I Had an Abortion at 15 (and I Don’t Regret It)
I took a pregnancy test in the nurse's room at school. I had just turned 15; I’d never had a boyfriend and this was the first time I’d had sex. I told myself over and over that “I just can’t be pregnant, I’ve only had sex once.” Until the two lines appeared and the school nurse looked at me with a concerned look on her face and said, “It is positive."
Rewind to earlier. I’d prepared to meet up with a guy and lose my virginity. We never talked about a condom and it didn’t cross my mind that I needed birth control. I wasn’t a shy 15-year-old and I definitely laughed my way through sex education classes. After we finished having sex, I walked to school with the most noticeable “I just had sex” face.
A few weeks later, I remember sitting in my room with so many symptoms and a missed period as I frantically Googled. I couldn't tell you how many times I searched within the span of six weeks, but it must’ve been hundreds. Looking back now, I was trying to convince myself that I could not be pregnant. Of course, all those search results basically just repeated that I should take a pregnancy test.
I told the guy that I slept with before I told my mother. He said he'd come to my house and tell her himself, in the early hours of the morning—if I didn’t have an abortion. Naturally, I panicked. I didn't want my mom to hear it from anyone other than me, so I told her myself. It was through a text and her reply was “Is this a prank?” I wish it was, I said. Her anger and confusion slowly turned into concern. She wanted to guide me through the process, and I needed her.
I scheduled the abortion myself. I was not in a position to raise a child; I was still trying to find my identity, I struggled with depression, and I was trying to get through school. While waiting for the operation, I struggled with morning sickness but I still went to school. Kids found out about it, and I was called a whore...despite the fact that I had sex only once. I cried myself to sleep each night and I cried as I threw up every morning.
I took the abortion pill. Over the span of two days, I had fairly heavy cramping and bleeding—but then, it was over. I remember feeling so much relief in the fact that I did not have to give birth to a child, which would have ultimately caused me so much turmoil and pain.
Beyond a handful of girls at school, nobody spoke a word about my abortion, including myself. Looking back, I knew I needed therapy because I felt so much shame and guilt, despite the fact that I knew it was the right decision. This manifested into bad coping mechanisms. I was hurting and I needed help. Instead of getting help, I turned to drinking and sex.
I’m now 20 and I've come to terms with things. I no longer feel guilt or shame. More so, I feel proud of myself and other women who have been through similar situations. We are resilient. We make mistakes and we get back up again.
What would I say to 15-year-olds in this position? There is so much help for you, from Planned Parenthood to your school’s services. There is support everywhere. As I learned from my own experience, pay attention in sex education classes and don't feel ashamed—about anything.
By Cat, 20