I don't recall making the appointment. I remember the clinic told me that they could not do an abortion until I was 12 weeks along. I don't know why they made me wait unless it was to see if I would change my mind. I nearly did. I remember, probably a week before the appointment, thinking to myself that if my boyfriend was willing to consider keeping the baby, I would not go through with it.
I went to him. He was in the garage and I walked in and didn't even have a chance to speak and he took one look and me and said "NO!!! We are not keeping it." I almost think that this was not the only conversation we had about it but maybe not. I don't know. I recall walking into the bedroom and saying aloud "I am going to kill my baby...." I was trying to feel something. I was trying to conjure the horror that this should bring me but all I felt was dead inside. It didn't seem real to me. The child didn't seem real. I knew intellectually that I was pregnant but it just didn't seem real.
All of these memories are little snippets. I don't know if I am getting the timeline right. I recall the procedure itself. I don't remember getting to the clinic, the waiting room, undressing anything of that. I recall being on the table, the room seemed dark to me. I don't know if the room was actually dark because that doesn't seem logical but that is what I remember. I recall them telling me the steps as they were doing it. The pain was excruciating.
When they said that they were done I begged them to lie to me. I asked them if there was a baby in there and I asked them to "please tell me there wasn't a baby". They were kind and lied to me and said that there wasn't, just some tissue. I didn't really believe them but it was kind I guess.
I recall them telling me to get dressed and they left me there alone, lying on the table in the dark. I lay there and sobbed. I couldn't stop crying because I knew the truth of what I had done as much as I could at that moment. After a while, a nurse came in and told me to be quiet, that I was upsetting the other patients. I understood then that grieving was not allowed. I did it, I made that choice, now there was no room for any grief.
So I walked out of that clinic and pretended; pretended that it was no big deal, pretended that I was fine. I even tried to go have lunch with my boyfriend at a restaurant one hour after killing my child. After I vomited in the bathroom of the place he took me home and tucked me into bed. How very caring of him.
That was the last time I remember crying about what I had done for about 18 years.
I was weak, I didn't stand up for my child. I didn't value that little person. Looking back I realize that the process of suppression explains the drug abuse and alcohol abuse that I engaged in. I took prescription pills and drank. Most of the prescriptions were not mine. I also traveled to Canada and bought codeine. I spent about 5 years hiding in books and living other people’s lives in those books. I smoked two to four packs of cigarettes a day. I stayed with that boyfriend for 5 years even though he was emotionally abusive and occasionally physically abusive. I went from him to another abusive boyfriend. He was emotionally toxic. He didn't hit me but he tortured me emotionally. I started seeing a counselor after I started crying every day from the things he was doing. I was passive in that relationship. I finally stood up for myself. I stayed in counseling for years.
I met my husband when I was 28. We were married when I was 33. He is a good man and a good father to our children. I had my first child when I was 36. When I saw my son on ultrasound at 8 weeks along, his little heart was beating and flickering on the screen. That was the beginning of my journey that has led me to typing my story. I realized that my first child's heart was beating at 12 weeks. As my pregnancy progressed, more and more it became clear.
Even after I had my son, I didn't allow myself to feel the fullness of what I had done 16 years before. It wasn't until I had my daughter 3.5 years later that I really started facing up to what I had done.
About 8 months after she was born, I heard about a program through Focus on the Family called Heart Link which funds ultrasounds for woman at risk of abortion. I started donating to this program because I would like to think that if I had been faced with my child on that ultrasound, I would not have taken their life. I don't know if that is true, but I would like to think that it is.
Statistics support the possibility. Without the ability to see, feel or touch your child, it is impossible to understand the fullness of this false "choice". Over 80% of women at risk for abortion choose life for their child once they see them on ultrasound. That means that over 800,000 children's lives could have been saved last year if ultrasound was mandatory prior to going forward with an abortion.
I spent about 19 years thinking of my first child as a boy, but I almost wonder if the child was a girl because it was with my daughter that I really peeled open the box where this wound was festering. She is my catalyst and it was her as well as my son that made me face what I had done.
My husband is not aware of my struggle with this. It's not that I don't really think that he would be supportive but conversations that we have had in the past lead me to protect myself. When we have discussed the fact that I could have had a child, he has indicated that he probably wouldn't have been open to dating me if that was the case. So I haven't told him.
I haven't told him that for the past year, I have cried several times a week about what I have done. I haven't told him that I don't know how to forgive myself. I haven't told him that I wonder what my child would have been like, looked liked, sounded like, smelled like. How beautiful they would have been, how sweet, how loving, how frustrating, how funny, how perfect. I don't know how to process this and forgive myself. I have asked the Lord for forgiveness and I know that He has extended me His grace. Now I need to figure out how to extend myself some grace. I cannot at this point.
My abortion has affected me in ways that I could never have predicted. That death sentence for my child has been a life sentence for me. This is, I believe, as it should be. I should not skate on what I have done. It has stolen things from me that I would not have predicted. Those sweet little moments that I have with my living children, a small measure of pleasure is stolen away with those little thoughts: My first child should have had the chance to do this, taste that, laugh, cry, feel the sun, get tickled, know joy, have mommy hug and kiss, rock in the rocking chair, have bedtime stories, pick flowers. I try not to allow these thoughts color the way I react to my living children's moments. They are unaware of my inner sadness in those moments of joy and sweetness but those thoughts come. A life sentence...