At 22, I was already a single mother of a 2-year-old. I was in a long-distance relationship, but I was sure he was the one. As my relationship with him grew, I became more distant and isolated from my family. I put more energy into this guy than to anyone else in my life, and I found myself completely emotionally dependent on him. As our relationship and my dependence progressed, things started to fall apart. He got distant, and I got scared. One Friday evening, while we were separated by hundreds of miles and my self-esteem was at an all-time low, I found comfort in the bed of one of my closest friends. Fast forward a little over a month and my womanly instincts were telling me was I was pregnant. I was still in a relationship with my boyfriend, and I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. In my heart I knew that this baby was not his, but I was so afraid to lose him. So, I lied and told him the baby was his. Over the next few weeks, he sent me information on abortion, and we talked constantly about all the negative impacts of keeping "it". I felt lost, confused, and isolated from my family. In my mind I could not possibly go to my parents. They had already endured an unplanned pregnancy from me once before, and there was no way could I disappoint them again. I was five months from graduating college; I could not allow my plans to be interrupted. My boyfriend knew all of this, and he spoke right to those weaknesses. On February 11, 2012, I walked into Planned Parenthood with my son tucked peacefully inside me. I walked out a few hours later, with an empty uterus and a huge hole in my heart...forever changed.
Inside the abortion clinic was surreal. Looking back, it feels like a dream. I don't remember much. When we first got there, a woman who worked for the clinic pulled me aside in a little room to talk about birth control. I don't remember much of that conversation except for her saying, "Now, abortion is not a form a birth control, so do everything you can to not have to do this again." Once I was in the actual room, they gave me the opportunity to do an ultrasound. I declined, because I was afraid I wouldn't go through with it if I saw my baby. I regret that decision. I should have said yes.
The operating room was weird. There were two women in there, both so happy and joking around and laughing. I don't remember much else, except waking up and being moved to a "recovery" room, where I threw up multiple times.
I immediately felt sad, guilty, and shameful. I was embarrassed and just wanted to go home and crawl in bed. By the next day, deep depression had set in, and I was more confused about my emotions than ever.
As time went on, I slipped further and further into depression. I did tell the father of the baby, and he was sad that I didn't go to him. My relationship with my boyfriend ended. I moved back to my hometown and slowly my life started to make a little sense again. I eventually got married and started having (more) children. It was after my second daughter was born that I realized something was very wrong inside me. I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. I had to go on anxiety medication, because I was having suicidal thoughts. While things in my life were good, I was carrying around this grief and sadness that I could not shake.
A year ago, my husband and I had a deep conversation about it. I knew at that point that I needed to get help and talk to someone. I needed to get my thoughts out in a safe space, so that I could hopefully start to move forward. I had already been to Confession about my abortion, but I just didn't feel like I was forgiven. So, I met with a priest, through whom I found through Project Rachel, and had one on one counseling, which honestly changed and saved my life.
After years of anxiety, fear, shame, guilt, depression, and confusion, I went through a healing program that helped me see that God does forgive me, and I was able to forgive myself. I finally feel free from isolation and shame, and I don't want any woman, man, or family member suffering from the loss of abortion to live in isolation. That's why I am silent no more!