I met baby’s father in high school. Six months into our relationship, we started having premarital sex. We dated for almost two years, and I was nearing my time to graduate. I was 19 and had my own apartment, and was busy with all the preparation for the graduation ceremony and finals. One day, my baby’s father came to my apartment with another girl, so I broke up with him. Two weeks later, we got back together, and almost immediately, I became pregnant.
Of course, this was not what I had planned at all. The father of my child was a cheater I could not trust. He hadn’t yet graduated high school, and I thought having an abortion would be best for both of us. Then none of our parents would ever have to know I got pregnant.
I had the pregnancy test done at Planned Parenthood, and told an employee there that I was considering abortion. She told me she would set it up at the clinic in Peoria, Illinois. She even warned me that some women suffer mental health issues after abortion. I seriously considered that for one second, but then all the other excuses flooded my brain and crowded out her words.
I started having morning sickness at school and I was afraid people would start to talk. But one day, when I was actually settling into the idea of being pregnant, the phone rang. It was the abortion clinic. They told me they were ready to make the appointment. I said I needed more time to think about it. The lady told me that the further along you are—the longer you wait—the more in jeopardy you are. She kept saying that over and over. Finally I caved and made an appointment.
My baby’s father wasn’t able to take me, so his uncle and aunt took me. His aunt was actually pregnant, too, and had even agreed to raise our baby. I think my baby’s father had them take me in the hopes that I would change my mind on the way. He wanted our baby, and wanted his aunt and uncle to take it—but I thought abortion was better for all of us.
I remember I was scared driving up there. I was worried someone I knew might see me, and was worried the protesters would recognize me or I would be on TV. When I went inside, I was greeted by a woman at the counter, who told me how much the abortion would cost. It was more than I could afford, but I gave her the money. I didn’t pay my rent that month. Once the money was laid down I kept thinking it’s too late now to turn back.
I went to a room where they checked for my baby’s heartbeat. I heard only a tiny snippet of a heartbeat, but I wasn’t supposed to hear that. I asked if there would be a sonogram and she said there would be, but when I asked if I could see it, she said “We don’t do that. It’s only to see how far along you are.”
I put on a gown and waited in a room with other girls. We were all scared. I finally asked an older girl if this was her first time. She said it was her seventh abortion! I thought, how does that happen? Then it was my turn. I remember lying on a table. The doctor said he would tell me when he was about to begin. A nurse talked to me calmly and held my hand.
I remember the sound of the suction machine, followed by the worst pain I ever felt in my life. I almost passed out, and the nurse patted my hand and spoke to me to wake me up. It felt like an eternity, and then it was done. I felt so empty inside. They took me to the “recovery room” and I sat on a comfy chair, but it wasn’t long before they said I had to leave.
I rode home in awkward silence. I was sad and in pain. I spent my time healing at my baby’s father’s house with his mom. Nothing was the same. I fell into an abyss. I wanted to die.
When it was time for me to register for college, I tried to put it all behind me and move forward, but my heart ached and the pain would not go away. I had nightmares and could not sleep. My baby’s father seemed to be trying to make a ‘replacement baby’ right away but I was determined not to get pregnant again.
When I started riding with some classmates from school, my baby’s father got suspicious and accused me of cheating. One day he smacked me across the face. I was shocked. A voice inside my head said, you made him this way. I determined this abuse would only get worse and I knew I had to leave him.
After our breakup, I started dating one of the guys I rode to school with, thinking I could get over my ex faster that way. I didn’t know it doesn’t work that way. I dated the new guy for a while and then broke up. I then tried to go back to my baby’s father, but he was unwilling to take me back.
Eventually, I got another apartment and worked several jobs to pay rent until I found a traveling photography job. I was still sad and continued going in the wrong direction, until 15 years later, when I heard a brave woman tell her abortion story to our church of over 180 people. I attended a “Surrendering the Secret” post-abortion class hosted by that same woman and another woman. It was an 8-week class in the hostess’s home. That was 6 years ago. I found hope and healing from Jesus for the first time during that class. It was during that time I realized God named her Cassie Marie. I was so relieved to write her a letter and tell her I’m so sorry for killing her. I hope to one day to see her in heaven.
Then one evening not long ago I watched a video on YouTube by [former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist] Abby Johnson. When she said she witnessed an abortion on a sonogram and the baby started to flail its arms and legs, I suddenly became overwhelmingly ashamed all over again. I began to cry and could not sleep or eat. That’s when I decided to go to a different post-abortion healing weekend retreat. It dawned on me that my aborted daughter, Cassie Marie, would have been 30 years old that weekend.
I cried a lot during the retreat, but they were healing tears. I was so thankful to acknowledge my daughter’s birthday in heaven. At the end, I received a printed acknowledgement of life with my daughter’s name on it. I felt as though that gave my daughter dignity and citizenship. The fact that I will never know where her remains are makes me sad, but everything will be made right when Jesus returns.
I plan to attend a National Day of Remembrance in front of Planned Parenthood every year to give myself permission to mourn the loss of my baby girl. That’s something most post abortion survivors don’t give themselves. Now, I want to dedicate the rest of my life to ending abortion in our nation and the world.
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” ~Ephesians 2:4-5 (New International Version)