In this line of writing, sometimes people trust you with secrets they wouldn't tell their best friends. I was honored and humbled when Tracy* told me about her abortion and it's terrible aftereffects. She asked me to share it with you. (No graphic details are included.)
Years ago, when I was 19 and my boyfriend, Bill*, was 27 I got pregnant. We had been dating for almost a year and talking about marriage. The pregnancy was a total shock to me - I took two tests to be sure and even then couldn't quite believe it. I was nervous to tell Bill, but assumed since we had planned on having kids in the future, it would be okay in the end.
It had just snowed, so the roads were a little bad that night when I called Bill over to my apartment to tell him. He was late getting there because of the ice. When he walked in, he had a funny look in his eyes, and I knew he knew. I somehow got up the courage to tell him. I still can't remember all the things that were said that night. There was a lot of yelling. I remember the shock of him being so mad at me, like I got pregnant on purpose. That night ended with him telling me he didn't want the baby, if it was his (which it was) and me clinging to his arm, begging him to stay. He nearly dragged me out the front door as he left.
For a few weeks, I called him and tried to talk things out, mostly getting just his answering machine. One day I got a package in the mail full of my belongings and some gifts I gave him during our year together. I called him and found that he had disconnected his phone number. That afternoon, I called my roommate to take me to a local clinic.
When we arrived at the clinic, I had to sit in a waiting room with about 6 other very scared-looking young women. Most of them were college age, but one looked like she was 13 or 14. I held back my tears at what I knew I was about to do. After filling out pages of medical forms, I was called back to a counseling room.
The middle-aged woman who counseled me was very friendly, but I had the feeling that I had just been called on the carpet with my boss. There was a disapproving undertone to the meeting. I was there to be counseled, but only years later I realized it was more of a sales pitch. When I asked about options other than abortion, the topic was always steered back to the freedom that I deserved, and giving my future children a good life because I took the time to better myself first. It was obvious that she was telling me this wasn't the time to be a mother, and if I tried I would fail horribly. I believed her.
I paid with a credit card and began the 24-hour waiting period. Because of the timing of my appointment, I had to wait about 36 hours before it would be done. I had to sleep on my decision for 2 nights. It was so bad that I slept for about 3 hours each night. As I tried to sleep, I prayed and said goodbye to my baby. Actually, I had many conversations with her. (I named her Ashly.) I pretended that I could feel her kick (even though it was way too early) and that my boyfriend was out at the 24-hour market buying me ice cream for my cravings. When I woke up, reality hit me.
I went to the abortion clinic that morning. They put me in a cold room with only a dressing gown and a thin blanket. I was completely alone because my roommate had to stay in the waiting room. After a long time, the nurse came in and started an IV sedative. It did relax me and warm me up a little. When the doctor came in (it was the first time I met him) he attempted some feeble jokes to relax me and then explained that I was going to feel a little tugging in my lower belly. The nurse stood at my side and held my hand through the procedure. It was more painful than they said it would be, but I was walking a few hours later. After they served me juice and cookies, my sedation wore off and they released me with medical instructions.
I didn't cry on the way home, I just felt numb. After that, the nightmares began. I dreamed of what I had done and the life I was missing out on. If you notice that I don't talk much about my feelings about the baby, it's because it's too painful. I know I killed my baby, and sometimes I can't even look in the mirror.
I've been through a support group, and I know God has forgiven me. But the consequence will live on. I can never take it back. My precious baby is gone because I made the decision to have my pregnancy terminated. Please, I beg you, don't do this to yourself and your child. I'll hug my baby in heaven, but you have the chance to hug your baby here on earth.
* names have been changed to protect privacy