Women's Issues: Abortion, After the Decision: ABORTION_ALLISONJOYCE__102-copy

Leigh, a 26-year-old bartender, poses for a portrait in her home in Pennsylvania. Leigh says she was 21 years old when she became pregnant and had an abortion. “Honestly, I don’t think I’m ever going to really forget any detail about any of it, down to the one decision that made it actually end up becoming that… It happens. All of a sudden it’s a month and a half and getting nauseous with beer and you know.. (the) test came back positive and everything. We sat out and we talked about it and he was a sweetheart about everything for the most part. He made it very clear that it was my choice. But at the same time, he was also very honest about what would happen, going this way or that way, with the decision. …If we were to have the kid, we would get married and be together for the rest of our lives. If we didn’t work out and we broke up for some reason, he would fight for full custody of the kid and make sure I never saw them again,” Leigh said. “I was still in college. I was a year away from graduating and I was having a hard enough time making ends meet, between a part-time job, work, study, full class load. …Trying to keep him happy being home all the time. I knew as much as I cared about him (and I thought I was in love with him), I knew we weren’t destined to be together forever. It was a really hard decision. I really did consider going through with everything. But it just was one of those, you just have to do what’s right at the time. He was a sweetheart and totally understood and you know, was completely supportive. He paid for it. He went with me and held my hand… It actually really hit my body hard. It took me a good three days before I could actually get out of bed. It was not an easy experience. It was very painful. The relationship took a natural course south. We ended up breaking up eventually… For the important part of the story, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The support and the care and tenderness that he showed made a really difficult experience as painless, I guess, as possible,” Said Leigh. “I didn’t take it lightly… It took every inch of strength inside of me to be able to do it, but I knew it was the right decision to make… I know it was the right decision to make. I’ve never doubted that… I don’t regret it but I don’t think I could ever stomach being able to do it again. I think I was just about to turn 22… I would have had a 4 and a half year-old right now,” She said. “It’s five years later. It’s still something that I think about every day. It changes you. Before that I swore I never wanted to get married, I never wanted to have kids. All of a sudden this thing woke up inside of me. Now it’s like I want 2.5 kids and to eventually get married and I want the white picket fence. I don’t know what happened but in that experience, this thing woke up inside of me. And it hasn’t gone away. Obviously I’m not rushing into anything or whatever but… It changes you. And honestly, if I were to be faced with the decision now, I don’t know if I could go through it again. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Leigh said.

Leigh, a 26-year-old bartender, poses for a portrait in her home in Pennsylvania. Leigh says she was 21 years old when she became pregnant and had an abortion. “Honestly, I don’t think I’m ever going to really forget any detail about any of it, down to the one decision that made it actually end up becoming that… It happens. All of a sudden it’s a month and a half and getting nauseous with beer and you know.. (the) test came back positive and everything. We sat out and we talked about it and he was a sweetheart about everything for the most part. He made it very clear that it was my choice. But at the same time, he was also very honest about what would happen, going this way or that way, with the decision. …If we were to have the kid, we would get married and be together for the rest of our lives. If we didn’t work out and we broke up for some reason, he would fight for full custody of the kid and make sure I never saw them again,” Leigh said. “I was still in college. I was a year away from graduating and I was having a hard enough time making ends meet, between a part-time job, work, study, full class load. …Trying to keep him happy being home all the time. I knew as much as I cared about him (and I thought I was in love with him), I knew we weren’t destined to be together forever. It was a really hard decision. I really did consider going through with everything. But it just was one of those, you just have to do what’s right at the time. He was a sweetheart and totally understood and you know, was completely supportive. He paid for it. He went with me and held my hand… It actually really hit my body hard. It took me a good three days before I could actually get out of bed. It was not an easy experience. It was very painful. The relationship took a natural course south. We ended up breaking up eventually… For the important part of the story, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The support and the care and tenderness that he showed made a really difficult experience as painless, I guess, as possible,” Said Leigh. “I didn’t take it lightly… It took every inch of strength inside of me to be able to do it, but I knew it was the right decision to make… I know it was the right decision to make. I’ve never doubted that… I don’t regret it but I don’t think I could ever stomach being able to do it again. I think I was just about to turn 22… I would have had a 4 and a half year-old right now,” She said. “It’s five years later. It’s still something that I think about every day. It changes you. Before that I swore I never wanted to get married, I never wanted to have kids. All of a sudden this thing woke up inside of me. Now it’s like I want 2.5 kids and to eventually get married and I want the white picket fence. I don’t know what happened but in that experience, this thing woke up inside of me. And it hasn’t gone away. Obviously I’m not rushing into anything or whatever but… It changes you. And honestly, if I were to be faced with the decision now, I don’t know if I could go through it again. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Leigh said.