I am 46 years old and for 30 of those years, I have lived in silent regret.
Although, now, I can say with confidence I have a blessed and wonderful life. I believe the hard times from my past have brought me to where I am today. I have been married for 26 years to my best friend, and together we have four beautiful children.
I was raised in a Christian home and was very sheltered. My parents and grandparents led by example and always put God first. They taught me that Jesus Christ forgives us of all of our sins, and the difference between right and wrong. Our family was far from perfect, but I always knew I was loved. I am grateful for my Christian upbringing and grounding in the truth of Christ.
I attended a Christian school, and it was during my freshman year that I met my first boyfriend. We were only 14 at the time, so of course, we were not allowed to date for a few more years.
Shortly after my 16th birthday, we started dating and I became pregnant.
I was frightened and unsure. I had never known anyone who had gone through this before. I didn’t know what to do. Things like this were not supposed to happen to me. I had always been the Christian “Good Girl.”
I ended up talking to my mom and she said the solution was to get married. However, my boyfriend’s mother disagreed.
As the pregnancy went on, I started to see how everything was going to change.
My school would not allow me to return and graduate. I felt so alone and lost. At that time, I didn’t know there were other ways to finish school, so it felt like my life was over. My boyfriend, on the other hand, was welcomed back to school, graduated, and started looking into the future towards college and career.
I just wanted someone to tell me what to do. I needed to hear that it was okay, that it wasn’t the end of the world, and that I could do this. That’s when adoption was presented to me, but I couldn’t fathom giving birth and then giving my baby away. I felt like a child myself, only 16 years old, drowning in an ocean of grown-up problems and adult decisions.
My mom saw the stress I was under so she sent me to a counselor to sort everything out. It was there that I was first introduced to abortion. I had never even thought of abortion as one of my options. I didn’t think I could ever go through with that. It went against everything I had ever learned and stood for.
When I got home, I mentioned it to my mom. To my surprise, she was completely open to the idea, after all, she said it would solve all of my problems.
After all, the abortion would apparently help me get my life back.
I could be 16 again. I would even be able to go back to school, graduate, look ahead towards my future.
Deep down I knew abortion wasn’t the right decision. I believed my child was a human being that had worth to live. I had even started to feel my baby inside of me, and I loved it. But, I was young and influenced by the messages all around me.
“What kind of life will this child have? You are too young to sacrifice your future. You can’t be a mother, you are just a child yourself. You are not being fair to yourself or the baby.”
I desperately wanted someone to tell me that it was going to be okay.
I never found what I was looking for and the day came for my mom drove me to the abortion clinic.
I will never forget that day. It was really hot outside. I was wearing a purple t-shirt and white shorts. My mom wanted to leave early and go shopping before the appointment to buy furniture to put in my new doll house.
We got there and my mom went inside with me. When they called me back, I was on my own. There were other women there, but no one spoke or looked at each other. The last thing I remember before the procedure is a snoopy poster tacked to the ceiling above me.
When I woke up, I was in a recovery room with lots of other young women. My first thought was, “Oh, Jesus! What have I done?” I knew from that moment that I would never be the same, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t undo the things I had done.
In the car on the way home, my mom and I settled on the “official” story that we would tell everyone. I had “lost” the baby.
We would never talk about it again.
Soon after, I ended up finishing school, going on to college, getting married, and raising a family. There have been a few exceptions, but for the last 30 years, I have remained silent, trying hard to protect my secret.
Because of my upbringing, I knew Christ to be the God of forgiveness, mercy, and grace, but I just couldn’t get over what had happened. The pain was so deep.
After our second child was born, my husband and I decided it was time for me to work through some of the past. I ended up going through a Bible study about post-abortion. It started the process of healing, but at that time I was still unable to let go of my secret and talk about my own abortion experience.
I remained quiet for many more years until God drew me to Heart last year. It was exactly what I needed.
God set me free of my secret, my shame, and my silence.