The phone rang, and it was my dad. We were having a totally benign conversation, asking questions like “How was your day? What are you having for dinner?” Suddenly, I burst into tears. For not the first time in his life, my dad — the father of four daughters and no sons — was at a loss. He handed the phone to my mom.
Through my sobs, she asked, “Do you think you could be pregnant?”
It was 1980, I was 19, and I was living with my boyfriend in a tiny bungalow on the southern edge of Denver. I was not on birth control. Why? I rarely got my period; maybe two or three times per year. I wasn’t worried. I never thought I’d get pregnant. I figured rarely getting my period was God’s gift to me since I yearned to be a rock star.
I was wrong. Mom was right.
I knew immediately what I would do. I called my doctor and made an appointment. My boyfriend and I were in the process of breaking up, as I’d already decided to move to California to pursue my musical dreams. So my mom took me to the doctor’s office for the D&C and drove me back home. I laid on the couch for the remainder of the day, resting and taking aspirin for the pain. I wrote a poem called, “A Mother’s Tears,” telling my potential child this wasn’t the right time.
Afterwards, I made sure to get an IUD. I wasn’t about to take the chance of having another unwanted pregnancy.
Shortly after, I went to California, met my future husband, and we started writing songs together. Two years later, we moved back to Colorado and continued to pursue our music with a vengeance. We enjoyed moderate success: we had a backer, did a lot of recording, played a lot of shows, and were featured on the best local rock stations.
If I’d chosen not to have the abortion when I was 19 and if the pregnancy went well, I would have had a baby (adoption was not an option for me; I was all in or all out). I would have either stayed with my boyfriend, though that relationship was never meant to last, or moved back in with my parents. I may have finished college and pursued law, the only other thing I’d ever been interested in, but one thing is for sure; I would have lived a different life. And that would have been OK, because it would have been my choice.
But it wasn’t. Instead, I opted to continue on my path of pursuing my musical dreams. Had I not decided to have the abortion, I wouldn’t have met and married my husband and would not have my two beautiful sons. Being their mom is the single greatest joy in my life. I would not have had the opportunity to watch them grow into intelligent, devilishly handsome, and utterly kind, clever, funny, and compassionate men.
I wasn’t ready to be a mom at 19, and I knew it. When I was ready, I savored motherhood.
Friends of mine who oppose abortion have asked me, “How would you feel if your mother had made the choice you made?” First of all, I wouldn’t feel anything, because I never would have existed. That said, if she’d made that choice, I would trust she knew what was best for her at the time.
All of life is a combination of random fate and choices. Most of us do the best we can.
Nearly 30 years after my husband and I met, we split up. The divorce wasn’t my choice and I was devastated. My kids helped me through it; holding me while I cried, and helping me uncover my inner strengths. Thanks, in large part to them, I was able to leave that difficult chapter behind and move forward. I found a way to open up to love again, and am now happily remarried.
We navigate many unforeseen roads in our lifetime, and at the end of each day we need to look in the mirror and love and respect the person we see. Have I made mistakes? Sure. A few I deeply regret. But having an abortion? Never for a moment have I regretted that decision. As the saying goes, we have to make our beds and lie in them. I’m quite comfortable in mine.