I want to tell you about a choice I made a long time ago, a choice that has haunted me for 20 years. I did not know the effect that choice was going to have on the rest of my life. Until now, I have been silent.
At 17, I got pregnant. I went from becoming an honor student, to barely making it to my 18th birthday. I was terrified and ashamed. I was the “good girl” that went to church and did not get into trouble.
When I first saw my pregnancy test results, I remember smiling. My first reaction was happiness. A few minutes later, the dread set in. I did not want to disappoint my grandmother and I did not was to be like my mother who had given birth to me when she was 17.
I will never forget the moment when I opened the grocery store cooler and reached for a quart of milk. I was thinking that I needed to take care of myself and be healthy for the baby growing inside of me. I would give anything if I could go back to that instant when all I was thinking about was my well-being and that of my baby.
My boyfriend and I decided an abortion was the best thing to do because neither of us was ready to take care of a child. I knew it was wrong, but I made the decision anyway. If I had simply told my grandmother, she would have understood and I would have my child with me today.
The drive to the clinic that summer was long and hot. It took 2 hours to get there and I was very sick. When we finally arrived, the lady at the counter could tell I was not feeling well and offered my some saltine crackers and a Sprite. She was so nice! I didn’t think anyone so nice would let me do something so terrible. She took my $250.00 and I waited for her to tell me I did not have to go through with the abortion if I didn’t want to, but she never did.
I was given a pregnancy test and sent to a room with a bunch of other young girls. Our “counseling” consisted of them telling us about birth control and how to rest after what they referred to as a “pregnancy termination”. I was not given an ultra sound, and I was not told about fetal development. They did not tell me that my child had a beating heart, fingers, and toes. They did not even explain the procedure.
I asked if it would hurt and they said, no, nothing worse than a menstrual cramp. That was a lie! I was taken to another room and put on a table. The nurse held my hand and told me to squeeze. I will never forget the sound of the suction and the agony of what was happening to me. I just laid there and cried! My mind was screaming to stop, but it was too late. I knew as soon as it was over what I had done. That was the worst moment in my life! That was the beginning of many years of guilt, shame, depression and grief.
The drive back was dreadful. The pain from cramping and bleeding was nothing compared to the way I felt inside. How was I going to deal with this? My body had just gone through a very unnatural process. My body that had been designed to nurture life had just been pried open and the life inside had been stripped away. Once home, I could not sleep or eat for days. The first time I went out, I saw a woman pushing a stroller and I was sick. I wanted to step out in front of a car. I wanted my baby back! I wanted to drive back to that clinic and tell them I changed my mind! I wanted them to help me with the pain, to make it go away. I wanted to go back in time and make another choice. But they could not help me. They had done their job, which is what I had paid them to do. I paid them to destroy two lives...my babies and mine. I was left to deal with my choice.
I began daydreaming about going to the police station and telling them I had committed murder. I imagined they would then put me in jail and sentence me to death. I deserved death; I wanted to be dead. But I knew the police would do nothing because what I had done was legal. So, I stuffed it away and told no one. I kept silent for 20 years.
I have never forgotten my baby and I have never forgotten the experience. The comfort I get now comes from knowing that God is forgiving, and I know that I will see my child in Heaven. It took a loving Evangelist to show me that I could be forgiven and healed. I had never heard about anyone talk about abortion before in those terms. She talked about love and forgiveness and deliverance from the sin and guilt of abortion. I felt a wave of forgiveness washing over me. God had forgiven me, but I had not forgiven myself. I punished myself over and over.
Today I am finally at peace, but I will never forget what I did. For years I wondered if my child was a boy or girl. In my heart, I did not want to know because that would have made my baby more of a real person. I began to pray to God to reveal to me the sex of my child and to tell me if I should name him or her along with a name. After praying, I had a dream that my baby was a boy named him Daniel. God lifted Daniel up and one day I will get to hold him.
My abortion was not good for me. It was something I did out of selfishness and convenience. One out of four women who have had abortions are silent about it. You don’t hear about their experience or how it destroyed their lives. Some say there is no such thing as stress and depression due to abortion. They say we must have had some other problems before we killed our children. My experience tells me otherwise. Choosing abortion can be devastating and I want to make sure that those who have had abortions and those thinking about abortion know that there is help and hope and love for those who choose life for themselves and their babies. That is why I am silent no more!