Mom of 3 on the Anxiety of Getting an Abortion Under Texas' New Law: 'I Was Crying a Lot'
When the test showed that Mariah Armonta was pregnant, she immediately knew she couldn't go through with it.
The Abilene, Texas-based mom already has three children at home that she takes care of by herself, and she had only just gone back to work as an in-home senior caregiver in April after her now-9-month-old daughter's arrival.
"My first thought is, I can't have this baby. I can't have another baby. I have three already and I do it by myself, and it's hard. I don't want to keep doing this by myself," Armonta, 25, tells PEOPLE. "And I barely started working again to support them. I just got it figured out, how to get everything done with three kids and work."
Her next panic was over whether she was within the first six weeks of pregnancy, in light of Texas' new, highly-restrictive ban on abortions. Armonta knew she had sex on Sept. 8 and Oct. 1, and when her period hadn't come by the 13th, she took a pregnancy test that initially came back negative.
"I thought maybe it just shifted due to stress from the kids and work and everything," she says. "But it still hadn't come so I took another one on the 19th and it was positive."
After seeing that second line, Armonta "was freaking out" that she wouldn't be able to get an abortion.
"I was like, 'Where am I going to go? What am I going to do?' " she says. "I was freaking out and crying a lot. I had been crying for days. I was just like, 'Oh my god, I don't know what I'm going to do.' "
Armonta made an appointment for an abortion in Austin, which was three and a half hours away but the closest clinic, in case she was within the six weeks. But worried that she wasn't, Armonta researched the abortion laws in other states and booked a second appointment in Oklahoma, six hours away, while also panicking that she'd have to go to Mexico if it didn't work out.
"There was nowhere here in Abilene to do anything, so I felt very helpless," she says. "I was like, 'Oh my god, I'm not going to be able to do it in time.' "
Luckily, Armonta was able to confirm on Oct. 24 that she was within the six weeks and could go to Austin the next day for her appointment. And while it was a relief to be able to go a shorter distance for the abortion, and to her hometown city where she could stay with friends, Armonta worried about taking off time from work and paying the $675 fee herself.
On Monday, Armonta went to the clinic where she received pills for a medical abortion, and spent Tuesday managing the side effects before going back to work on Wednesday.
"People were like, 'You seem like you're fine,' " she says. "People didn't really know that I had an abortion, some people I just told that I miscarried. A lot of people are judgmental. But it's my body, it's my choice."
Armonta was firm in her decision to have an abortion from the start, and says "it sucks" that Texas has made the process so difficult.
"It's crazy how they just did this law and then this happened," she says. "I'm fine with my decision," she continues. "It was more the stress of getting it all together in time. I wish it wasn't so frowned upon. People are just so judgmental and they're taking away the services everywhere."
And Armonta wants the lawmakers who put this ban in place to understand how "difficult and stressful" it is on people who want an abortion.
"Women, especially single moms — we already have enough on our plate," she says. "Fathers don't always stick around. It's hard for people to catch [the pregnancy] in time."
This story originally appeared on people.com