Olivia | East Tennessee

There was never a moment that I questioned if having an abortion was the right choice for me- but that doesn’t mean it was easy.

As a sophomore in college, I had been seeing a new boyfriend of mine for 3 or 4 months. We were sexually active, and did not usually use protection. One day he came over and told me he thought we should break up- I was bummed, but agreed we should both be moving on.

About a week went by before I noticed my period was late. I remember going to the pharmacy down the street to buy a pregnancy test and having two waves of emotions: 1. embarrassment, trying to hide what I was buying and 2. a surge of feminism telling me I was a grown woman, and that this was perfectly normal. I bought the test, brought it home, and took it. It read positive but I wasn’t convinced.

I waited a few more days for my period to arrive before I really started getting worried. I called my recent ex-boyfriend and told him that my period was late, and he came over. I took the test in the bathroom while he waited outside, and left it sitting on the sink. I was so scared to look at the result and made him do it. It read positive.

I called Planned Parenthood and set up an appointment. My ex took me to the appointment, and I remember there being protesters with pro-life signs in the front. I did not feel guilty- they almost reinforced my decision. The workers were SO kind, and I really felt a sense of protection. They asked me many questions about if I was making the right decision for myself, and I said yes.

I came back a few weeks later for my abortion appointment. I’ll never forget it was snowing that day. My local Planned Parenthood only provided abortion services via pill, so I took one pill and went home to take the other. As the nurses had warned me, I experienced some heavy bleeding and cramping. Mostly, I felt very alone. It felt like a deeply personal experience- and I made the mistake of not confiding in any of my friends about it for a very long time. Not because I was embarrassed or felt I had made the wrong decision- just because it felt like something that was mine. Looking back, I wish I had reached out to a girl friend for support- my ex-boyfriend was very helpful, but it just felt like I needed to let the feeling sit inside me, alone, for a while.

Now, 5 years later, I have finished college, I am living in New York City and I am thriving. I cannot imagine my life if I had chosen to keep a child that I didn’t want and couldn’t support. It was the best thing I have ever done for myself and I have no regrets. It is deeply ingrained in us as women that we don’t have the right to our own body or decisions. Do what fits into your life and your plan.

I feel so lucky there was a Planned Parenthood near me in my southern town and that even provided abortion services at all. The Tennessee Stories Project is a wonderful effort to get people to start talking about it! So many women you know have probably had an abortion- it’s nothing to be ashamed of. When I eventually told my older sister a year after mine, she told me she had had an abortion too and was so happy that she did. In the current political climate, it is so important to make our voices heard. So let’s talk about it!

The Tennessee Stories Project is sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. If you have a story to tell, see our Contact Us page.