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    Posted February 11, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Have you had an abortion?

    Lifelong Regret

    I had an abortion at the tender age of 16. It was a coerced abortion as I wanted to have and raise my child though I was young. For lack of proper support and given little alternatives, I had the abortion in Louisville, KY in November 1983. I had the false impression that if I went through with the abortion, parental and societal pressures would be over and that my life could get back to normal. Little did I know that when I walked out of that clinic my life would never be the same.
    Almost immediately I started having suicidal thoughts and wishes related to the abortion. I cried daily, and within 4 months of my abortion I was hospitalized for severe depression. In the 80's very little was known about the after effects of abortion, so the hospital treated me for the depression without tackling the root cause which was the abortion. After 3 months of being treated (3 months of a teenage life) I was released from the hospital and continued for another 6 months to receive outpatient treatment for depression.
    I continued on with my life and graduated high school, but my life was pretty messed up. After my abortion, I was making poor behavior decisions. These decisions were based on my lack of self-respect stemming after the abortion. In my mind, there was nothing that could possibly be worse than what I had already done. Even losing my very life at that point would have been a blessed relief in my mind. As far as I was concerned I didn’t deserve to live. I lived with guilt, depression, suicidal thoughts, sleepless nights, hearing babies cry that weren’t there, and self-destructive behavior to name just a few.
    Though I have not focused on my lack of knowledge given to me prior to my abortion, I will recall an incident that happened 2 years after my abortion. I was driving home from college one snowy weekend and there on the highway was a billboard that said “Did you know that a baby’s heart starts beating at 21 days?” What? No one told me that! What had I done??? I was so upset by just that tidbit of information that I had to pull over I was crying so hard. Why had no one told me that my baby’s heart was beating, or that she was developed and only needed time and the right environment to continue to mature and grow?
    After college I ended up marrying and having children. But even my past abortion spilled into those relationships. I was unable to completely trust my husband. And I was overprotective of my children. I had already lost one child; I was going to do everything in my power to protect my other children. I became protective to an extreme. Though my children have grown up just fine, I know my protectiveness has affected them in the sense that when they were young, I felt as if I could not let them out of my sight. Because of that they were unable to enjoy some of the childish freedoms some children get to experience.
    It was only after 16 years of living with my guilt, shame and self-destructive behaviors that I finally read an article explaining Post Abortion Syndrome. That article could have been written about me! I had no idea that PAS even existed. I had just about every one of the symptoms of PAS. This was the beginning of my road to recovery from my past abortion.
    The American Psychological Association (APA) does not acknowledge PAS as a real psychological/mental issue. It is time for this to change. There ARE very real mental/psychological issues stemming from abortion that many women are not able to acknowledge until years after their abortions. It is time for the APA to acknowledge abortion as devastating to some women and for society to realize that abortion comes with a price for women and men experiencing it.
    I have made it my life’s work to educate women on the potential effects of abortion and its ramifications. If I can just help one woman from making the same mistake I made and living out her life in regret then I have accomplished something.
    I have named my lost child Katerina George to acknowledge her humanity and her short existence on earth. Recovery is a lifelong process; a decision I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
    Katerina, if I can help just one, then your life will have not been lost in vain. I will always love you Kitty.
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