It’s been 34 years since my abortion. I was 17 years old. I had been sexually active since I was 15. I had serial relationships that were all active. My parents knew I wasn’t a virgin, but they didn’t do anything about it. My mom told me if I was thinking about having sex to let her know and she would put me on birth control. When I got the courage to tell her I am thinking about having sex, she said ok well let me know… but she never did anything. I should have taken care of myself, but I was in school and had a job, and I didn’t really know how to make doctor appointments. It was bound to get pregnant at some point. My boyfriend and I used condoms sometimes. I don’t remember if we did this time. I was a sad, depressed teen. I so badly wanted to be loved. I did all of the wrong things.
When I realized I was pregnant I had some very complex emotions. I was simultaneously SO happy and terribly sad at the same time. I wore sundresses and imagined myself happy, in a good relationship, and starting a family. I imagined myself healthy and happy with a beautiful baby. At the same time, I knew this was just a fantasy for me. I was not in a good relationship, I had just graduated from high school, I had no plans for college, or direction. My home life was not great. My parents marriage was difficult which made all of our relationships challenging. Through the years there was a lot of moving, affairs, drinking, and dysfunction. As soon as I could start working I did and I bought all of the things I wanted so I wouldn’t have to ask them for money… not because we didn’t have any, but because I wanted to be independent of them.
When they found out I was pregnant, I don’t remember any discussion about options. I do remember a lot of talk about how irresponsible I was and how this could wreck my life, and the obvious solution. I was dead and numb. My mom took me to the clinic. I paid for it myself. It was awful. The thing I remember the most were the other girls in the recovery room who were talking and one was laughing. I quietly ate crackers and felt like I wanted to die.
I moved out of my house, got my own apartment, and worked to pay for my existence. I remember very little from the next few years. I stayed in a pretty constant state of intoxication. I drank all of the time and ran around with crummy “friends.” I was going nowhere and I knew it. I made pretty decent money, and paid all of my bills on time by myself. I was proud of that, but I was so sad.
At some point, I decided to join the military. I got married to a very abusive person, then divorced, then remarried. I’ve had 7 pregnancies. 1 was the abortion, 4 miscarriages, and 2 beautiful daughters. I have had a lot of female issues which eventually lead to a hysterectomy. I often wondered if any of it was related to the abortion.
When I had my abortion, I was an aethiest. Even though I didn’t believe in God, I still believed that I had a life in my womb. I also felt that I was clearly terminating that life. It was legal so I knew I wasn’t breaking any laws, but I was going against something my heart knew was wrong. I didn’t pull any triggers, but I felt just as guilty.
I am a Christian now (a separate long story). I am so grateful for the forgiveness of my savior. I have found it is a very challenging topic to talk about inside and outside of the church. It hasn’t been until recently that I realized that I have never really grieved any loss in my life. I am very strong. I’m a hard worker, and I try very hard to take care of the people I love, but I also have an underlying sadness I never allowed myself to deal with.
Through the years, I have struggled with alcoholism (I don’t drink anymore), depression, anxiety, workaholism… and many behaviors I used to keep myself busy. This past year has been an unraveling of myself. I have had extreme pain, insomnia, depression, fatigue, and difficulty with focus, memory, and concentration. This all lead me to counseling where I am learning to slow down and I am addressing many issues from my past to find healing.
The recent Roe v. Wade decision has brought so many feelings to the surface. I wish abortion was never an option. I wish more people understood how precious life is. I wish people knew of God’s enormous love, forgiveness, and hope. He has a plan, for each one of us. It’s far better than anything we could come up with. It includes freedom, healing, and redemption. One the other side of my story is joy and love. I’m finally getting there, crawling out from under the debris of guilt, sadness, shame, depression, insecurity, and grief. I am standing whole and walking forward with gratitude for all God has done to take me from where I was, to where I am now, and eventually to eternity with Him and all of my children.
I am praying for others who struggle in the aftermath of abortion and for those who believe it’s no big deal. I’m praying for our hearts to know and be healed.