I have a family, a large family. I love my children with a passion, but I don’t want any more. I know this with absolute certainty. I’ve got other things to do, and I don’t have it in me to be a good enough mother to a fifth child. I delight in newborn babies with their delicate weightlessness, the curl of their small fingers around my thumb, but the best thing about them now is that they belong to other people. I don’t want to bear them, feed them, bring them up, be responsible for them…

Two years later, I’m driving upstate by myself. I look down and think that if I hadn’t had the abortion, there would be a baby seat next to me with a small child in it, resting comfortably, knowing it would always be safe because I was in charge. It might be a girl — I would have liked to have a daughter in the family mix.

But I’m not grieving over the absence; I don’t have and never have had a single qualm about not bringing that child into the world. I know many women who have grieved greatly over the children they decided not to have, and I am thankful to have been spared that agonizing sadness of guilt and regret. I also know many women who, like me, have felt only gratitude and relief at having been able to take control over their lives safely and legally.