The thought of what could have been

  Michelle
New Jersey,  United States
 
  We had just gotten engaged in Oct on my 21st birthday. My fiancĂ© and I always practiced "safe-sex", except for this one day in December. I knew immediately that I was going to be pregnant.  I told him this and said to him, what are we going to do? He told me that he would let me make that decision, and he would be okay with it.  I couldn't have this baby, I thought to myself.  How can I possibly "have" to get married?  Way too many girls my age were having babies after getting pregnant by their boyfriends, and I didn't want to be like them. I wanted the big wedding, my dream wedding, and a pregnancy would be out of the question. That's how I saw it, a pregnancy, not a baby.

I tried to make the appointment as early as possible in the pregnancy.  I wanted to make sure that it was still "just a clump of cells" and not a fully formed human.  I got to the clinic, and I remember going in for the ultrasound.  The tech asked if I wanted to see the heartbeat.  I wanted to, I really did, but I thought to myself that if I had, I wouldn't go through with the abortion, so I declined.  Soon I was whisked into the room for the procedure and, although I wasn't asleep, I was only semi-conscious.  There was no dignity afterwards, and, except for remembering being on a cot and a nurse pressing a maxi-pad between my legs for the bleeding, I don't remember much more.  However, I knew as soon as I left that it was a huge mistake.  I wanted to rewind the day, go back, and look at my baby's heartbeat and make the decision to walk out, be brave, and have my baby.

My fiancĂ© became my husband. After we were married, he would find my crying and ask why.  At first I wouldn't tell him, but I finally broke down one day and said how I wished I had never had this abortion.  It was my cross to bear for the rest of my life.  He said that he, too, felt the same way. We cried together, mourning the loss of our child at our own hands. That was the first I spoke to anyone about it.   I kept it to myself for many years after.  

Years later, I decided I wanted to go back to church.  I knew that the only way that I would be able to find peace is by speaking to my priest. I feared doing this because I knew (in my heart) I would be ex-communicated, but I had to face up to what I did.  I sobbed, barely able to speak as I told my priest what I had done some 12 years earlier.  Instead of condemnation, I found comfort and forgiveness.  It's what had led me to be able to speak about this tragedy today.  

I have directly saved at least the lives of two babies over the years.  It's not many, but it's something. I hope that there are others that I don't know of.  I do what I can to make sure no other woman has to go through what I have.  No other baby should be sacrificed for any reason and certainly not for pride or selfishness.  I still live with this cross to bear, and the thought of what could have been will haunt me for a lifetime.

   
   
Priests for Life
www.priestsforlife.org