I believe the guilt I have over my abortion decision is unique. I was raised in a Baptist church, even taught Sunday School. When I fell in love with my soon to be husband, I thought it was forever. The first time we were together, I prayed to God to give me a child. I had had an appointment with a doctor the prior week to be put on birth control. She wanted to wait until after my next period. I never made it to that time. I was pregnant.
My boyfriend and I immediately made plans to get married. I was excited and scared. The only person I told was my brother. Then I started fighting with my boyfriend, sometimes the arguments getting physical. I became unsure of the relationship. My boyfriend convinced me that we didn't need to have a baby but he didn't have to work hard to convince me. I was already embarrassed and scared, so I saw an abortion as an easy out.
I called my brother and he called two different clinics. He made the appointment for me with the clinic he said was "friendlier." We went to the appointment. The receptionist gave me a brochure hidden in another magazine to read about abortions. I went to a chair, acted like I read the material, handed it back to her, and left. My boyfriend and I spent the night in a hotel the night before the procedure, passing the required waiting time.
The next day, we went to the clinic. They took me to a room in the basement. I was asked if I still wanted the procedure. No one told me what was happening; no one counseled me. I was given a gown to change into and taken to the room where the procedure was to be done. I was given a drug to relax me. My boyfriend was in the room with me, holding my hand. As I faded in and out, I remember thinking, "I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this." I never said the words aloud.
After it was over, we started driving home. I cried and told my boyfriend what I had been thinking during the procedure. He told me if he had known, he would have carried me out of there.
We were married a month later. The guilt and self-punishment began to eat at me immediately. I would wake at night with nightmares about going to Hell. I would have cold sweats. I would fall to my knees, praying to God for forgiveness. I felt like God wouldn't forgive me because He had given me the baby I asked for,and I had murdered him.
Within a year, my marriage fell apart and we divorced. I believe our abortion experience was something our relationship couldn't survive.
I have since married again, a man I love dearly. I have 1 child. I struggled with depression for years, even becoming suicidal more than once. I couldn't keep the nightmares and feelings of helpless despair at bay. It wasn't until 12 years after my abortion that I sought the help of a dear Christian friend. She was the first person I openly shared my experience with and she responded with love and caring. She helped me see that God could forgive me.