I want to tell my story because I am still trying to heal. As I find myself more aware of the events that have taken place in my life and the effects that have remained from them. When you are growing up it seems like you’re mainly told that drugs, alcohol and getting pregnant will ruin your life. I never thought the latter would be true. It seemed to me, possibly because my family was Catholic, that becoming pregnant, although shameful if out of wedlock, was not the end of your life as you knew it. But I found myself experiencing a part of pregnancy that no one talked about – abortion – the true culprit of what can ruin your life. Because of the difficult adolescence I had, I found myself in a relationship at 18 with a boyfriend a year older. Not long into our relationship I became pregnant. I was ashamed that I had become pregnant, but that’s not where the possibility of abortion came from. My boyfriend made it clear that he didn’t want to be a father at that time and abortion was the only option for us. I clung to him and didn’t want to lose him but already couldn’t deal with the fact that I would be killing my baby. A baby that I wanted. It’s hard for me to really describe how I felt, the emotions of everything and trying to rationalize this decision. I was early enough in my pregnancy where I could take the pill and it happened liked a heavy period. I don’t think I even went to the follow up visit like I was supposed to. I was recovering from the abortion into my graduation day. I told no one. I had bouts of depression at the loss and anger towards my boyfriend for what had happened. As best I could, I forgot that it happened. The relationship eventually ended, and I quickly found myself in a new relationship but very much like the last. I found myself pregnant, at the age of 20, again with a man that, this time, was wishy-washy as to whether he would actually be around if I had the baby. Abortion was an option but not the only option, although I felt like there weren’t any discussions as to keeping the baby and it was never mentioned to our families. I found myself again worrying about losing him and choosing him over the baby. This time, however, I was too far along to just take a pill and would have to have the procedure to have the child removed basically by being vacuumed out. At no point did I recall ever knowing what state the baby was actually developed at when I had the procedure at about 8 weeks. I was told that it was simple, wouldn’t hurt more than menstrual cramps. I couldn’t image what that might feel like as I never had menstrual cramping. I was given the sedative and told to lay on a table while two nurses held my arms down. The doctor began the procedure, and I could feel a painful pulling in my abdomen. I don’t know if that was what it was supposed to feel like or if the sedative hadn’t taken effect yet or wasn’t fully working. I still remember crying out because of the pain and crying out “I can’t” “I can’t”. After the procedure I was taken to a waiting room with other women while I waited a while and then left. My boyfriend took me from the clinic, still groggy from the sedative, to his family’s to celebrate his birthday. I laid on the couch the whole time sleeping. After that day, nothing was the same. I never told our families what happened. I still have feelings of sadness, guilt and shame because I don’t know if they know that they have a child in heaven to pray for. I eventually married my boyfriend despite the issues we had because I never healed from the trauma of losing my child. After the first abortion, I was scared that God wouldn’t bless me with a child so when I came to be pregnant again, I was scared even more so that I wouldn’t be able to have another child. I constantly battled with feeling alone in my mourning and fears. I buried my pain and hurt only to have it explode to the surface when my spouse would tell me that I didn’t put any effort into our relationship because of the values I held that contradicted his. I kept it inside that I felt like I sacrificed my child for him, that I felt like I had no choice because I didn’t want to lose him, every time he told me I didn’t compromise. He acted like it never happened and it made everything I felt worse. I did become pregnant with my daughter the next year. I doted on her but still struggled with the pain I continued to feel for the loss of my children. I eventually turned to drinking to numb the pain and eventually, the inability to manage the turmoil I had cost me my marriage and my daughter. After a while, I was able to begin to heal but the pain has never gone away. I find psychologically, I’ve been able to cope with the loss and the feelings of guilt, shame and emptiness. After almost 19 years, everything creeps up and I can’t help but cry. I continue to struggle with anxiety and separation anxiety with my 6-year-old son; afraid that I might lose him too. If you are considering an abortion, please stop and reach out for help. The loss of a child leaves an imprint on your soul. There are so many programs out there that can help mothers with providing necessities for their children. Some of these programs not only help a mother with their newborn but can also provide food and clothing for their older children. It’s not worth losing a part of yourself, your child, to see if maybe your life will be better after the abortion. Embrace your womanhood, your newfound motherhood and never let it go. There may be struggles, but you are never alone, and you can make it. Research the hell out of everything because knowledge is power. Especially groups that you may be able to join to help you in raising your child; they can be lifelines.