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The Biggest Regret
I know every situation is different and every person is different. I don't think I should tell anyone what to do one way or the other, but I'd like to share my story.
I was in a long distance relationship, and I unknowingly impregnated my girlfriend a few weeks before she left to go to school. A few months later we found out she was pregnant. I hadn't seen her the entire time. I had just finished school and was in massive debt, and she was just starting post-grad school. There was absolutely no way we wanted to have a kid or could support a kid. I'm not religious, but she is religious. However, both of us thought in what at the time felt like practical terms, and we decided to have an abortion.
At the time it didn't bother me too much. Now more than 5 years later, I feel incredibly guilty about our decision. For the past month or so, I've felt incredible amounts of anxiety and depression. I've missed a lot of time at work, and I find little or no joy in everything I do. I wish I could go back in time and put the child up for adoption. What I did haunts my thoughts almost 100% of the time. I feel so much guilt and grief towards the decision that was made. At first it felt like the practical thing to do, but now it just feels like the most selfish thing that I could have possibly done. A lot of times for something like this to happen, a person experiences a trigger, such as seeing a young child that might look like what they envision their child would have looked like. For me there was no single trigger that I can pinpoint. Maybe it was a number of small things, or maybe it was because I'm now an older, more mature person, and I better understand the mistake I made in my youth.
Looking back, there are so many things that I wish I had known back then. I really wish I had more knowledge on how childbirth works. I've come to realize that the fetus is far from a "bundle of cells”. I wish I knew that there were resources out there that would have counseled me. I wish they had let me know that, although it seems like a quick and easy fix, the feelings of loss, regret, and guilt would be likely to come at some point in the future.
The fact that it has started to bother me to this degree such a long time after it occurred makes me want to tell people to really think about this decision. Think not just how it makes you feel now but think about how you might feel 1, 2, 5 or 10 years down the road. It didn't trouble me too much 5 years ago, but now it is the biggest regret of my life.
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