Sorry for the length of this post, but I am posting it in the hopes that it can help someone else…either to make their decision, or to realize they are not alone after making their choice.
It was January of 2002. I was barely 17 years old. I had been dating a guy named ‘Z’ for a few months, when I discovered I was pregnant. I was overjoyed at first. I hadn’t planned on getting pregnant, but definitely had the mindset of a teenager, in that, if it happened, it would be a fairytale. I would magically be able to work everything out, and things would be great. So, naturally, when I discovered I was, indeed, expecting, it wasn’t met with fear or regret…it was met with happiness and excitement. Unfortunately, Z didn’t share those same thoughts. When I told him, he was angry. So angry in fact, that I haven’t talked to him since that day. That didn’t deter me, though. I kept on with my youthful exuberance, determined I would make it work on my own. Then it came time to tell my mom. I was too scared to tell her to her face, so I wrote a letter and left it on her dresser, and spent several nights at a friends house. When I returned, she was angry. Very angry. She told me if I didn’t have an abortion, I would not be allowed to stay with her anymore. It would be too embarrassing for her if the neighbors happened to see me pregnant at such a young age. I didn’t let her squash my fantasy. I was so in love with this baby growing inside me. I went to my first doctor appointment and was given a due date of September 8th, 2002 (come to find out later, the same due date I had with my son ‘P’, exactly 1 year later). The doctor asked me what I planned to do, and I said I would either keep the baby, or possibly consider adoption at a later date. He told me what a demand there were for Caucasian newborns, and that I could easily find adoptive parents. I could tell he didn’t recommend me keeping the baby, either.
I continued on in my fantasy world for another month or so. By this point I was around 8 weeks pregnant. I was struggling to figure out how I would move out of my mom’s house. I had dropped out of high school. I worked part-time in a mall cookie store, making $6.00/hr. All my friends still lived at home. No one could take me in. I started emailing people about adoption. I had heard that sometimes you can get your living expenses paid for if you choose an adoptive family. I started emailing back and forth with a couple in the area. They were overjoyed at the prospect of becoming parents. I never told them I had chose them, but you could tell the excitement just through the emails. Unfortunately, after I had made the decision I eventually made, they emailed me again, to see if things were OK since they hadn’t heard from me recently. I sent them an email back, saying I had an abortion. I can only imagine their heartbreak. A life they could have loved, provided for, and would have given anything for…thrown away like yesterday’s garbage. I wish I still had their email so I could email them and apologize.
It was shortly after that when I made the hardest decision of my young life. I cannot explain why I made the decision to have an abortion. I honestly do not know why. I had been so excited up to that point, it hadn’t really crossed my mind much to have an abortion. A friend of mine had gotten pregnant unexpectedly around this time, and she had an abortion, and I think that played into my decision, unfortunately. I was so much a follower, it just wound up happening.
I got the money from my mom, and my cousin picked me up to take me to the center. She had been telling me all along to have one, so she was more than happy to be the one to take me. When I got there, I had the procedure explained to me in great, great detail. I remember her telling me they would give me Valium to help. I remember her saying they would use progressively bigger tools to open my cervix, eventually getting to the width of the pencil she held in her hand. I remember her telling me it would hurt, but I needed to breathe through it. Someone would hold my hand. I was given a mountain of paperwork to fill out, and given my Valium. I was led into a room where they were to perform an ultrasound before the procedure. I didn’t look. I couldn’t look. She said I was 10 weeks. Thankfully I didn’t hear the heartbeat.
I was then taken into a sterile, gray room with a standard doctor’s examination table in it. I was told to lay down, and put my feet up in the stirrups. I think at this point, the doctor may have done another ultrasound, but it’s kind of fuzzy from the Valium. I remember writhing on the table in pain as the procedure was taking place. I remember the nurse clamping down on my hand telling me to breathe. I needed to breathe. I was holding my breath, and it was going to make it worse. Just breathe. Just breathe. Over and over I remember her telling me. After maybe 10 minutes on the table, the procedure was done. My baby had been sucked out of me. One life had ended, and another had changed forever.
I was taken into a recovery room. I was laying down on a cot. They gave me juice and cookies. They were vanilla creme-filled cookies. I still remember what the room looked like. It was essentially one large room, with approximately 5 beds against opposite walls. There was a desk over to my left. The nurse was sitting there, looking at my chart. I saw the ultrasound picture clipped to the chart and did something I both regret, and love. I asked to see it. She asked me if I was sure I wanted to see. I said I was…I had no idea what emotion would overtake me upon seeing my baby on that picture. I was crushed. I only looked for a second, but I will never forget that exact moment in time. It was the moment I regretted what I had done. I had to stay in that room for about an hour. My cousin came back into the room about halfway through. All she could talk about was how smart of a decision I had made. All I could think about was how heartbroken I was. How I didn’t realize what I was doing. How spur of the moment my decision had been, and how lifelong the consequences would be.
When we left, we stopped at Wendy’s. I remember getting a fry. It was all I could stomach. She got chicken nuggets, and a kids meal for her happy, healthy 2 yr old daughter that my mom was babysitting. That stung me so deeply. It hurt to know that she had a child to buy a happy meal for, and I didn’t. I was jealous, I was angry, I was so hurt. Such an innocent thing, yet I can remember still being in the drive-thru. I can remember the ride home. I can remember her daughter sitting in a chair eating her fries. I remember how bad it hurt. How physically bad it hurt, and how emotionally bad it hurt.
The next few weeks are a blur. I remember being a wreck. I quit my job. I stopped talking to many people. I was so angry at everyone. I felt that it was everyone elses fault that I did what I did. I refused to speak with my mom for weeks. I was so mad at her.
In time…I started to heal. At least in a superficial way. I was able to pick back up where I had left off. I got a new job. I started dating again. I pushed this pain to the back of my mind. I had dreams of a little girl. I still feel that baby was a girl. A sweet little girl.
In the summer of 2002, I met P’s dad. We dated for a few months before learning I was pregnant in January of 2003. Like I mentioned earlier, I was given the same due date for P that I had for my 1st baby. September 8th. It was bittersweet for me. I hadn’t stopped thinking about my first baby (who from this point on, will be referred to as ‘E’ for the name she would have been given). I thought about how if I had kept E, I wouldn’t be pregnant with this new miracle. Yet I wanted E. I wanted the chance to tell her how deeply sorry I was. I wanted the chance to give her life. I was torn.
I knew I wouldn’t have another abortion. My mom still stood firm on her decision that I couldn’t live there if I was pregnant. So I moved in with P’s dad. I went on to carry P and deliver my happy, healthy, beautiful boy. It eased my pain briefly, but eventually I was met with the what-if’s. What if I had kept E? What would she look like? What would she be doing? What would my life be like without P, but with E? I can say now that I can’t imagine my life without P, but had I kept E, I wouldn’t know about P, so I wouldn’t know what I was missing. I wonder about her everyday. Every. Single. Day. Almost 9 years later, I still think about her. I still cry sometimes. I still relive that day, and regret the decision I made. I know many women have abortions, and have no regrets, but there are many who deeply regret it. It is not a decision to make lightly.
If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have one. That means I wouldn’t have P, and that kills me. But, he would simply not have become, which is far different from becoming, then being taken away. I can cope better with knowing someone had simply not come to exist, rather than knowing I took a life away. I took my child’s life, and I am so sorry. I am so sorry E. I love you and miss you, and I hope you can forgive the biggest mistake I ever made.