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What It’s Like to be ‘Late’ by Jennifer Martin

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Sometimes I don’t do the dishes for weeks. I work three days a week to support my never ending car problems. I go without the essentials at times; toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish towels, etc. And occasionally I find myself living off ramen noodles when I run completely out of money. Like most people my age, I have a hard time taking care of myself. My habits are partly to blame, the economy is mostly to blame. My simple life of barely getting by had taken an unplanned turn when I realized I might be feeding my ramen noodles to someone else, someone inside me.

When I realized I was late, I didn’t think much of it.The thought of getting pregnant terrifies me, and truth be told, babies scare me. I avoid them for the most part. I’m not ready at this point in life, to care for another person other than myself. When I hear a baby cry, I try to be as far away from it as possible. When I see a little kid throw a tantrum, I give them candy and toys so they’ll stop making noise. When I see they’re crying, I quickly busy myself to avoid the situation. So, when I realized I was late, these thoughts of my experiments with small children did run through my mind, and I was queasy.

After the sixth or seventh day of the absence of my period, I found myself checking for it frequently. I would be walking through Wal-Mart and see babies around every corner and feel the need to make a quick run to the bathroom to check if I had started. Every little pain I had in my stomach, I’d assume that my period had come at last and run to check in the nearest bathroom, only to be disappointed. I was so desperate for some kind of answer, I broke down a bought a pregnancy test. 

Photo Credit:
Lynn(e) Schmidt

Though they both came back negative, I still wasn’t starting my period. I started to come to the conclusion I was pregnant. Some people would suggest having the child and putting it up for adoption but, honestly, I don’t think this is not an option for me. I’m skinny and my body isn’t set up for the caring of a baby. I don’t eat healthy whatsoever and being pregnant wouldn’t suddenly make money appear for nutritious foods. I searched online to check where the nearest abortion center was located and watched videos of exactly what the procedure was for an abortion.

My friends and boyfriend were supportive of my decision to get an abortion. They understood, like so many people wouldn’t, that I wasn’t ready to support another life other than my own. One of my friends even said she’d hold my hand during my appointment.

Then one day, while I was at work, I felt a sharp pain in my side. I knew this was it. I went to the bathroom and was overjoyed to see what I saw. I was glad not only because I wasn’t pregnant but because I wasn’t in need of an abortion. 
An abortion isn’t something that you look forward to getting done to you. It’s a step that happens when other contraceptive don’t work. It’s something that gets done when a mistake happens, and/or you’re not strong enough to bear a child. Even though abortion is the choice I would have made, I’m glad I didn’t have to. I’m grateful to have open-minded friends and family who would have supported me through my decisions. Not everyone has people like that around them and are forced into a path they’re not ready to take.


Jennifer Martin is a nineteen year old retail associate in Maine. Her friends call her Genevieve, but she’s not sure why. She enjoys pina coladas and occasionally getting caught in the rain. Reading and recycling are little hobbies of hers. 
Jennifer has a cat named Blue who she rescued from a near-death experience (involving a bald eagle and a dirty sock). 
She tries to be open-minded and looks forward to meeting different people because she enjoys talking about anything and everything!

2 Thoughts on “What It’s Like to be ‘Late’ by Jennifer Martin

  1. I had a scare like that when I met my current boyfriend and started having sex again after three years. I was a week late, so we bought a pregnancy test and I took it in the bathroom of the community center of his housing development on bingo night, of all places. The relief I felt when I saw that it was negative and when I actually got my period was not as glorious as the look on his face when he saw me walk out of the bathroom with a thumbs up.

    That being said, when my mother was pregnant with me, she got her period the first two months I was in her womb. She had absolutely no idea she was carrying a baby until she went bowling with my father and some friends and was having stomach pains (she quit bowling because of the pain, otherwise I might have been a miscarriage!).

    My point is, everyone is different in how their body reacts to sex and/or pregnancy. The smartest thing to do is just be safe until the time is right to start a family.

  2. I remember when I was “late”. I also ran to the bathroom every chance I got. I had friends reassure me I was just “late”. Sadly, I was pregnant. I made my decision to have an abortion. While I’m happy you didn’t -have- to I’m glad that you have supportive friends around you. They’re what pulled me through.

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