In 1970, at the age of 21, the most traumatic event of my life was learning that I was pregnant. I was living alone in Nashville to be close to a boyfriend whom I seldom saw.
My younger sister had recently married that summer, and I had always thought I’d be the one to get married first. I was still a virgin, but, assuming I’d become sexually active, I started taking the pill; however, I didn’t stay on it for long since I was not having sex so there seemed no point in doing so. Unfortunately, in the fall, I encountered a young man who came back to my apartment with me and spent the night. We fooled around, I told him not to let anything happen, and, next thing I knew, I was pregnant. I never saw him again but still remember his name. By Thanksgiving, I had missed my period, was spotting, and very worried. I had traveled up to my sister’s in Georgetown and shared my fear with her. There was no way I could tell my parents since my dad was a Baptist minister. One month after having had sex, I had a pregnancy test which came back positive. Although when I was in New York earlier that year, a friend had asked me what I thought about abortion and I had said that I thought it was murder, I now felt that I had something like a tumor growing inside of me that I had to get out. Fortunately, abortion had just been legalized in New York so I made arrangements to go there. I was working as a secretary at the time and had something like a $3-400 limit on a credit card. I don’t remember how much I needed, but I borrowed the rest of the money from a Baptist minister I’d met in New York. My sister and her husband drove down to Nashville and took me to the airport. I think the minister met me and took me to the hospital, but I can’t remember for sure. The hospital corridor was lined with women of all ages down both sides of the hall. I think we had to pay up front. After a urine sample to confirm pregnancy, I was anesthetized and given a D&C. When I woke up, I was crying and told the nurse that I’d told the boy not to let anything happen, and he said that he wouldn’t. She said “they’re all like that”. I think I spent the night in the hospital, got a ride to the airport, and was picked up and taken back to my apartment by my sister. To this day, I know that I made the right choice for me. However, the worst was yet to come. I had decided to move back to Kentucky and go back to Georgetown College. My parents helped me to move my things up to their house in Somerset where I stayed over the holidays. Since I had to pay off my credit card and pay back the minister, I felt that I had no choice but to tell my parents about the abortion. I did so after dinner on Christmas Eve. They both totally freaked out. (My dad did loan me the money to pay off my debts.) All I remember now is that during that time at home, there was a lot of crying and praying. It was horrible. I wished that I’d never told them. Over the years, we never talked about it, but my sister told me that the only way they could deal with it was to think that I would have lost my mind if I’d gone through with the pregnancy. (My mother was bipolar.) When I went back to college, I did become involved with someone with whom I spent the next 10 years of my life and went on the pill before we ever had sex. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. In fact, I feared pregnancy so much that I had myself sterilized when I was 26. Fortunately, I’ve never felt that I wanted children but would probably have done so with my 2nd husband (now deceased).