pill and using condoms… for now I am really busy at work therefore for the short term I am glad not to be in a relationship. I am careful who I tell as people have strong opinions about terminations… but there are far more people out there then you think who have gone through one, and they are by no means all teenagers…

  26. Michelle

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. This is something SO many people need to hear and these are stories that really need to be shared if we are ever going to make progress.

    Like many other people above, I also didn't realize the pill could wear off after awhile. I'm a bit shocked no doctor ever told me this – but it's good to know, so thank you!

  27. Jodi

    I know this is a tender topic for a lot of people. I appreciate it being openly discussed. This topic stirs strong feelings in me. I know a lot of people have mentioned it being a woman's right to choose but what if it was your life at stake, wouldn't you like to have a choice? Or what about the effects of abortion and the women who can't have children when they want them because they chose not to have them when they could? How is it that a life that is not yet seen is any less a life?

    I hope no one sees this as judgmental. That is not my intent. I just believe we need to think through our decisions beyond what and when is convenient for us.

  28. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Mara, it means a lot to hear it from someone who is willing to be honest and open about how they felt and what it was like for them. Clearly, no one is going feel the same way but I really applaud the way that your story and stories like yours are being told and are being told in a personal and thoughtful manner. Thank you Yes and Yes for these features, they make my heart warm and hurt but most of all, make me thankful for the community that is available here.

  29. Elissa

    I had a "medical"abortion, whereby taking two pills induced the foetus to abort.
    It was a stressful time and took several days to recover but it wasnt invasive and I was at home with family.
    Thank you for sharimg your story…i was 22, in a long term relationship, using the pill AND comdoms. Umwanted pregnancies can happen to anyone

  30. Lovers, Saints & Sailors

    Thank you for sharing your story. It's so important to hear honest, real life accounts of these situations.

  31. ana b.

    An account like this is so good to read; honest, serious, and not preachy. Thank you for this. I've always felt very sad that a topic and an experience as important as this is always so hard to find. You were so lucky to have a partner who supported you one hundred percent during this time. Not every woman who goes through this is so lucky.

  32. Nikki Elisabeth

    Jodi – women do consider those things when making a choice. And just so you know, it's far more dangerous for your fertility to continue a pregnancy, rather than abortion.

    Mara – thanks for your story. I've had two unplanned pregnancies. The first I was able to deal with as an accident (contraceptive failure) but the second time I felt so stupid. My midwife had told me that I was clearly fertile (after my first preg) and to get on some more effective contraception. Advice just a little too late! Proof that it can happen to any woman. Glad you were supported in your choice – it's really sad to see people who feel forced either way. Kia kaha to all of them. Xo

  33. Alicia

    Thank you for this post.

  34. Sara

    I have to admit to being biased on this issue. Having struggled with infertility for years, it's very difficult for me to hear a story of someone who had such an amazing opportunity and gave it up. I understand that it is difficult to have a child when you aren't ready and I can't say what I might have done in Mara's situation because I've never been in her situation.

    I suppose I find it easier to understand a choice to abort in a situation where the woman really lacks the support and resources to have a child (I may not agree with the decision, but I understand it), but that doesn't sound to me like it was Mara's situation. She may have just lost her job, but she had a very supportive fiance and it sounds like she otherwise had her life in order. (I don't know for sure, obviously, not having been there and all).

    I'm not trying to judge. I'm trying to understand. From where I stand in life, it's simply very hard for me comprehend how someone could give up something that I want so badly. It's like throwing away a million dollars (though, granted, a child is more likely to cost you a million dollars…)

    As another point: I don't know the effects of abortion on fertility and certainly wouldn't make any statements on the matter. However, in regards to Mara's choice to wait until she's in her 30's to have children, it is important to know that starting around age 35 (that's an average based on the statistics, mind you, not a definitive number), fertility starts to sharply decline and your chances of birth defects go way up. This is all based in statistics, which is always up to interpretation, but it's definitely something to consider when making that choice.

  35. Maureen

    I commented last night but my comment didn't go through (it was too long), so I'll just make it much more brief here.
    Thank you for sharing your story Mara, and thanks for posting it Sarah.
    I am pro life. That doesn't mean that I can't relate to, understand, or see the reasoning behind abortion, because I do. I worked for quite a while at a pregnancy clinic where I administered tests to nervous women about to find out news that would forever alter their lives. Some of them were really in no position to raise a child, and some of them really, absolutely were.
    I am pro-life for two reasons: because I believe that every child is a gift, and because I believe that women deserve better than abortion.
    Let me just state here that I'm NOT here to judge Mara for her decision. I can't condemn someone else for a decision that they made, that I've never had to face.
    I just think that the women readers of this blog are always such a great strong community of women and I think there's an argument missing here in the comment section that stands up for that. At the pregnancy clinic, we used to tell scared women, "What is it you want to do with your life? You can still do it. Women have done amazing things and still been mothers." I used this same line with my married, financially well-off friend who found out she was pregnant unexpectedly.
    So I just want to say that if any women are reading this and considering abortion, there are resources for you. You CAN raise your child and be an amazing mother. And for women who have had abortions, you might benefit from a support group, especially when the time comes for you to start a family. Mara and all the other commenters, I wish you much healing and happiness in your life.
    If anyone is interested in the idea that women deserve better, it is well articulated here:
    Thanks for allowing me to post, I hope I have not offended anyone.

  36. Anonymous

    I had an abortion between my first and second children. I was married (still am) and just felt I couldn't cope with another c-section.
    Looking back, I realize that I had a bad post partum depression (for 2 years), and it got worse with each delivery (I have 3 living kids).
    I regret the abortion – I cannot imagine EVER telling my kids I had one.
    I wish that ob-gyn practices had better mental health knowledge. If I had had someone to work with, or if VBAC had been a more accepted option, things wouldn't have gone the way they did. My second birth was also a section. It was devastating, but an emergency, which helped me to accept it. My third was scheduled, rough recovery all the way around.
    Fortunately my husband had a vasectomy while I was pregnant with my last.

  37. caribbean princess

    Thank you for sharing your story. It must have taken a lot of courage on your part to be so honest and open. I am pleased that there has been such useful discussion and although opinions have differed, everyone has been so respectful (restores my faith in this world).

    As a dr I am unfamiliar with the concept that taking the same pill for 5 years causes your body to become accustomed to the hormones. I will check with senior consultants as I am not sure this is true. This is probably why other people have not heard that before. However I do know that even if you take the pill as you are supposed to, without missing a day and correct to the minute or hour, there is still a 1% chance that you could get pregnant. It is not 100% effective.

  38. Michelle

    I was 19 and in a relationship I was considering ending. I knew I wasn't responsible enough to care for a child.

    My mom and boyfriend came with me. I didn't have a long emotional reaction. I think I was just happy to have my life back to normal.

    I'm now married and have a fantastic daughter and am pregnant again with our second child. The life I have now would not have been possible if I had become an unwed teenaged mother. And I was not capable then of the care, patience and thoughtfulness I put into my parenting.

    Sara: Regarding infertility. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I received an email from a cousin saying, "I wish I could be happy for you, but we've been trying for 5 years and I just can't."

    Infertility is so wounding in so many ways. You can easily become consumed in the emotional drain and feel less like a woman. You feel like everyone in the world is capable of this but you who want and deserve it so much have to work so hard. My mom tried for 7 years before having my brother.

    I wish I coud tell you that it will all work out. I wish everyone who wanted a baby could have one and everyone who doesn't, wouldn't.

    I wish you good luck.

  39. The Naked Redhead

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this story. I'm literally in tears right now, thinking of your courage to make the choice you did, and to now tell us about it.

    I think your story is so important, because it continues to help break down walls of prejudice as to who the "typical" woman is who gets an abortion. I also think it continues to solidify for me that, regardless of your religion or convictions or whatever, women still deserve the right to CHOOSE.

    Thank you.

  40. Laura

    I have been profoundly pro choice since the age of 12 and after reading this story, this is the first time that I have actually questioned my pro choice stance on abortion.

    I was moved to tears after reading because I found myself unable to empathize with Mara's story.

    I always said that the only thing that I would ever march for was the right for women to do what they want with their bodies but now I am not as confident in that believe.

    I need to process this.

  41. Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing, Mara! If I were in your shoes, I definitely would have done the same thing.

  42. amanda

    Thank you for sharing and publishing this story! Abortion is, without a doubt, a hot-button topic and people often lose sight of the fact that — politics and religion aside — human beings are involved.

    That said, the accompanying photo is in poor taste, IMHO.

  43. Anonymous

    Laura: I am also completely unable to empathize with Mara. For me the story was as cold as she was describing a root canal. But it was a story about an unborn baby. It chilled me in a way.

    Also like Sara pointed out – she is not a typical woman who had abortion – typical woman doesn't do it out of inconvenience but because she lacks support. And usually doesn't cope well with aftermath.

    I never did it but I was in similar circumstances and though I was not religious and considered myself a feminist I decided to keep the baby (my beloved, smart as hell son :)). I managed to do my master degree anyway. The moment I knew I was pregnant I felt overwhelming curiosity about life developing inside my body and idea to "terminate" it was as ludicrous as stamping on beautiful flowers to destroy them.

    Personally I hope that we never become completely desensitized with idea of abortion because no matter what you want to believe it's something different than root canal and in my opinion there is even less courage in doing it.

  44. screwdestiny

    I got pregnant while on the pill as well. I was 19 at the time and was very, very angry and did not know what I was going to do. I honestly just hoped that I would miscarry so that I would not have to deal with it, but God obviously did not want that to happen, and the baby stayed. Even though I was terribly upset, even though my body hurt all the time and it made me rather estranged from my parents for a while, I still couldn't get an abortion. It was a human life and it was not the fault of the baby that it was being born to a mother who did not want it. So I had the baby, and gave the father full custody because he really wanted a child. She is a beautiful girl who means the world to him. And if I hadn't been with a man who had wanted her, I would have given her up for adoption. I appreciate the honesty in this story, but I'm just wondering when life stopped meaning so little to us?

  45. Kelly

    Thank you for sharing your story. For all the yelling everyone does about what they hypothetically think women should do, there's few women willing to actually discuss going through this experience themselves and I appreciate being able to "get into the head" of someone who has. I honestly don't know what I would do in this situation myself, but I am pro-choice.

    Also – I had no idea about that birth control/5 years thing. YIKES!

  46. Anonymous

    I respect the author for sharing her story and I am sure it was a very hard thing to go through. I respect that every woman has a right to choose. Being a graduate myself I understand having an unplanned pregnancy can throw a wrench in your plans (especially if you are finishing a degree). What I don't really understand is why a woman with access to health care, a support system (fiance–future husband, etc) and a job would choose to end a child's life? You seem like someone who is responsible and mature enough to make important decisions and also to have a child. Even if you are not "ready" for it, i believe people should accept the miracle of life and not take away a life that could grow up to be a wonderful person.
    I don't mean to offend anyone with my opinion but I guess I am very passionate about the subject because my boyfriend was an unplanned pregnancy and his mother was in a much worse financial and social situation but she gave him a life that he is so grateful to be living.

  47. Anonymous

    Mara, thanks for sharing your story. I have an almost identical story (24 years old, on the Pill, in a long term monogamous relationship) when I had an abortion. It is now four years later and while I sometimes wonder "what if?" I never regret my decision. I know it was the right one to make. I hope you feel – and continue to feel – the same way.

    All my love!

  48. Morgan

    "I was using protection. I was on the pill. Something my doctors never told me until my appointment at Planned Parenthood was that if you use the same pill for a long time without a break or switching brands, there's a chance your body will adapt to the hormones and you will be able to get pregnant. That's what happened to me. After 5 years on the same pill, taking it the same time every day, it stopped working."

    Mara and several commenters seem to have shared this experience, which is really quite unnerving. Does anyone know of any medical literature written on this?

  49. Anonymous

    Hey "Ben Franklin", stop judging. It makes you sound like an a-hole.

    You've never walked in Mara's shoes. You read a short essay and you think you know someone. Get off your high horse and stop speaking for everyone else; I don't see her as a monster.

    I too had an unplanned pregnancy while taking birth control in a long-term relationship. (I was on the patch, not the pill.) I did not have an abortion but did give the baby up for adoption. (I was too far along in my pregnancy to have an abortion.)

    It was incredibly difficult; I think adoption is more stigmatized than abortion. The experience taught me that you never know what you'll do until you're in a given situation and everybody deserves respect when they have to make hard choices, even if you disagree with them.

  50. Ben Franklin

    Everybody deserves respect? No, this notion that everyone deserves respect, even if they decide they want to end a life doesn't cut it. I understand progressives don't understand that basic notion, but it's true- not all decisions are valid or legitimate.

    I don't respect people for refusing to be responsible for their actions and choosing to snuff out a life in the process. That's not adult, it's not responsible, it's not courageous.

    And I do love how the blog writer deleted my comment.


  51. Sarah Von Bargen

    Ben Franklin,

    You will note at before the interview I wrote "Please keep all comments respectful. While I usually maintain an no-delete comment policy here on Yes and Yes, any hurtful or inflammatory comments will be deleted. Intelligent, respectful disagreement is, of course, welcome."

    Your comments do not fall under this heading. Yes and Yes is a positive place and I will not have my readers bullied. Your comments are not welcome here.

  52. Adrienne

    I just wanted to stop by and THANK YOU for sharing your story. I have much of the same beliefs as you. You're my new hero! 🙂 Congrats on your good decision, that was for you, and you only. 🙂

    If I were to be in your situation that you shared with us, even though I am now married… We would probably have an abortion too. We just don't want children yet. I am only 22 and we really want to learn more about ourselves as a couple and build that up before we even think about children.

    I respect your decision and hope the best for you in the future!

    And wow. A short comment on Ben Franklin's last comment. I just feel sorry for him. I am sad that he cannot see that not everyone believes the same things, and not everything is good for everyone. You know? Some people just don't want kids.

    There are plenty of kids to go around… If someone honestly does not want a kid, why have it?

  53. Anonymous

    I can't believe I haven't come across this blog earlier. This series is just brilliant. Thank you so much for covering these topics…thank you so much. So many excellent points were made by Mara. I just read the Hinduism post prior and am about to read the Transgendered post.

    Please keep doing what you're doing 🙂

  54. Anonymous

    Guess what, y'all? The most super amazing thing about Roe V. Wade? You don't get to decide for Mara. I WISH Roe V. Wade said you couldn't be judgemental jerks, either, but you're allowed your opinions.

    That said, Mara, thank you, thank you for sharing your story. None of us can understand exactly how you felt, not even the people who have been in your shoes. It would have been incredibly scary to share your story knowing there would be…opinions. 🙂

    I get so frustrated with pro-lifers who think those of us who are pro-choice are pro-ABORTION. Dudes, there is NO SUCH THING as pro-abortion. No one is running around advocating the termination of pregnancies all willy-nilly. Pro-choice is just that: a right to CHOOSE. And if you think that choice isn't the most difficult one a woman can make, you're dead ass wrong.

    As a kid, I was always pro-life. Crazily so. I was the kid who was like "zomg, you KILLED a BABY!" and my mom was always very pro-choice. She asked me once, "do you know WHY I'm pro-choice?" and of course, because i was a kid and wrapped up in my own shit, I said "uh, no, not really." and my mom (the most amazing woman on earth) said "I had an abortion before I met your dad."

    Her reasons are hers and I will not share them here. However, I will tell you this: if she had not terminated her pregnancy, my life would be nothing like it is. I would not have been afforded HALF the opportunities I've had in my life. Perhaps she never would have met my dad. Or perhaps she would, and he wouldn't have been able to handle the fact that she had a kid, and then I wouldn't even be here. All of our lives may have been drastically different.

    My main point is this: none of us can say what we would or wouldn't do in any given situation until we are IN IT.

    Mara, you are an amazing and brave woman. You're in my thoughts.

  55. Mel

    Thanks for the thoughtful article and discussion. It's good to step away from the rhetoric and walk in someone else's shoes for a bit. I'm strongly pro-life, but sometimes I wonder how much I'd want an abortion if I were the one pregnant at a bad time. I really can't be angry with women who make that choice, even if I still think it's wrong.

  56. Sara

    Just a comment on Adrienne's comment that "there are enough children to go around."

    Try telling that to anyone who has been trying to adopt.

    I do NOT believe that abortion should be illegal. I think it's important for people to have the option for some circumstances.

    However, I DO believe that adoption is a viable option for MANY women who choose to abort. It's difficult, (no question about that) possibly the hardest thing for a person to do, but it does solve many (not all) of the problems for which people choose abortion.

    I would like to thank Yes and Yes for following up with the adoption interview that was recently posted.

    Abortion should be an available option, but it should be a last resort when no other options are available. That is, at least, my opinion.

  57. Anonymous

    I can't stop thinking about this post. I know quite a few women who have had abortions in the past. I'm completely pro choice in every way, but I think an abortion is so much deeper then many pro choice people want to believe. The women I have known/know who have had abortions seem to carry a profound sadness that has affected their lives to the core. I'm older then many who read this blog at 44, so I have seen who deeply an abortion has on some women over the course of their lives. Women who in the early 20's who had an abortion 20 years later are still in a deep mourning over their decision to terminate their kids life.

  58. Valeria

    Wow! I've been on the same pill for 7 years. I had no idea that your body could adapt and it not be as effective anymore. This is scary!

  59. Anonymous

    I just recently found Yes and Yes via Adulting, and I have become a regular reader. I love it. But I've come across this entry several times while exploring the site, and I just can't understand the choice of photo. It is just so disrespectful. The woman looks depressed, overwhelmed to the point of apathy, and is carelessly tossing a baby in the air! It seems I'm not the only reader to notice. I have to say I think it's offensive and I wish it would be changed.

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