I had an abortion because I was seventeen years old and was not even sure who the father was. There were two possible boys who could have been the father. I also did not know that it was an actual baby with arms, legs, a face, hands, eyes, etc. I was under the impression it was a "clump of cells". Also, I rationalized that because abortion was legal, then it must be OK. I did not want a baby at all. I felt I could not take care of it by myself. I was very cold-hearted at the time and just wanted the problem gone.
I do not remember anything about the abortion procedure. I must have blocked it from my memory.
Immediately after the abortion I felt depressed and in grief. The grief shocked me. Your body grieves whether you wanted the baby or not. I avoided my friends and did not go out of the house until my senior year of high school started. I had the abortion the summer before my senior year.
As time went on after the abortion I felt guilty, but tried to make myself feel better by being Pro-Choice. I became promiscuous, abused alcohol, and skipped school. I didn't even graduate with my class because I had skipped so much. Then I moved to another city, and then another. I became a workaholic and addicted to shopping and buying things I didn't need. I had no friends - only work acquaintances. I spent all my time alone or at work. I even worked at home. I was depressed and stressed out. I wanted to go back to the Catholic Church (I had stopped going in my early teens). So I called Project Rachel and they set me up with a priest to hear my confession. I felt better immediately after being forgiven and absolved. However, after awhile I didn't feel forgiven anymore. I hated myself. I was so depressed and stressed that I became psychotic and ended up in a psychiatric hospital and have been unable to work since 1993. No medication has been able to take away the depression and anxiety. It helps, but not enough for me to be able to go back to work. I get upset very easily. I have no friends. I am still very depressed.
I found help and forgiveness from confessing again and attending a Rachel's Vineyard retreat. That retreat was the best thing I could have done. I feel truly forgiven and have been able to forgive myself, which I never thought I would be able to do. The retreat allows you to grieve openly for your baby with support from facilitators and others who have had abortions. All of the people at the retreat were so kind, gentle, and supportive. I did not even want to go home afterwards.
I would highly recommend attending a Rachel's Vineyard retreat to anyone who is suffering post-abortive trauma. You do not have to be Catholic, and it is open to fathers, grandparents, siblings - anyone affected by abortion.