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I had an Abortion.

by Be Heard on November 7, 2011

in Parenting

It’s time for me to give birth to this.  To let it go.

I should have celebrated a child’s 10th birthday last month.

I was 9 weeks pregnant, I saw the ultrasound, but I still let them walk me down that narrow corridor alone and I didn’t stop them from sucking the life out of me.  Literally.

I had an abortion.

I was 17 and had been dating my boyfriend for 6 months.  We had sex only one time.

One of the first things he said, after telling me he wasn’t ready to be a dad yet, was wondering aloud if he should marry me now?

Because that’s exactly what I wanted to hear.  Him convincing himself out loud, moments after I revealed how altered our lives were going to forever be from this moment on … to marry me?

Somehow, he also thought not having the child was the right thing to do.  But, he gave me time to think about it, and constant reminders that this was my body so ultimately it had to be my decision.

Because I was 17, I couldn’t have an abortion without parental consent, unless you went before a judge and had that waived.  Which I did.  The judge paused before signing the papers and that pause was the single most terrifying thing in my life.  He saw my terror with this decision.  He noted that I had a support system, that I could do this, that I would be okay.  My boyfriend came with me and the judge noted again, he had never had the father of the child come with the mother to petition for an abortion.

I played games with myself: If the next song on the radio is about love, I’m keeping the baby.  If my mom asks me if I’m pregnant again, I’m going to come clean.  I’m going to tell her.  I’m keeping the baby!  I want this baby.  I love this baby.  If the judge says I need my parents signature, I’m keeping the baby.  This is it.

The judge struggled, sighed and then leaned over and signed the petition.  He gave me the power to make the decision on my own, which is the one thing I wanted someone to notice that I did not want to do.

I was reckless on my way home and wanted to crash into something.  I wanted to feel something outside of my body; to be aware of the fact that I had arms and legs.  Not just a uterus.  Oh how aware I was that I was not alone.

The elaborate lie that was now my life at 17, gets twisted and spun, until I end up at the Women’s Clinic. We went together, he wanted to be there for me.  I wanted him there to catch me when I fell.  We needed each other to pull through.  To keep telling one another that this is where we were, that this was happening when one of us weakened and faltered.  It’s a long process of meetings, waiting and counseling, then more counseling and even more waiting, and lastly physical explanations of what was going to happen.  Then an ultrasound.

They weren’t going to show me the ultrasound but I asked to see it. I was completely numb.  Somewhere along the line of making the decision to be in that room, I shut down completely, stopped feeling emotions or recognizing sensations.

I wanted to be the heroine and see the baby on the screen and then get up and walk out, never looking back.

I wanted to join the mob of protesters outside of those doors and plead with myself to turn around and walk away.  There was another way.  There’s always another way.  Someone wanted to help me.  Someone wanted to tell me that it was going to be okay.

But I went inside myself, shut down, turned it off and walked through the next hour outside of my body, watching myself physically go through the motions of changing who I was for the rest of my life.

I was not a heroine: I am a coward.

My name was called and I had to part with my boyfriend. They ushered me to a waiting room in the basement of the clinic with other women, where one by one we were picked off the chair of possible and walked through the door to the chair of impossible.

I’m numbed by the nurse while she holds my hand. She reminds me that I can change my mind up until the dilation of my cervix; after that there’s no turning back.

A war so violent was waging inside of me.  I can’t tell who is louder: Me or The Shame.

Somehow, I’m comforted by the fact that the doctor is going to warn me before he dilates my cervix.  That I’ll have a last chance.

Only, he never warned me and now I’ll never know.

I had little pain but I could feel what was going on. I shut my eyes to stifle the overwhelming sense of regret. I laid there exposed for a few minutes to let the numbing medication wear off before I was taken to the bathroom and told to get dressed.  By myself.  The bathroom was no better situated than a bathroom you would find in a gas station.  Nothing to hold onto and I couldn’t stand up straight.  I couldn’t see what I was doing.  I had never been drunk, but I now know that I was standing there grasping for air as I tried to put one foot in my pants at a time – bleeding – as if I had just drank 2 bottles of tequila in an hour’s time.

I felt jilted and like I was being treated in a substandard way, but then I thought – did it matter?  Am I even allowed to think this – I just had an abortion, who the fuck cares if I can’t stand up and put my pants on.

I was instructed to sit in a lazy-boy chair to “recover.”  Little did I know that years later I would still be dragging around that mythical lazy-boy trying to recover from that day.  I was shaking violently, so they got me blankets and tried to calm me down.  There were other women, in a half stupor like me, “recovering” – watching blindly as the TV in front of us changed pictures faster than we could focus on faces.  And then I threw up all over myself.  In my hair and all over my chest, the blankets, the chair, my chin, my cheeks.

My body was expelling words I didn’t know how to say.  The storm in my stomach crashed and thrashed and became liquid venom all over my “recovery.”

I was given a couple napkins to wipe up and sent back to the bathroom to clean off.  I had vomit matted in my hair and stuck to my shirt.  I smelled of acid, which was fitting, I felt poisonous.

They gave me some tylenol and let me sit back down.  It was up to me to let them know when I felt I was ready to go.  I wanted to run out of there and be taken away.  I wanted to be so far away from that last hour.  I said I was ready and they helped me walk back up the same corridor.  I was greeted by my boyfriend who didn’t know what to do.  His eyes gave away his mirroring guilt of mine.  His wonder and then his immediate, flashing accuracy of seeing right through me.  I went through with it and he knew.  I’ll never forget seeing in his eyes how he saw me in that moment.

We both put our mask back on and he walked me to the car.  He didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t either.  He was nervous and trying to make me feel at ease.  That’s when I realized I had another decision to make, I could either deal with this right now, I could face it and we could get through this together and then see where the pieces fell, or I could laugh it off.  Forget about it.  Bury it.

I chose to bury it.  To pretend that I was so looped up on the medicine that I didn’t know which way was up. God, how I hated myself.  The car got quiet and I turned to the window to cry silently while he drove me to my safe house.  Not home.  Couldn’t go there and bleed all weekend, cramp and express hormonal milk.  No, I hid.

From there life went on and I waged this constant war of fear every minute of every day.  I secretly read about pregnancy online, following along with the “would be” due date.  I gained weight and fed myself self-loathing words of hate.  Our parents found out and confronted us.  I remember all I wanted to know was if I had had the baby, would they have still loved me?  And through tearful confirmations they hugged me and said, we love you now and we would have loved you then and we will love you forever.

I’m not sure I’ll ever feel that way about myself.

The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.

Crystal November 7, 2011 at 7:55 am

I cannot imagine the heartbreak that you are going through…even 10 years later.

Brittany November 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

Agreed. Every part of my chest ached as I read this.

What a heartbreaking decision and experience.

Cat @Breakfast to Bed November 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

cosigned.

Christina November 7, 2011 at 9:21 am

I am so sorry you are still struggling. Your words brought me to tears, and I just want to give you a hug.

Maffle November 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

You are amazing for sharing this story. My heart broke for you as I read it. I hope that sharing it helped you, even if in a small way. Thank you.

pgoodness November 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

Oh, I hurt for you. I’m so sorry that they didn’t take care of you and that you felt like you had to bury your pain. I’m glad you shared here – I hope it helps with your healing.

theMrs November 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

i am so sorry to hear of what you went through and so proud of you for telling your story. i just have to encourage you to get some post abortion counseling. you do not have to live with this pain forever. there is help for you. it doesn’t matter how long it’s been. there is HOPE. you will never regret reaching out for it.
http://hopeafterabortion.com/

Dawn November 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

I don’t know how to help you forgive yourself, but, oh, I would if I could. My heart just aches for you, this is such a burden to carry, and you are still so young… You know this already, but we all do the best we can with what we have; and honey, so did you. Who can ever know the “best” thing to do at 17?? You were just a child yourself. You did the best you could, that is all anyone could do. Peace to you, and love.

Amanda C November 7, 2011 at 10:08 am

That took so much courage to share with the world. I empathize, as I’m going through the same thing, only 22 years after the fact. I was 17 at the time also and about 15 wks pregnant. My boyfriend was 18. We were told if we were both 18 they’d want us to keep the baby. I would’ve been 18 at least three months before delivery. To borrow your words, I was so numb at what was going on I didn’t realize that and didn’t fight for it. I reached out to the boyfriend recently and have talked to him about it since we didn’t talk about it then. We had dated an entire year before it happened and then even another year afterward, until I went to college. I haven’t talked to him since 1997 yet was on the phone with him last night, catching up. Like you, I had buried the feelings and memories of what happened then, only to have them resurface a few months ago for unknown reasons. I finally allowed myself to grieve over a life that should’ve been brought into this world, now I know that. I understand how difficult your story was to share; you’re definitely not alone.

BFF November 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

This could be my best friend’s story. The radio games! Other people do that?! She cried about it every day for 2 years. Every. Day.

Now, nearly 15 years later, she has a beautiful child and is a wonderful mom– the mom she was meant to be…just not at that time.

Painful but wonderfully-expressed story. Thanks for sharing.

P November 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

thank you for sharing. it’s a long struggle, i know.
i have a very, very similar story. it’s not that i regret my decision, i am just still torn with the “what ifs”. several years later, i still remember the month when i would have given birth. it is a long healing process for some of us…

Erin November 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

This hurts my heart. Thank you for sharing the brutal reality. I pray you will find the hope you need, and the peace you desire. (((hugs)))

Nina November 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Thank You!!! I have never had an abortion but I have been through other really bad things and I have found that the best way to heal for me has been to use my story to help others. You never know how many lives you just saved! And not only the babies but also the mothers that could have died of complications, Or even suicide because of the depression. God is holding your baby sweetie and even though I can’t even imagine the pain that you have to live with I can say that at least you can hold on to the possibility to see your child again. Thank you also to “Curvy Girl Guide” Usually people try to squash anything that is not totally liberal and politically correct. Thank you for letting this girl tell her story!

The Blaqnite November 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Your story was what I wanted my daughter to avoid having to experience when she was considering an abortion although she was much older than you. I’m happy I talked her out of having an abortion, because I have an awesome grandson, born 4 hrs. before we would have shared the same birthday! My daughter was dead set on having the abortion but only because the father walked away. I hope you find peace and are able to forgive yourself. You may not feel as though you’re deserving of forgiveness, but you are and you’re no different than millions of other people who have done things that they thought and believed were unforgivable, but God forgives you and I hope you will too one day!

Amber November 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

It takes so much strength to share a story like this. I hope you find some degree of peace in putting it out there.

EG November 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm

My heart is breaking for you. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope it helps bring you some healing. I hope that you can forgive yourself; forgive the child you were at 17. I’m sure you’ll always be changed from the experience, but I hope you can let go of the guilt.

Untypically Jia November 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm

My heart aches so much for you hun.

I’ve had three friends go through with abortions and they’ve all had the same feelings as you. Two of them I had the ability to try and talk them out of it, but when you’re in a high stressed situation and the “father” says to “take care of it” or something equivalent, there’s just not a good way to fight back against that I’ve found. I’ve seen their suffering now and I pray for their healing every day.

And I will now also pray for yours. <3

Jen November 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I’m so sorry that you are still in pain after all these years. In some ways, I can relate. I got pregnant at 21 with a guy I had been seeing for 1 month. We had been using protection, I was broke…in college…etc. I was paralyzed with indecision for weeks and then finally decided on the abortion. It’s not that I regret it really…but there are a lot of what ifs. The guy and I have been together for 5 years now…so my fears of being a single mom were probably wrong. I still remember the month and day of the abortion. I felt relief after, and have enjoyed my life since, but at least a few days a month I mourn a little bit. I feel selfish and angry…but don’t know that I would have made a different decision if I could go back and do it again. I hope that you are able to reach out and find comfort somewhere to move forward from your pain.

Jennifer November 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I had a friend that got pregnant her senior year in high school. Her boyfriend didn’t want the baby and her mother didn’t want her to have it either so they made her get an abortion. She didn’t want one, but facing that opposition she wasn’t strong enough to say anything. I’m not sure how she feels about it today, but I do know that she has two beautiful daughters that look just like her and she has managed to find happiness in her life.

Forgiving ourselves is often the hardest thing we will ever do even though we all deserve it.

Suzanne November 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone.

SwingCheese November 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I was friends with a girl, years ago, who broke down one night, over at my house, and sobbed as she told me that this was her due date. She got pregnant at 15, her mom took her to have an abortion, and here we were, five years later, and she was still torn up about it. I just held her, stroked her hair, gave her kleenex, and listened. I hope she has finally learned to forgive herself and has made peace with that decision, and I hope the same for you. I don’t know anyone who has made this decision lightly.

Tina November 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I am so very sorry. You were so very brave. I hope your heart heals soon.
best,
Tina

Jana November 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm

You are not a coward. You are actually very brave. I hope you find forgiveness for yourself and peace with your decision. Thanks for sharing your story.

M November 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I went through this too, though my story is very different from yours. My baby would be 7 now. Please get some help so you can find your way out of this. There are so many others suffering too. This site helped me: http://www.afterabortion.com/ There’s all kinds of help plus message boards where women help each other through this.

Nicole November 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Thank you for having the courage to post your emotions. I, too, had an abortion. I was only 18 years old. I’m 39 years old now and I still struggle with my emotions towards the situation. It’s hard for me to imagine having a 20 year old child right now. It’s a dark secret I carry around with me. Only my ex-boyfriend and his mom know it happened. There was a song playing in the room where it happened and, to this day, I can’t hear that song without crying. You’re definitely not alone. I wish I could give you a gigantic hug!

bellawriter (Nuala Reilly) November 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm

My heart almost stopped reading this. How incredibly brave of you to post it. And what an amazing place to post it to: this community of women who will send you all kinds of support in the comments and who will applaud your bravery and thank you for being a voice to something that rarely gets heard. Much love sent your way.

Rachel November 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Thank you for posting this.

Jo November 9, 2011 at 8:29 am

Thanks for sharing such a difficult memory. It’s not easy going through what we put ourselves through but talking about it helps. It took me well over ten years to ‘adjust’ to what I did when I was 20 (18 years ago). I had all the emotions you talked about so I understand. Just as I was beginning to come through the other side I found out that my husband and I can’t have children. I thought I’d always have the option. (But that’s another story and you are still very young). My guilt came back tenfold… I thought I was being punished.

I’ve never forgotten about it and how he or she would be celebrating it’s 18th birthday this month (I found out that day that my uterus is tilted backwards so I was unable to see it at 7.5 weeks, a bit early but no way was I going to be able to come back). It took me longer to get over the termination then it did to being date raped. I never did tell my parents and still struggle with that fact.

Time is a great healer although the scars will always remain. Aother ‘hug’ for you xo

Ashly November 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

Wow. I cannot imagine the pain you felt and are still feeling. My heart breaks for you. This story should be posted for all teenage girls to see. It might make them think twice about their actions and decisions.

Jenny November 17, 2011 at 5:28 pm

My very best friend went through the same thing at the same age and made the same decision. I did not know her then, but I know and love her know. It has devistated her life. Even 16 years later, she thinks about it daily. Her confidence issues and the bad choices in men – I could go on and on. I wish there was some way I could help her and eveyone that has gone through this heal. I feel helpless to help her.

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dmoon November 21, 2011 at 1:55 am

Mine would be two by now, on december. i can remember it was conceived on april 5th, i found out three weeks later and took the pills on may 5th. i somehow know it was a boy, i cant tell why, but it felt like a boy. i was on meds for a year and a half, but never discussed the problem. i was 24 and starting putting things together, and the father was a total loser. i couldn’t face the problem I didnt want to be a burden for my family. i’m so sorry and so scared i would never be a mom, for the side effects. i don’t know because i lied to my doctors everytime. i imagine how it would be by now, and it would have been very hard. i’m so sorry, but i tell myself it was the right decision.
thanks for the post, i need to cried it out too.

Barnali December 5, 2011 at 10:14 pm

This is a heartbreaker. I am so sorry for your loss.

Wendy March 22, 2012 at 10:43 am

You’re not alone.

Holly October 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I was pregnant (with twins, the nurse told me). I didn’t have a surgical abortion, I took the pills. At the appointment they give you one that kills the fetus, then you take another the next day to start the contractions.

The feeling of walking around with my two dead babies inside of me was horrible. I felt like I could feel their lives slowly faded away until I was alone. (This is where it gets TMI, and a bit gross.) During the contractions, when I went to change from one pad to the next, I found what looked like an egg yolk on my pad. I stared at it, tears streaming down my face, for several minutes before carefully wrapping it and tossing it in the trash. I’ve never completely forgiven myself, but I’ve at peace with my past. I hope you find that peace as well. <3

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