I was 17 when I met him. We worked together at a local store. He was 21 and I was so ecstatic when he asked me out on a date. We quickly began a tumultuous relationship. I was young and so vulnerable. I thought I was so cool for snagging a guy that had his own apartment and was older.

I fell madly in love with him.

I wish I could accurately describe my feelings for him. It was as if there was this giant force over me. I had no self-control and no sense of right or wrong. I knew he cheated, but we would always work it out and he would promise not to do it again.

He was physically abusive a few times but always apologized. Somehow he would rationalize that I had egged it on. It was my fault.

I just can’t describe accurately how I felt about him. I needed him. We were supposed to be together. And at that time… I thought I would rather die than be without him. I just had to have him. No matter what.

Then came the positive pregnancy test. I was sure that this would bring us together better than ever. We could have a family. I was 18 at the time. I told him and for a few days he seemed happy.

Then one day he told me I had to choose. It was either him or the baby. I chose wrong. I chose him.

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He took me to the abortion clinic and waited for me. I remember talking to someone about why I was having the abortion. I wanted to scream that I didn’t want to have one… but I didn’t. I wish I would have. The abortion doctor was just so calm, as if there was nothing wrong with what he was doing. He hummed Norah Jones music and to this day I can’t listen to her.

It wasn’t long after the abortion that he was gone and I was left a mess. I took up drinking and partying – I just didn’t want to face what I had done.

I started casually seeing this other guy. Just to numb things even more. Then… there it was. Another positive pregnancy test. I was 19 years old and had nothing.

He wanted me to get an abortion, too.

But this time, even though I was a wreck and didn’t know how to make this work… I refused.

I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. I know that I’m supposed to teach her, but oh, what that girl has taught me. She is now 12 and amazing and talented. She’s my sidekick.

When she was four, I married an incredible man. I shared my story with him and he loves me regardless. We went on to have two more beautiful children together and he is a wonderful father to all three of them.

I am so grateful for where my life is now. I am a headstrong woman. But I wasn’t always. As beautiful as my life is now, there is a hole in part of it. I will forever regret my decision to abort my first baby. I pray that he or she forgives me.

I would never wish this kind of regret on anyone. If I can help just one person choose life… please. Please choose life. It is so precious. And you are strong enough to make it work. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

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This story was submitted to us by Tara F. on our My Story page.