I grew up in a blended family, my parents divorced when I was one, and both my parents remarried within a few years. My relationship with my dad was never what I wanted it to be, and my stepdad was great, but he wasn’t my dad. I always remember being insecure about myself, even at a very young age. I was very tall, taller than anyone in my class, and I was skin and bone. While I was a happy child, there was always a hole in my heart that could only be filled by a father.
When I was twelve my dad told my sister and I that he would be moving to New York with my stepmom and two sisters. We were crushed. He promised we would see each other twice a year and talk all the time. It would be two years before I would see him again.
I started doing things with boys way too young. I was always seeking approval, from boys, my friends, everyone. I got into a very serious relationship when I was fourteen. He told me everything I wanted to hear and he made me feel good about myself for the first time. I felt loved and accepted. We started having sex, and to be completely honest, we hardly ever used protection. I guess I thought I wouldn’t get pregnant, I really don’t even think I thought it was a possibility.
Things got really bad between us. He started cheating on me and being really mean to me. We would break up like every other week, it was ridiculous. All my friends just wanted me to get away from him, but I wouldn’t listen. I really thought no one else would ever love me. My friends and I grew apart, they were just so sick of seeing me sad, and I was so depressed. Looking back, I can’t really blame them. I dropped out of school the second semester of my sophomore year. My boyfriend had already dropped out and I was obsessed with keeping tabs on him. Being mean very quickly went to being abusive, both physically and mentally. But, still I stayed. I found out I was pregnant in April of 1997, at the age of sixteen. I was terrified. I didn’t tell anyone, just my boyfriend. The only thought in my head was abortion. I was so ashamed, I was afraid of what my mom would think, and I was scared to death of having a baby with him.
By this time the abuse was so bad, and he was getting heavy into drugs. My life was very quickly turning into an episode of Jerry Springer. I just wanted to go back in time. Back to school, and my friends. Back to who I used to be before I had sex, and I was still an innocent little girl. And I thought if I had an abortion, I could have all that back, I would leave him for good, go back to school, and get my life back.
So I had an abortion.
And it ruined my life.
When they killed my baby, they killed a part of me.
I knew lying on that table that I would never be the same again, that this was the biggest mistake of my life, that it didn’t matter anymore what my reasons were, none of them were good enough. That I was killing my baby. And it broke my heart. But it was too late. My baby was gone. And I was gone too.
I didn’t leave him. I didn’t go back to school. I didn’t get my friends back. I became even more depressed.I hated myself. I decided I did not deserve to be happy, ever, because of what I had done. I was filthy; I was unworthy of any good things. So I stayed with the guy who beat me, and with every hit I took it, I deserved it. I was a horrible person, and I didn’t care about anything anymore.
At eighteen I got pregnant again. My reasons for getting an abortion this time were different. My boyfriend was heavy into heroin, and still smacking me around. I was numb inside; I got used to feeling that way and didn’t want to change it. My child was dead, so I was going to punish myself forever. I got another abortion because I didn’t feel anymore, and I convinced myself it wasn’t a big deal. My boyfriend started treating me even worse. Although he never tried to change my mind about either abortion, I could tell it bothered him and he would always let me know how disgusting and worthless I was. He would tell me no one would ever want to be with me because of what I’d done, so I stayed with him. I believed him.
By twenty one I had had enough. I finally left him. I left and I never looked back. There was something inside of me that decided it was time to fight back, that I didn’t have to punish myself forever. But I was still so broken.
I very quickly got into a relationship. The guy was five years older than me and had a four year old son. He was really nice to me; no one had been nice to me in a really long time. I needed it, and I loved his son. His son was the same age my first child would have been and I felt like I needed to be his mommy, as his mom had been in prison since he was two. But, I was horrible at being a mom. I didn’t know how to be a mom, and I was so messed up I didn’t have any business being around a child. Though this guy was so good to me, he was horrible to his son. I couldn’t believe I had gotten myself into something so horrible again. But I stayed with him. I just couldn’t leave his son. I thought I could change things and him, and we could all be a happy family. I felt like because of what I had done to my own two babies, I needed to be there for his son. A year or so into our relationship I started having horrible pelvic pains, I finally went to the hospital and turns out, I had chlamydia. It had gone undiagnosed for so long that it turned into PID, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which is the leading cause of infertility in women. There it was. My punishment lay right out in front of me. I convinced myself the damage had been done, and I would never be able to get pregnant again.
Another 2 years went by, and then once again that feeling came over me that I was good enough, and that I needed to fight for my life. So, I got out of the relationship and moved back in with my mom. I went back to school and got a part time job. For the first time in years, I started making friends! I felt myself being happy, and looking in the mirror and liking what I saw. For the first time, I wanted more for myself. I decided to start working on myself and dealing with my issues.
Two years later I met the man that would later become my husband and the father of my children. I fell in love with Aaron almost instantly. He was everything I had always wanted in a man, inside and out. He loved me, truly loved me, like no one ever had before. He changed my life, he changed me. He made me want to be a better woman. I just couldn’t believe how God was blessing me, after all I had done. But, there was still that hole inside of me that I’d been carrying around since I was sixteen. I decided I would never tell Aaron about my abortions, I couldn’t take the chance of him not loving me anymore. I knew he wanted a family, and I was terrified to tell him I didn’t think I could have kids.
Turns out I was wrong. Despite being on birth control, I became pregnant. I was shocked. I had told myself for so long that I was never going to be able to have kids, and sitting there staring at the two lines on that stick I began to cry. But then, I immediately felt so unworthy. And I became angry. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be pregnant again, not after all the horrible things I’d done. I was so afraid of what Aaron would say; we had only been dating 5 months. I knew he loved me, but I was so afraid. He was thrilled -shocked- but so happy. We got married and had Charlie a few months later. Almost immediately the depression set in. I felt so inadequate, so unworthy of this little baby’s love. I was sure that God was going to take him away from me, that it was just too good to be true that this amazing man was in love with me, and that I had this beautiful, healthy baby. But, I told myself, he doesn’t know about my abortions…he won’t love me if he finds out about that. A few months went by and the way I was feeling and behaving as a result were really taking a toll on our marriage. Finally one night Aaron pulled it out of me. I couldn’t even look him in the eyes as I told him my horrible secret. He just looked at me and smiled, and gave me a big hug, and told me it was okay. He told me I was strong and brave, he told me nothing would change his love for me. I felt this huge weight being lifted off me, all this time I was worried for nothing. I fell in love with him even more that night and thanked God for giving him to me.
I knew I needed help though. Having Aaron’s forgiveness and acceptance wasn’t enough. I needed to forgive myself. I knew I could never be the mom I wanted to be as long as I was carrying all this junk from my abortions with me. The absolute anguish I felt for ten years over what I did was with me every day. The ache in my heart never went away, I didn’t think anything could ever make it go away.
April 2011, I began a post-abortive study called Surrendering the Secret. It’s an 8-week study that is designed to help you heal from the heartbreak of abortion. I was skeptical, but desperate. There were four of us in the study, including the leader. As I went to the first session I was so nervous, and even though I was surrounded by women just like me, I was afraid.
Over those next 8 weeks God really did a number on my heart. I slowly started to heal, let go of my anger, forgive myself, and accept God’s forgiveness. I saw My Savior in a whole new way. I was so thankful for all he has blessed me with, and that ache in my heart finally went away. I got the opportunity to name my children, write them letters, and mourn them. It was a beautiful moment. God revealed to me that I had two girls waiting for me in Heaven.
Isabella Raine would be 14.
Jenna Michelle would be 11.
But God didn’t stop there, after trying to have another baby for two years, God blessed me with another girl, my beautiful Sydney Alysse. I treasure her. She is going to be everything I never was, I just know it.
It’s so amazing to me that fourteen years later, I am finally able to talk freely about my abortions. It will always be sad, but it doesn’t ache the way it used to. I know that God is going to use me to make a change, to help other girls like me. I am still very close to the wonderful women I went through the study with, we have a bond only women like us understand. I am so incredibly blessed to know these amazing women. I’m trained to be a leader, and will co-lead the next group of women that go through the study. I am so excited and can’t wait to see how God is going to use me. I know if I had kept my babies, I wouldn’t have my husband and the two beautiful kids I have now. That is really hard for me to think about. I can’t say I’m glad I had the abortions, but I can’t imagine not having this amazing life that God blessed me with.
What I do know is that my reasons were not valid. If anything I could have given them up for adoption, at least given them a chance at life. No reason is ever good enough, NONE. I don’t care how you spin it or justify it, abortion is wrong. It is evil, it’s murder, and it destroys lives. I was lucky; I’m still able to have children. So many women don’t get another chance. Some don’t even make it out of the clinic alive. I will fight for the rest of my life for the millions of babies that are aborted and I will not stop until abortion is once again illegal. What you hear about abortion, Planned Parenthood, and abortionists is true. It’s time that we as a nation stop turning a blind eye and stand together to put a stop to it.
As for my two precious angels, mommy loves you, and I’ll see you again someday.