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If I Could Redo Everything
I just turned 20 and had gotten back with my boyfriend whom I had been dating since the age of 16. We had an "on again, off again" relationship. I lived with my mother, but she had gone on a trip. I had my boyfriend over, and one thing led to another. I had used over the counter contraceptives, the ones that dissolve. I missed my period, but over the counter pregnancy tests had not been invented.  I had to wait two weeks after my missed period to go to the gynecologist for a test. I scheduled an appointment for a pregnancy test.  I was pregnant. The nurse asked me what I was going to do, and I told her I didn't know. As I walked out to my car, a man followed me out from the clinic and gave me directions to the abortion clinic 30 miles away.

I told my boyfriend I was pregnant, and he was scared. He asked me if I told my mother. I told him no. He asked me, “What are we going to do?”  I told him, "What else can we do? I will have to have an abortion.” I said it, but I wanted deep inside for him to offer to marry me, although he was only 19. He asked me how many of these I had in the past, which really hurt. I told him none. I did not want to have an abortion, but I scheduled one for the next week.

A friend who was fairly promiscuous had already had a couple abortions. She acted like it was no big deal and offered to drive me to the clinic. She was also Catholic. She told me to just go to confession afterward and all would be OK and I wouldn't go to hell.

Although it had only been seven weeks since my last period, I began to feel love for my baby. I went to church, lit candles and prayed, asking God if possible to forgive me for what I was about to do. I remember thinking how I could not burden my mother who was 62 and had just lost my dad four years earlier. She already had to raise two teens alone. I knew my older brother and sister would ridicule me, and I was a people pleaser. I remember telling my best friend that I wanted to keep the baby, and her telling me there was no way I could do this. I was scared and felt so alone.

I remember the whole drive there I was a nervous wreck, and I wanted to turn around. I remember sitting next to a women at the clinic who said this was like her 4th procedure. She was married, but her husband did not want children. A woman took me into an office and read a list of consequences. One was if I was deeply religious, it would give me mental problems. I walked out to my friend and asked her if I was deeply religious and she told me no. I went and told the woman no.

I was given a gown and put on a table with my feet in stirrups. The doctor walked in and began the procedure with a nurse on my right side. They were dilating me with straws and then began a suction that gave me horrible cramps. After the procedure, I was checked for bleeding and given juice and cookies.  I was told to lay down for a certain length of time and was then released to go home.

I tried to pretend nothing happened, but I was an absolute nervous wreck. I went to work and college, but I drank at night or smoked pot to relieve the stress. My personality went from carefree to overly responsible. I switched friends that were better role models and clung to my boyfriend. Our relationship became closer somehow, and we eventually married four years later. We now have four beautiful children, and I often think of my 5th. The pregnancies triggered hidden emotions.

I realized fully what I had done, especially when I saw an ultrasound at six weeks after I missed a period. I saw a baby and not a bunch of cells. The shame and sadness was unreal. I clung to my children and tried to be the perfect mother. I am so unhappy with this decision, and I wish I could redo everything. That is why I am silent no more. If my story can help just one other woman avoid making the same mistake I did, then I will be very happy.


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