I’d escaped an abusive first love and a circle of friends determined to destroy themselves with pills, alcohol, and each other. Then I survived a suicide attempt and was forced to live with my father, a man who had a bad temper and sometimes made it worse by binge drinking.
I’d gotten my worker’s permit at age 15. My parents’ inability to balance their budgets made me determined to fend for myself. Just before my senior year of high school I was working more than ever, and I knew my dad wouldn’t keep me in his house much longer. This made it harder not to rely on my boyfriend for the affection I craved, and one night changed everything.
It was only time we didn’t use protection, but I felt the conception shortly after. I knew I didn’t have it in me to put a child up for adoption, and I had already heard a couple of girls at school talk about their abortions. Pro-abortion talk was everywhere. In movies, sophomore health class, women everywhere – all were screaming that it was a health right. When confessing the positive result to my boyfriend, he saw it as our only solution.
We discussed the situation openly because I believed it was his decision too, but in the end, I was the one who felt the outcome. I didn’t want to force him to become a father against his will. So, despite the fact that I didn’t want to abort my baby, I agreed to it.
I cried in private. Everyone acted like abortion was normal, so I hid my true feelings. I rubbed my womb and talked to the little thing growing in me and apologized countless times beforehand.
I felt guilty, guilty for getting pregnant and guilty for allowing the father of my child to convince me to walk into a clinic that stunk of antiseptic and disinfectant. My stomach twisted, but somehow I checked in and was called forward.
I was taken back to an ultrasound room. The state law required ultrasounds before every abortion. I clenched my teeth and held my breath as the technician squeezed jelly on the device and rolled it onto my abdomen. The technician showed me what I was giving up. It made everything more real.
I knew what I was doing before I got there, but I gaped at the image. “It’s so small.” I hesitated, ready to change my mind.
Before I could escape, the technician rushed me to the procedure room. “We’re almost there,” she said.
The coldness in her voice made things worse. The image remained with me, a tiny peanut of a potential person, so small and helpless. I couldn’t forget it. I never will.
This was back when they still used a suction device for abortions even in the earlier pregnancy stages. It wasn’t as simple as taking a few pills. I was brought into the procedure room and told to get onto a cold table, put my feet in the stirrups, and lay back. My legs shook.
The doctor rolled a device over. It was a hideous tube meant to pass into my body. Tears filled my eyes. I didn’t want to stay there another second, but I felt that I had no other choice. I let the doctor vacuum an eight-week-old fetus from my body.
I tensed the moment it detached. I felt the loss the second it was done. The sensation of a life being ripped away is an indescribable horror. Emptiness washed over me.
Afterward, I spent weeks crying, lying around mourning. When I went back to school and work, the cramps and the after-bleeding made the mental and spiritual pain so much worse. But I was a well-indoctrinated girl. I told myself my heart wasn’t broken by the procedure and that I did what I needed to.
For years I parroted those propagandist lines. And I punished myself. I told myself I gave up my chance at motherhood and shouldn’t be allowed to have children. It took years before I finally forgave myself and looked for redemption in life.
The birth of my first daughter not only offered me a sense of peace, but it was also an awakening. I realized the entirety of the situation and just how deeply that single abortion years before wounded me.
Around this time, I started writing and getting published. For years I wrote and explored my inner psyche, but it wasn't until I got pregnant with my 4th and youngest child that I was ready to open up about my abortion. Writing it was hard, but once the piece was finished, I found that many publications, even moderate ones wouldn't give my story a voice because they didn't want to support anything that could be considered pro-life. My personal experience suddenly felt political. It made it harder but more important.
And when discussing it with my daughters I knew I had to offer what I went through to others in the hopes that I could save them the pain I went through. Finally, Evie Magazine published my story, and I wanted to do more.
I believe in the power of healing, faith, and love, but also the support from others who have experienced similar situations or expressed their sympathy or understanding... and that's why I am silent no more!