Why I Decided to Have a Second-Trimester Abortion

This life-altering decision was mine to make

Susannah Taylor
Human Parts
Published in
13 min readNov 20, 2019


Photo: Kenado Mellani / EyeEm / Getty Images

II lay still during the cab ride home from the hospital, feeling every turn and bump as if the car were navigating the inside of my body. My legs were at an angle, and the side of my face was pressed against the cool glass of the window. A couple of hours earlier, a doctor had given me a pill to relax me before inserting sticks into my vagina that would dilate my cervix in preparation for the following morning’s procedure. I did not feel relaxed. I felt confused and regretful and afraid and guilty. And I felt pain that made me want to writhe on that back seat, though I continued to keep perfectly still. I wanted the pain. I deserved the pain. Was the fetus inside of me feeling pain, too?

I knew Jonathan was going to be devastated. I will never forget the look on his face when I told him I was pregnant. We’d been having an affair for nearly two years, and I remained married to someone else. The circumstances weren’t exactly ideal, but Jonathan was still overjoyed. “This is going to be our girl; I feel it,” he said, taking me in his arms and holding me so tight that I felt like my body might melt into his.

I, on the other hand, had been terrified. I was 40 years old, with two older children at home. I already felt guilty about the affair, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to start over with a new baby. At the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder if this pregnancy was my ticket out of a marriage and a life that wasn’t making me happy anymore. Maybe this was the push I needed to make a drastic change.

BBefore I met Jonathan, I thought I knew what life had in store for me. I felt invisible in my marriage, but Nick was a good father and we’d practically grown up together. Besides, I didn’t believe in the kind of all-encompassing romance depicted in books and movies. Things like love at first sight and kisses that weaken the knees.

One day, Jonathan walked into the shop where I worked. He looked at me in a way that made me feel seen. His eyes were on me and me alone. I hadn’t felt that, maybe ever. The first time he kissed me, time stopped. I felt that kiss in every single part of my body. When he pulled away, we stood there looking at each other for a moment, and I could see in…