I had my first abortion at 23 while I was proudly attending my first year in dental hygiene school. The program instructors strongly urged us not to get pregnant while in the program, because it would make getting through it very difficult. My then boyfriend, now husband of almost 16 years, and I became unintentionally pregnant, and I never even thought about the baby as a life. I was raised to think life started at birth.
I pretended that I wasn't pregnant for a few weeks while I waited for my appointment at the abortion doctor's office. It was a doctor's office that just handled abortions. The day I went, I was anxious to get it over with so I could, as I thought I could move on with my life. I signed in and waited in a cold, white room with other women with their apparent partners and girls with older women who seemed to be their caretakers. No one talked or made any eye contact. It was if somewhere in our souls we were already mourning and feeling deep guilt over what we were about to do. The feeling in the room was of deep pain.
When they called my name, they ushered me to a room with consent forms and a video to watch. I believe the video was an attempt to show us other options, but barely remember it. I signed the form telling me all the potential risks, including my own death. Then I waited for my turn to be called into the surgery room. I remember it being a big white room with a bed in the center, a horrible vacuum-looking machine, and instruments nearby. The doctor and nurse were kind enough, but it just seemed as if they were having another day at their job with no empathy for me. Another disturbing memory is of something rigid rubbing against my foot as the doctor passed and leaned over me while my legs were in the stirrups. I remember beginning to fall asleep but being surprised because it felt like it was from within his pants. I just told myself I was imagining things, but I still cannot get it out of my head. I fell asleep and awoke in a room next to other girls and women on stretchers waking. I began vomiting from the sedation. Next, I remember my boyfriend coming back to see me and waiting for me to be ready to go. We left in silence.
We stayed at a hotel so I could be comfortable and alone while in pain that night. It was one of the worst nights of my life.
As I tried to move past, it I found that I could not and the pain and mourning after the abortion was more than I could bear as we discussed human development during school. I cried to myself, hoping no one could see, as we discussed the age in utero when the baby has a heartbeat, because it was the week that I aborted my first child. I cry for this child to this day as if it happened yesterday. It has been 17 years.
I have discussed it at reconciliation with my priest but still find difficulty in forgiving myself. I am deciding to get more help today! I want to forgive myself and hopefully help prevent other women and girls from experiencing this horrible feeling and that's why I am silent no more!