Our friend talks about an unexpected pregnancy from the second guy she’s ever had sex with and the ensuing abortion experience.
Straight / Female / 24–27 / North America / Single
I grew up in a very loving, very Catholic household. In every other aspect of my life, my parents raised me to be an empowered young woman — yet when it came to sex and relationships, I was taught the complete opposite.
I think both of my parents’ views on female sexuality were outdated. My dad was my mom’s one and only romantic partner. My dad likely slept with many women but fell in love with my mom because of how ‘pure’ she was, and has stayed with her ever since.
I grew up believing that all men wanted from women was sex. Once a woman gave up her body, her appeal would infinitely decrease as a potential partner. My mother told me this many times and my dad implied it in how he raised my brothers and I. Sexism to the max.
Following the beliefs my parents bestowed upon me resulted in me being a very late bloomer; the last one out of my friends to have her first kiss, drink and sexual encounter. You name it and I was dead last.
Sure, the opportunities to kiss, drink and have sex were all present, but I would turn them all down in an instant. I’ve always had great willpower and self-control. Back then, I felt my self worth was measured by how long I could hold out on trying things I was taught were ‘bad’, especially compared to when the rest of the girls were trying them. I thought that abstaining from certain activities made me a better person. I also wasn’t dying to partake in some of the stuff kids my age were interested in, but whenever that little side of me that was curious to experiment showed up, I was quick to shut it down. Sex was special for me and I didn’t want to lose my virginity until the right person came along.
When adolescence hit, the only thing people ever saw in me was my physicality and the way I carried myself. People often said things like “good thing you have a pretty face”. Boys would often describe me as a unicorn because of my prude-ish behaviour. And I loved the attention and positive reinforcement I was getting as a result. I emphasized my control over these characteristics, so I had an extreme fixation with being attractive and a goody-two-shoes.
As a teenager I was always the one man type of girl. Never overly boy crazed. I had a couple of lengthy relationships, losing my virginity in the second one.
After several years of dating these two men, I suddenly found myself single and not interested in anyone for the first time in my adult life. I was 21 at the time.
On my first New Year’s Eve since becoming single, I reconnected with my first high school crush. He was the one I shared my first kiss with and he has become a great friend over the years. We had never slept together, the only sex I had up to this point was with my second boyfriend.
This was also the first time I had not spent New Year’s Eve with my family. My friend and I made plans to be with our mutual friends celebrating at a bar. We both drank a little too much and ended up heading home together at the end of the night. The next morning neither of us had much recollection of what had happened. Innocently we both believed that it hadn’t gone further than a little foreplay. I honestly believed that to be the case. I should also mention that he’s an exceptionally awesome guy and I don’t think he would ever try to take advantage of me. So to me, it seemed as if we were simply both drunk and had enjoyed each other for the evening.
Looking back now, I can easily see that my body started telling me I was pregnant right away. But at the time I thought I hadn’t slept with anyone in months, so I never suspected that I was, in fact, pregnant.
When abstinence is your motto, you don’t give much thought to your menstrual cycle, because it always, eventually comes. After a while I realized that mine just wasn’t coming.
Abstinence was my method of birth control up to that point and my cycle was sometimes quite irregular. I got final confirmation that I was pregnant when I decided to get a blood test done (the 99% accuracy of a home pregnancy test was a little too imprecise for me). I waited a week for the results, and when my doctor finally called and told me the very unexpected news I was left completely in shock.
You can be the most careful person yet there is that pesky little chance of things not going as expected. That was me.
Ironically, my whole life I had been one of those people who would say, “if you’re responsible enough to have sex, you should be responsible enough to deal with the consequences”. In this case it would have meant: have a baby.
I realize now that I didn’t actually believe this somewhat self-righteous view. I was taught that’s what I should think by my parents, which were in turn influenced by Catholicism and very conservative politic views. I had been so internally judgmental, not only towards other girls, but mostly towards myself. And when I was faced with a situation I thought would never arise, I did the complete opposite of what I had been preaching. I was most definitely not ready to have a child at 21. Even now though, four years later, I’m still not ready.
The decision of terminating the pregnancy was a personal one. I also didn’t tell my friend that I was pregnant and terminated the pregnancy. If I would have told him, I’m certain he would have been relieved though. I never knew how much he really remembered about what happened between the two of us that night and I didn’t want to force the issue.
When I found out that I was pregnant my head filled with concerns. I thought about my future and his. The many goals and aspirations that I knew we both had, and how having a child would affect our individual plans. I didn’t think it would be fair for either of us to be forcibly tied to each other for the rest of our lives because of one drunken experience. I also thought about how my family and friends would view me. I had become the golden child of sexual conservativeness, it would have been highly hypocritical to have had a baby.
To some people my reasoning will seem selfish, but sometimes you have to be a little selfish in order to make the right decisions for yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I was absolutely heartbroken. My head told me the abortion was my only option. My heart ached at the thought of actually going through with it. I thought the whole situation was unfair, especially when I had always been so careful.
I had constantly prohibited myself from exploring, experiencing and experimenting due to a senseless moral compass I had. And sure enough, the one time I slipped up made me feel like it had all been for nothing.
The very misogynistic ideals around sexuality from my upbringing led me to judge girls on all kinds of things, number of partners would certainly have been one of them. I now have learned the hard way to be remarkably less judgmental of other women when it comes to their sexual choices.
I’m currently working on being less judgmental towards myself.
I used to judge myself on every little thing I did. I expected myself to be an angel 99% of the time and then be a super seductress behind closed doors with the few men I wanted to sleep with. This whole idea of perfection was very unattainable and hard to keep up with. I also realized that everyone’s a little different so it doesn’t make sense to compare myself to other women anymore.
From this experience I think I finally realized that my value as a sexual being doesn’t come from how pretty, perfect, and pure men think that I am, it comes from viewing my flaws, inexperience and curiosity in a positive light.
I’m slowly gaining a sense of confidence that I think I would’ve never felt otherwise. For a very large part of my life I downplayed the many other great qualities that I have because of my inability to see value in anything I had to offer other than my attractiveness.
I now have had a few years singledom, and I’ve taken this time to learn to love all of myself. And to develop my way of seeing the world into something that fits more with who I am today.
I would love to have children eventually, once I reach that stage of my life when I’ll have the time, maturity and resources to give them a childhood as happy as my own. Of course, one that’s more open, accepting and informed. I also would love to give my children a home where both I, and whoever my future partner will be, are confident and happy to be involved in each other’s lives forever.
There are a lot of things that I have yet to work on when it comes to sex and relationships. However, I am sharing my story because I believe that there shouldn’t be such a stigma around a woman’s right over her own body. I also believe it’s important for both women and men, to be reminded that you can be extremely calculated and careful, yet sometimes things are simply out of your control. All you can do is try your best and deal with situations in the best way possible, for you — and your partner.