Abortion Story: Florida
Submitted to Abort73 by a 37-year-old woman on February 12, 2013.
I was nineteen years old and had just gotten to North Carolina, where I was serving in the Army when I realized I was pregnant. I had broken up with the guy I was seeing and had only been in the Army for about six months. I had no one to turn to (I was one of two females in an all male unit) and my parents were back in Michigan. I wasn't all that close to them anyway. When I called the clinic in Raleigh, the nurse took my information and told me that I'd have to wait three weeks. When I asked her why, she said that if the tissue wasn't big enough, 'they may not get it all.' I didn't tell anyone about my situation. The only ones I would have been able to tell anyway were my superiors, and they were all men. I could only imagine what they would have thought of me. I also selfishly believed that since I was not ready, willing or able to be a parent, no one else could, would, or should raise my child, so adoption was out of the question for me too. For those three weeks, my baby had a bounty on its head. I took a cab there and back to the clinic by myself. I paid the nurse four hundred dollars, and she did an ultrasound to measure how far along I was (eight weeks). She didn't point out the heartbeat, arms or legs; nothing. The doctor didn't tell me anything either, such as the fact that the machine was loud; it sounded like a Shop-Vac. He told me that it would be uncomfortable, but it hurt. I started crying, and the nurse held my hand out of sympathy. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and it felt unnatural too. I cried on the way home. The cab driver didn't say anything to me. He had picked me up in front of the clinic, so I'm sure he knew what I had done. I managed to stuff that day deep into the furthest corner of my mind, and not even think of it for many years. I even went on to have two more kids after it, but I ended up getting married and divorced twice in about twelve years. I had a lot of anger but couldn't figure out why. I realize now that people would tell me in indirect ways that I was a very negative person to be around. I couldn't seem to find much joy in anything. I was born into a family of lapsed Catholics, and I had found the Baptist faith on my own as a young teenager, but at the time of my abortion, I had not been active for quite a few years. I started dating a 'cradle Catholic' and decided to attend RCIA. I also told him of my abortion, and even though he did not dump me like I thought he would, I could tell that he was horrified. It was during that time that I began to see and understand the magnitude of my decision. I received forgiveness from the Church, but I still could not forgive myself. We married, in 2010, and in 2011, I was pregnant. We moved to Florida from North Carolina that year, and as we drove across the Florida line, a huge billboard greeted me that said '18 days after conception, my heart started beating.' It had a picture of an unborn baby on it as well. I almost drove off the road because I had not known that. That was another nudge at my conscience about my abortion. Shortly after I had my youngest son in January of 2012, I found out I was pregnant again about six weeks later, and I miscarried that one in May. Then, I found out I was pregnant for a third time around the 4th of July. I miscarried again in September. Having those two babies taken from me against my will finally broke me, and I began to grieve for them as well as my aborted baby. I attended a Rachel's Vineyard retreat last December, and I was finally able to face the consequences of my abortion, grieve for and acknowledge that baby, and forgive myself. I still have days where I feel shame and anger towards myself, and I probably always will. If I had known then what I know now, there's no way I would have had that abortion. I would have chosen adoption, but I didn't. I have to live with the fact that I took my first child's life. That's not something I'd wish on anyone.
Date: February 12, 2013