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I have recovered from alcoholism, but the abortion still haunts me...

Abortion Story: United States

Submitted to Abort73 by a 32-year-old woman on February 12, 2017.

I had an abortion 11 years ago. I had just turned 21. I was in college and I had been with a long term boyfriend, who I lived with for 3 years. I was living in an apartment, driving an old broken car and barely making ends meet with my work study job and my weekend employment while I attended school full time. I found out I was pregnant and didn't know what to do. My boyfriend wanted to be supportive and told me he would do anything I decided. Keep the baby or terminate it, although I also felt I'd be ruining his life's aspirations by forcing him into fatherhood. I was one year shy of starting my internship at school. I was terrified of disappointing my parents, and his parents by flushing my college education down the toilet. At the time that was how I saw it. I now know I could have had my baby and finished school. A baby is not a death sentence or something that ruins your life.

I called Planned Parenthood. Up until the moment I found out I was pregnant I had been using their services for exams and birth control. I had been on birth control when I became pregnant and thought I had done everything possible to prevent unintended pregnancy. I was young, naive and TERRIFIED of the future with a baby. I was unaware that the Planned Parenthood in my area (or any Planned Parenthood) didn't offer prenatal service. I foolishly assumed that since they provided all these other wonderful services they could help me decide what to do with my pregnancy. I went into the clinic asking for counseling and prenatal care. They gave me a pregnancy test, took me back and told me I was pregnant and they would counsel me on my options but that it would cost $50 that day. I didn't have $50 and I told them as much. I was seeking guidance and their advice to me at that time was that if I could not afford the services today I would never be able to make it with a child. I am not exaggerating. That was their idea of counseling. They never once gave me information on an alternative and I was scared to ask after they made me feel foolish and unable to care for a child. Like I said, I was young, foolish, naive and I trusted them and their opinion. After all, they were there to "help" me. Before I left that day they had set me up to come back in a week with an abortion appointment. I thought I could have the procedure, be relieved and get back to focusing on school. The fact that the abortion was going to cost $500 helped drive home to me the fact that I could never afford a baby. I was barely capable of affording an abortion. My boyfriend and I had to scrape and sell things to pay for it.

The day of the abortion I showed up uneasily to the clinic. My boyfriend was there and waited in the waiting room. I went back when I was called into the ultrasound room. The technician started my ultrasound to find out how far along I was. It was January 7, 2006. The worst day of my life. I was seven weeks pregnant. I was experiencing morning sickness. I would later find out my baby had fingers toes a face and a heart beat. That day I asked through tears to see the ultrasound. I was told no by the technician. I was told the only purpose was to date my pregnancy. I wasn't allowed to see it. I asked through tears if the baby looked ok, or had a heartbeat. The technician told me she wasn't allowed to disclose information like that. That at seven weeks it was a "ball of cells" and the procedure would be "easy". I was then ushered into a dim room where other woman were waiting. Some crying. Some staring blankly at the walls. I was given a pamphlet of information about what to expect after the medical procedure and I was given some pain meds and an anti-anxiety drug. I took the medication in a haze. I wanted to scream and run out. I wanted to call my Mother. I wanted someone there to tell me there was another way to handle my pregnancy. To legitimize the life inside me. No one did. I was trusting "professionals" so I thought they knew something I didn't. I thought they knew best.

I entered the procedure room, I remember it in blurbs. Feet in stirrups. Some nameless faceless doctor and nurse, whispering to each other as I lay on the table, tears streaming down my face all the while. I felt the cold speculum, some painful cramps and heard a vacuum. I was drugged and out of my own body somewhere else. Once I heard the vacuum I knew it was too late. I knew I had killed my child. I was watched in recovery to make sure I didn't bleed out. I was ushered out to pay, and driven home by my boyfriend, who is currently my husband, 11 years later. We both still grieve the loss of that child. I am the monster who had the life of my baby sucked out of my womb. We never spoke a word that afternoon. I don't remember much of the next year of my life. I didn't get back to school. I coasted through life on autopilot. Everything around me shades of gray. I worked because I had to. I skipped all my classes and slept on the couch without moving for months. The pain was too great to bear. I could not function. Getting up only to work, very infrequently shower, or eat. I developed a problem with alcoholism and an eating disorder. It was the only thing that would make it numb. I failed out of an entire semester. I lied to my family and friends and told them that I had mono, which was why I wasn't functioning well or able to leave my couch. My boyfriend didn't know how to help me. Somehow bit by bit, I pushed the experience from my mind and resigned myself to the fact that I was a murderous monster. I eventually moved on and went back to school. Planned a wedding with my boyfriend and buried it all. Told no one.

In 2008 I gave birth to a son. I was married and would have been done in college if I hadn't flunked out drunk that semester after my abortion. I didn't drink while pregnant. I hoped my son would be born and I would be able to have the child I had wanted before. He arrived and instead of joy all I felt was guilt and a pit in my stomach. I loved my new baby with all my being  it I could barely look at him. Holding him and loving him made me feel sick. I didn't deserve him. I slipped into a deep postpartum depression that went on for months before my mom and husband realized I needed to see a doctor and get some antidepressants. I couldn't work, eat or motivate myself to do daily thing. My son was all that got me through, but every time I held him I would suffer panic attacks over the feeling that I didn't deserve him for what I had done and that God was sure to yank him from me as a punishment I truly deserved. Bonding with him was very hard. And 9 years later I still feel guilty that I wasn't the best mother I could have been for him because of the cloud of what I had done.

I went on to have another pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage—which I felt was retribution and punishment for the way I killed my first child. I also have two more children, another boy and most recently a baby girl. Eleven years later I still feel I am loving borrowed, undeserved children that I was never meant to have, even though I have mostly moved on and started to forgive myself. I have applied myself to being the best mother I can be. Moving on and giving my current children happiness is the only way I can atone for what I did. I owe them beautiful lives. I have recovered from alcoholism, but the abortion still haunts me even though I am doing all I can to be the mother my children deserve. They are miracles, and they have changed my life. I consider myself lucky to be able to see that children are a blessing and not a curse, or something you need to get rid of. I have gone on to be a successful adult, despite the way Planned Parenthood made me feel, saying  that I would never be adequate to be a parent, that I had to run from my responsibilities. I wonder about my first child all the time. Who they would be? What they would have taught me? How much love they would have brought into my life? What good did I snuff out that they would be contributing to the world? How I would change anything to be able to give that first baby a chance to become someone amazing. I know now, as a well adjusted adult, that my parents and my husband's parents would have accepted that first baby with open arms. I cheated someone out of life and our society and politicians still encourage mothers to cheat their children out of lives on a daily basis. It has to end. I could have had the baby, could have gotten support from a clinic that would have helped me find resources, if I had only known who to trust. If you choose abortion that is your right, but please I beg you to consider other options. You will always live with regret, and it won't be the cure you are seeking. It will effect you in your personal life, your relationships and in potential motherhood to your future children. Children are perfect miracles that teach us to be loving and selfless and make us into better versions of ourselves. If you are pregnant and wondering, YOU CAN DO IT! Parenthood is challenging for everyone, but it is not impossible—as abortion clinics would have you believe.  It won't ruin your life. It will fulfill it.

Age: 32
Location: United States
Date: February 12, 2017

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