- Posted February 12, 2013 by
San Antonio, Texas
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Have you had an abortion?
Jonathan's life mattered.
The counselor said no Dr. in our area did “this type of procedure”; but they could set it up in Dallas. I was told the pregnancy was a mass of “tissue”, not a baby yet; and that abortion was quick and relatively painless. She asked how old I was. “Good, you can fly on a plane without your parent’s permission”. Her advice for getting to Dallas: skip school, fly to Dallas, take a taxi to the clinic, fly home, make up an excuse to my parents and school about where we had been all day. Painfully shy, I had barely said two words but at this I laughed, “Well, I guess that’s out!” She looked directly into my eyes and said, “You’d be surprised how many girls around here have done it.” When asked if we wanted to schedule, I felt pressured and wanted to leave. After all, if she said it didn’t turn into a baby until the second trimester, I was stubbornly determined to take every day I could to “choose”.
I was referred to a local OB/Gyn to date the pregnancy. My boyfriend’s Mom snuck us out of school herself for that. I struggled for weeks with how to tell my parents vs. flying to Dallas. I felt pressured by my boyfriend, his Mom, and Planned Parenthood to hurry and make up my mind. Our relationship had already been abusive for a couple of years. My first sexual experience with him a year prior was more like date rape than romance. I had to cry to get him to stop. He laughed and shamed me afterwards. When I told him I thought I might be pregnant, he hit me in the stomach to cause a miscarriage. My self-esteem and self-respect drained from me after I let him. Mostly, I felt shocked that he wasn’t kidding and had actually punched me. I felt worthless. During the pregnancy, every time I tried to say I wanted to keep the baby, he would let me dream and talk about it as if he supported it, only to switch and become upset that I would ever think such a thing possible; it would ruin our college and his chance at a football scholarship. He had often cried to manipulate me in the past, and had even threatened to kill himself with a gun several times when I doubted his faithfulness in the relationship. But I still loved him and thought his behavior was part of his “dramatic” personality.
When time ran out, I knew I couldn’t keep an abortion secret from my parents. The guilt and secrecy would haunt me for the rest of my life. I told him I was going to tell. The next day his Mom pulled me out of class and took me to her office to plead with me not to. She cried and pressured me about what it would do to her son’s football career and our college. Suddenly I realized I had seen that crying and manipulative behavior before. I left more determined to tell my parents.
But somehow my anger turned to fear that he would always be in my life. The lies, manipulation, abuse…the gun. I didn’t think I could bring a child into that world. Feeling rejected and angry, I told them to make the appointment. A few days later my parents found out. They had only a weekend to absorb the shock and come up with options. In the end, they left the decision up to me. I never dreamed they’d agree to abortion. Exhausted and unable to bear the weight of that decision being put back on my shoulders, I shut down. My parents would support me either way, and my boyfriend and his Mom would not. I felt out of time. Selfishly, I just wanted the nightmare to end.
In Dallas, at 16 years old, I had to sign my own consent forms. I was confused why I had to sign away the right to use my “tissue” for research. I checked “No” wondering what they would want with “a late period”. I wondered if I should call my parents when they gave me a narcotic to relax me. Running 45 minutes behind felt like torture. Sitting alone, I had time to think. I cried, wishing I had let my Mom come. I wanted my boyfriend to run in and tell me we didn’t have to do it. I wanted to run out myself but was afraid I would get in trouble or disappoint the person who paid for our plane tickets to Dallas. I still don’t know who that was.
The nurse yelled at me to get on the table before the Dr. came in. My feet were in the stirrups when he met me. I never saw him afterwards. Lying on the table it finally hit me that if I left the pregnancy alone it might turn into a baby. I wanted to scream “STOP” but couldn’t. I resented my inability to stand up for my own baby for years to come. Instead, I let him be sucked out of my body in pieces through the tubes of a powerful suction machine. I’ll never forget the sound of it, nor the pain. I told myself I deserved it compared to what my baby endured. The nurse held my hand and kept a calm voice while sternly warning me not to move in the pain or the Dr. might damage my uterus. I was terrified. It felt eerily similar to the rape. All I could do was cry and hope it would be over soon. I was told not to look while the Dr. carried something out. She said I wouldn’t want that image burned in my brain for the rest of my life. I had to wait on the table until the Dr. came back after checking to see if he had “gotten it all”. Only now do I know he had to put the pieces of my baby back together to make sure none were left inside me. It felt twisted to wonder if my baby was a boy or a girl. I didn’t dare ask. They left me alone afterwards and told me to rest a minute. Instead I fought passing out to stumble and get dressed. I had a panicked urge to get to people. I couldn’t be alone or I might think again. I was relieved when they asked if they could send me right to birth control counseling instead of recovery. They didn’t want me to miss my flight home. When they told me not to call them in an emergency but an ER instead, I felt afraid and wondered how many girls had complications on the flight home but couldn’t tell their parents.
I left that day angry at the world and frozen in trauma…a shell of a person. A part of me died. I felt stuck in my grief while life seemed to move on for others. I wanted my baby back. Unable to process it, I began punishing myself with an eating disorder. 2 mo. later the relationship ended. I learned I had been cheated on, even during the pregnancy. My world shattered. I lost interest in high school activities, suffered from PTSD, and went back to the abusive relationship many times unable to resolve the trauma. I struggled with depression, anxiety, anger, performance anxiety, a fear of authority figures and men for the next 2 decades. It affected all my relationships, especially my relationship with my future husband and kids.
For 24 years I ran from my abortion, and God. I had been told there were no psychological affects from abortion. The Drs. wife was a Psychologist who trained all their counselors herself--she would know! But it took 3-4 years of Christian counseling, and post-abortion recovery work, to process my traumatic memories through painful flashbacks, shame, and fear. It was sharing with other women, and realizing that I was not alone, that gave me the courage to heal. I didn’t know the hell I had been living in for so many years, until I was delivered from it by the Lord Jesus Christ. He turned my spiritual and emotional pain to joy as He healed my soul and my wounded heart. I am free! There is peace knowing my baby’s life was never forgotten. Jonathan’s life mattered.