I became sexually active at 14, to this day I’m not quite sure why I chose to do this at such an early age. At 15, I found out I was pregnant. I can’t recall the emotions I felt, but I’m sure, like you I was very afraid, confused, wanting someone to direct me or at least just hug me and tell me it was going to be alright. This didn’t happen.
For some strange reason my mom tracked our cycles, every month she would let me and my sisters know it was coming. I knew that I was pregnant that evening she asked me if I had started yet; I guess the look on my face gave her the answer she must have already known. I don’t recall many things from the next few days, I had already talked to the boyfriend that I thought loved me, I mean, why else would he have sex with me, right? His answer to me was “it’s not mine, don’t call me again”. So, I’m alone, now what.
Well, there wasn’t much time to think about it; my mom and grandma had already figured it all out. I would have an abortion immediately, no ifs, ands or buts. No discussion. No choice. The decision had been made. I was told you will do this or you will not have a home or family. I remember my mom taking me to Planned Parenthood in Columbus, she went in, signed the papers, gave them the money that my grandma had given her to make sure “this baby never came into our family”, looked at me and reminded me that I needed to ride the COTA bus to my friends after the procedure and not to step foot in the door at home until the bleeding had stopped. All of this so my dad would not find out that this had happened.
What I remember about that day is the nurse telling me it was a mass of cells and that at 8 weeks there wasn’t really a life there. I remember a distant vibrating sound, white wall, and a nurse asking me if I was okay as a single tear rolled down my cheek. To this day my heart aches when I think of that tear; many years later I began to realize that I had to have been grieving my baby as it was being forcefully removed from my body.
I think one of the things that angers me the most about that afternoon is the lies. Did you know that at 8 weeks a fetus has fingers and toes poking out from their hands and feet? The baby has eyelids practically covering its eyes and breathing tubes extend from its throat to the branches of its developing lungs. In its brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways. The baby is about the size of a kidney bean and is constantly moving and shifting. This sounds like a lot more than a mass of cells to me. I guess it’s all in what you allow yourself to believe to justify that abortion is an option.
Several times I have mentioned not recalling things; I believe that the pain and violation of that afternoon has blocked many of the memories from that day. For years after that fall afternoon in 1981, I drank, I experimented with drugs, I was promiscuous and I found myself going down one wrong road after the other, looking for something, something I never found.
In April, 1986 a wonderful man asked me to marry him, within a few days my happiness was squelched. Until this day in April, my mom had not mentioned the abortion; this day she told me that I would tell my now fiancé about my sorted past or she would. To say I was angry would not express the feelings I had about this, but I knew my mom and I knew she would tell him if I didn’t. During this conversation I reiterated what I had told him a few months before, that I didn’t want any children. When I first started telling people I didn’t want children I didn’t understand the tug at my heart, not until we began attending church in 1988 did I realize that tug in my heart was tied to that tear that rolled down my cheek that fall afternoon in 1981 – after what I had done to my baby, I didn’t deserve to be a mom. Ever.
With the love and support of our pastor and his wife I was able to ask God to forgive me for the abortion. However, it wasn’t until the past few years while working with the Pregnancy Care Center, that I was able to admit and accept that I had any responsibility in the matter. It was my decision at 15 to have sex and it was my decision to allow my mom and grandma to direct what I was going to do. This way I could put all the blame on them, when in reality, I could have found a center like the PCC, I could have asked someone for help, I could have stood up for my baby.
Thirty-two years later I realize what that longing is, that emptiness that I can’t fill, it is my missing baby. Someday I will see my baby and this yearning will stop. What I ask of you is that you please not believe the lies that you are told by the abortion providers, everything will not be okay, you will remember, and that mass of cells is your baby.
Please know that the PCC would love to support you through your pregnancy, we will help you learn how to take care of your baby, we will help you with decisions, we will pray with you, and most of all, that hug I so wanted when I told my mom I was pregnant, the one that never came; well, it is unending here at the center. You come through the door and you can have a hug whenever you need one.
I pray that God shows you what is right for you and your baby.