- Posted February 13, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Have you had an abortion?
The idea of allowing someone else to raise my child became too painful and fear of exposing my choices mounted. I was scared of ruining my pristine reputation as the virgin and good Christian girl. Up until that point, I had been the victim in life; now, I was the one who had committed wrong. I also had plans of college in the fall; being a single mom was not apart of that plan. I wanted to go back in time, and prayed I would wake up and no longer be pregnant, but, of course, that never happened. Finally, I allowed fear and the voice of my boyfriend’s request to control me. My boyfriend’s mom made an appointment and I boarded a bus to Pennsylvania.
My boyfriend, his mom and I went to the appointment. It was nothing like what I had envisioned. There were no picketers – no commotion at all. It was a quiet office in suburban office complex.
The doctor performed other procedures besides abortion, so it just looked like a regular doctor’s office. My boyfriend paid for the abortion. I filled out some papers and took a Valium before heading to an examination room. I got on the table, while the doctor looked at the ultrasound – I was not allowed to see. He thought I was about 6-8 weeks along. A nurse came into the room and held my hand during the procedure. The doctor started the sucking process and the pain began. The nurse told me to breathe, but I couldn’t – the cramping in my abdomen was more than I could bear. When it was over, the doctor told me the pain would get a little worse before it got better. I was given milk and cookies to help stop the cramps, but I still recall crying in pain. The doctor attempted to lighten the mood by making jokes about a promise of my future fertility.
I stayed a few days at my boyfriend’s house before returning to Ohio. I went to college at the end of the summer. As I started a new life in a place where I knew no one, I was left alone with my thoughts. The reality of my choice settled in – I had killed my baby! I went to a place of utter despair and spent my first year of college an emotional wreck. I can recall people in my dorm hearing me crying in the bathroom and asking if I was okay, but the truth was – I wasn’t. The pain didn’t subside; I just got better at suppressing it.
In my junior year, I confided in a Bible study leader about my past abortion, and she suggested I attend a support group at the local pregnancy care center. I decided to join the group and began my journey of healing. The pain from this experience never completely disappears, but as I worked through the grief, I was able to function without suppressing memories. Now, at times, certain places or circumstances stir up emotions within me, but I am able to see a baby, talk about abortion and hear people’s opinions without getting defensive and distraught. It was important for me to not only understand that I was forgiven, but also deal with the grief that was in my heart. I needed to allow my heart to experience the pain of that choice so that I could move on with life. It’s a journey that takes a lifetime. While I regret my choice of abortion, I will never regret facing the pain.
I have had an opportunity to share my story with women and hear hundreds of stories myself, stories that you will never read on here because most women I talk to keep this past choice a secret from the world. They just live with the pain. I helped start the IRMA (I Regret My Abortion) Network (www.theIRMAnetwork.org) and have talked to men who have been affected by an abortion they fathered or heard how it broke apart marriages.
The thing is, you just don't hear enough about what you will face afterwards. If more women just had someone to listen as they were facing this choice and had support of friends and family to help them no matter what, I think women would make another choice. One they could live with.