Recently Reddit user u/Apprehensive_Goat_32 asked the women of the Reddit community: "Women who've had an abortion: Do you regret it? [And if so], why or why not?"
These women shared their deeply personal abortion stories and revealed the various emotions they went through before, during, and after the procedure. They're very eye-opening, and it's important to recognize multiple sides of the experience. So, here's what they had to say:
Note: Everyone's experience with abortion is different, and there isn't "one standard" situation. The spectrum is wide, and these stories aren't universal to everyone's experience.
Warning: This post contains subjects of domestic abuse, sensitive clinical experiences, and graphic abortion imagery. Please proceed with caution.
1. "I made a choice that was my right to make with a great deal of consideration and no hesitation, and I do not regret it for even a millisecond. I didn't plan to get pregnant — I didn't want a child, and there's no reason needed more than that. If by some miracle I was in this situation again, I would 1,000% without a doubt choose to [have an abortion] again. Because, to reiterate: I don't want human beings created who aren't truly wanted — every human deserves to be wanted."
2. "The peace came as soon as I was able to leave and feel safe not looking over my shoulder. I shouldn't have to go through something that was forced on me, and I'll never tell another person they have to either. I have a child now who I love more than anything with an incredible person, and later on, when we're ready for a second child, we'll be looking into fostering or adoption. I have never once doubted my choice to have an abortion — it saved my life."
3. "I have had two abortions — I am deeply sad that I had to have two, but the circumstances around both were so incredibly confusing and complex that in those moments they were right for me. I do not regret them at all, but they do make me sad to think back on."
4. "[My abortion] was not by choice — I was gutted that I didn't have a viable second pregnancy. I had every intention to give my son a sibling — I cried going in, and my family was terrible during that crisis of a week (and my husband was horrible and useless). At one point a few days after the hospital, we got into a yelling fight over me not cooking dinner when he got home (he's my ex-husband now). I cried in recovery at the hospital and was given more meds to just stop, and I still have those truly dreadful comments, remarks, and statements burned in my brain. I felt so thrown off by this — I went to a completely different OBGYN for my third pregnancy that ended up being perfectly healthy."
5. "The first time I had sex with this guy I got pregnant. I found out he was an alcoholic when I found out I was pregnant, and there was no way I was having a kid with him. When I broke up with him, he constantly tried to pressure me to get an abortion (even though I told him I was already having one and had it scheduled)."
6. "I had two abortions that happened over 10 years ago when I was 24 years old (with someone who was a nightmare). Had I stayed with him I would have been isolated from my family and friends, and at the mercy of his horrible family. I'll be 38 years old soon, and now have two beautiful daughters. Sometimes I wonder what my other children would have been like, and it makes me a bit sad — but we wouldn’t have had a good life."
7. "I recently had an abortion — it was an incomplete abortion, and I was not prepared for the expelled fetus. It was quite disorienting. I don't regret getting the abortion because I know it was the right choice — but, I was truly unprepared for this. I have been bleeding for a while now, and I am so over it."
8. "I deeply regret having an abortion — my 'friends with benefits' got me pregnant after my birth control failed. I felt so sick and fatigued and awful during the pregnancy. I couldn't have kept the kid because I lived at home, and was stuck in an abusive household where it would be unsafe for me to have a child. My 'friends with benefits' wouldn't have been a good parent or take care of the baby himself. I reluctantly made the decision to have an abortion, and the mental toll has been overwhelming. A year later, and the regret still plagues me."
9. "I have zero regrets, other than that it had to happen. I wish that in the '80s it was easier to access birth control for minors without consent, and that my mother was more understanding that I was having sex (despite her lack of willingness to discuss it at all). Shout out to Mrs. Christensen, the most amazing school nurse in the history of school nurses."
10. "Nobody prepares you for what you feel after having an abortion, and they expect you to be okay because 'you made that choice yourself.' I may be happy not to be attached to that person anymore, but sometimes, someone else is making the choice for you and you’re the one left to suffer. Everyone isn't equipped to cope with that kind of loss."
11. "I don’t regret it because I wasn’t in the position to care for a baby, or be able to support myself at the time. I have four kids 15 years later, but the abortion showed me that getting one is scary when you have to go to an illegal clinic. Many girls and I were in an abortion assembly line — they had old equipment they cleaned me up with, like a mop bucket. It was completely unsanitary, and it was dangerous that they gave me medication to make me 'loopy' (a woman also gave me a rag to bite onto during the procedure)."
12. "I've had three abortions, and I don't regret the first two at all. The third one I'm sad about because I was ready and my partner wasn't, but to me it felt like the right thing to do because I wanted to honor his choice as well. So, in that sense, I don't regret it, but I have complicated feelings about the third abortion."
13. "It wasn't an easy choice to make, but I don't regret it. The procedure itself was incredibly traumatic for me, and if I hadn't had my partner with me for support, I don't think I would've been able to cope with the aftermath. The emotions and hormones were very raw and painful for months afterward. However, once I got some distance from it, I realized that a lot of my emotions were related to the pain of the procedure and the treatment I received from the medical professionals, rather than deciding to get an abortion."
"I do love children and want to have one someday, but it wasn't the right time for me or my partner, and it would have been bad for our relationship. Ultimately I learned that the right choice doesn't always have to feel good, but it definitely was right — when I am ready for children, it will be in a more stable circumstance."
14. "I was forced to have an abortion by the baby daddy who was my significant other for 4 years. Then when I asked him to make a choice between me and living with his mom (I’m 29F, he’s 30M), he chose living with his mom. So, I regret doing something I didn’t want to do. Looking back now, I’m glad it happened — I went to nursing school afterwards, got my mental health in a much better place, got a new job, and broke up with the baby daddy."
15. "I had one back when I was 17 years old — for years I regretted it and felt a deep guilt (especially because I grew up in a conservative, highly religious farming town). Looking back at 27 years old, I don’t regret it at all. There are so many opportunities I would’ve missed out on if I did follow through with the pregnancy."
16. And: "It definitely wasn't the time in my life for me to bring a child into the world (I did however toss and turn for 11 weeks over the decision). It was an incredibly hard one to make, and I spent the next two years in a pretty bad depression over it. Either decision you choose to make at the end of the day you won't regret. I made the right choice, but live with the sadness of it every single day."
Note: Some stories have been edited for length and/or clarity.