My name is Kristi. I am 52 years old. I am a wife and mother. In 1984 at the age of 16 I had an abortion. I was in high school, a junior at the time, and so afraid. I waited for almost three months before I finally told my mother I thought I might be pregnant. There wasn't any discussion. I wasn't asked how I felt or what I wanted. I was just told one day that we would be driving to Little Rock, which was about three hours from the small town we lived in. I didn't say no. I didn't tell my mother I didn't want to do this. I was afraid and just did as I was told.
When we arrived at the clinic I was called back and went in alone. My mother drove me there but stayed in the waiting room. I was given a pregnancy test. Then I was put in a room to wait. I honestly do not remember if anyone asked me if I wanted to do this. I honestly do not know if they did or not. I was terrified. I was shaking. No one held me. No one comforted me. No one asked if I was ok. I was just told to wait. Then I was led into a room and put on an exam table. I remember a lot of machines were in the room and several nurses. A doctor came in and told me we were going to start. I laid there and stared at the ceiling. There was a poster of a cat tacked on the ceiling. I will never forget that poster. I listened to the doctors and nurses talking. They were discussing coffee and their favorite brands. Apparently, they all agreed Folgers was the best. Every once in a while the doctor would ask how I was doing and let me know how much longer we had. It hurt. There was a lot of cramping, and I began to feel sick. I told them I felt ill and they told me we were almost finished. Afterwards they put me in a small room with a bed and had me lay down. I dozed off for a bit, and then they came in, took my vitals, and led me out to my mom. We got in the car, and my mom looked at me and said, “Today never happened. We will never discuss this ever again. Understand?' I said, “Yes.” And, until a week ago, we never did discuss it. I have never told anyone other than my husband before we got married. We had trouble getting pregnant, and I was convinced it was my fault, because I killed my baby. We ultimately had five beautiful children, and I would often think of the baby I let go. Over the years I struggled with depression, anxiety, shame, guilt, and anger at myself and my mother.
In 1990 I was saved. I found the Lord and called out to Him for forgiveness. I begged for forgiveness for killing my child. I went through counseling with a pastor for a few months. It didn't seem to help much. I don't think he was very equipped to handle the type of pain and shame I was going through. I have read several books looking for help and, honestly, just pushed it all down as often and as much as I could over the years. Now, with all the abortion laws going on and the subject so much in the headlines, everything has just come rushing to the surface. I have suffered so much. I am ashamed. I am angry. I am so guilty, but I want others to know how I feel. I want women who are considering having an abortion know that it never leaves you. It will always, always be there. I want to heal, and I want to be heard. I want to be a voice and somehow use what I went through for good. I want to be free from the shame, and I don't want to be silent or push all of this down any longer. I want to heal. I am hoping to make it to one of the retreats in Oklahoma City in December. I want to heal, and I want to learn how I can help others. I want to learn how to continue to live with all these feelings and use them for good.