fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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My Story

I picked my husband up after work. “Happy birthday!” I said and gave him a quick kiss. “Can we take a short walk? I have something for you.

We walked a few blocks to the arboretum and found a quiet bench to sit on. I handed him a birthday card and watched his face as he read the last words on the page: “I’m pregnant.”

I waited for a reaction–any change of expression–but he just stared at me. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I burst into tears.

I’m not ready,” I said. “I need to have an abortion.”

This was my first pregnancy—and for me, this was the first time it really hit home that pregnancy is not just black or white: planned or unplanned, wanted or unwanted. People’s thoughts and feelings about pregnancy can be many, many shades of grey.

Some time earlier, thinking that we were ready for a baby, my husband and I had decided to stop using birth control. Several months passed, and nothing happened. We entered into a time of transition and grew busy with the changes in our lives and with  ambitious career plans—trying to decide on our next steps and contemplating a move across country. It wasn’t until I saw the double lines on the pregnancy test that I realized we’d made a mistake.

I thought that when I did get pregnant, it would create this wonderful feeling of anticipation and excitement—the way you feel when something you’ve been working so hard to achieve has finally happened. But for me, it didn’t. Not only did I feel physically ill, with nausea, vomiting and fatigue, I was also grappling psychologically with guilt and uncertainty. After seeing the test results, I  knew  that I didn’t want to be pregnant. I felt uncertain of what my husband’s reaction would be, and guilty that I’d made up my mind before even telling him the news.

So the fact is that we did plan; we just didn’t know what to expect on the other end. Fortunately, my husband was supportive of my choice. Looking back, having the abortion allowed us to do things in our lives and careers that we would not have accomplished had we continued the pregnancy.

To some readers, my story may sound selfish. I was not a pregnant teen, a low-income single mother or a victim of rape or domestic violence, nor was I carrying a pregnancy with fetal abnormalities. But these are not the only circumstances in which women may choose to have abortions. For me, I just knew I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. And thankfully, in our country, I’m in control of my body, my choices and my health. So I made the decision that was right for me and my family at that time.

Although I do think about my abortion from time to time, I have no feelings of regret, but rather relief and gratitude to my husband, family and doctor for their support. I am now the mother of a toddler and am filled with joy and love when I see my baby boy. I think of what our futures will ​bring, and I am glad that I waited until I was truly ready–ready to be excited about parenthood, and ready to be the best mother I could be.

Ying Zhang
Seattle, Washington

Comments

7 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. I’m 71. I’ve had an abortion. A miscarriage, a probable miscarriage, and two full grown sons, age 33 and 37. When I think about my children, I think of the boys. I have no regrets. I have tremendous gratitude for the ability to make my own choices in a world where the medical and legal systems could support my needs and decisions. I fear for younger women who may not be as lucky.

    1. These days, when people debate abortion, some suggest that it should be banned unless the pregnancy threatens “the health of the mother.”
      What this story reminds us is that “health” includes
      both mind and body. They cannot be separated.

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