I'm one of hundreds of thousands of middle aged women who carried around a secret for decades. The kind of secret that can cause nightmares, flashbacks, and unsolicited anger and rage. Some women with this secret turn to substance abuse, risky or dysfunctional relationships, or suicide.
I'm one of the 53 million women who is responsible for killing an unborn child since the Supreme Court made it legal in the US in 1973.
I grew up in a Christian home. However, in my home we never talked about sex, about how to develop healthy male-female relationships, or about the power of sexual attraction.
As soon as I was on my own in my early twenties, I learned that there were plenty of men who were happy to teach young women like me about sex. In exchange for attention and acceptance, I found myself compromising the Biblical standards I had been taught. Subtly, I allowed myself to be seduced into a physical relationship. It only took the right opportunity and some spiked punch and I was spending the night with a man.
I started getting nervous about the time my period was due. I rationalized those thoughts away. However now I realized how powerful physical attraction was, and I decided that I’d better go get some birth control.
I had never been to a doctor except one my parents had chosen, but I knew that you could get the pill confidentially at Planned Parenthood so I went there. They asked me to leave a urine sample before entering the exam room and I didn’t think anything of it.
A nurse came in and told me I was six weeks pregnant.
I remember the immediate feeling of shock. I was very numb like I was in a thick fog. They said it was just a blob of tissue at this point and asked what I planned to do about it. They didn’t offer to show me pictures, do an ultrasound, or discuss my options. I thought since abortion was legal, it must be okay, especially since this was just a blob of cells. They sent me home with an appointment for an abortion two weeks later, telling me that if I couldn’t afford it there were government funds that could cover it.
There were no pregnancy counseling centers then. I didn’t know where to turn for advice. Adoption never even entered my mind. All I could picture was my parents’ devastation; what I couldn't picture was raising a child as a single mom. Suddenly all the things I had rationalized away about this relationship became crystal clear and I knew that the man I'd slept with wouldn't be there for me.
It sounded like a quick, easy way out of this crisis, so I tried to numb myself emotionally and went to the abortion appointment. It wasn’t until I was lying on that table while a doctor turned on the suction machine that my emotional force-field broke down and I realized the enormous gravity of what I was doing. I will never forget it. I started sobbing and all the doctor could say was “this isn’t that painful, quit crying”.