“Do you smoke marijuana?”
I was so stunned by the question that I told the truth, which I wasn’t used to doing.
“Well, we are learning that can mess up pregnancy test results,” said the nurse. “Since you were here last month with a negative result and still haven’t gotten your period, are you able to stay and see the doctor in twenty minutes?”
“Sure,” I mumbled.
As I laid on a metal table, a large man walked in. I don’t remember whether he did an internal check or ultrasound, but he stated: “You are 12 weeks pregnant. You either come back to the office tomorrow morning or you will have to go to the hospital to get this done.”
There was nothing else discussed. No other options were presented. He spoke with such authority in such a desperate time. At only seventeen, I decided to come back in the morning.
On that warm summer day, walking out of the Bill Baird clinic on Long Island, I was numb, desperate, and scared. But these emotions were not new. As I had done all my life, I put them in my back pocket and drove home.
My father was an alcoholic and a sexual and emotional abuser. My mother was angry and unloving and favored my older sister. Toxicity reeked within the walls of our home and silence was our favorite hobby. It was all so confusing for my young mind. We lived in my grandfather’s 7-acre boatyard. He was murdered there in the summer of ’64 and my father moved us in three years later. It was a bit creepy and thrilling all at the same time.
We were living upper middle-class lives with so many masks. Everyone thought all was okay. My shame and pain kept my voice in the back of my throat. Just pretend. Always. It led to a lifestyle of promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and endless wandering, looking to fit in somewhere. Peers were my family, especially at a party and the beach.
When I got home from the clinic, I didn’t tell any family what had happened. Instead, I called Philip, my kind, blonde, surfer boyfriend. He came over and held me while we both cried. He wanted to keep the baby, but my heart was hard and my mind made up. Looking back, I wish I had been brave and said “Yes” to the pregnancy.
With no wise adults to turn to, I called my friend Nancy. We made plans for her to pick me up and take me to the abortion clinic. However, early the next morning, Nancy called to tell me she couldn’t get a car. What?! Panic set in. I took a deep breath and trudged up the stairs to the kitchen.
My mom and sister were standing by the sink. I never went into the kitchen. I just spoke from a distance. An argument ensued, ending with my mom throwing the keys at me and telling me to go. So I did. All by myself.
It’s been over 40 years since that day. I remember my legs in stirrups. Some aches and pains after the doctor inserted something into me. Suction sounds. Feeling numb. And then a quiet ‘recovery’ room of mostly young girls clothed in pink gowns, drinking milk and eating cookies.
The trauma of abortion was stuffed deep down and went into my file of lies called, “It’s no big deal.”
A few days afterwards, I wandered around the boatyard. The sun was shining, but I was not. I was angry, sad, depressed, and lonely. I wondered what life was all about. I had no real spiritual upbringing to lean on or caring adults to speak good or real things into my life. I became determined to continue on the path of self-destruction.
My older sister soon joined the NAVY. It was there she got saved through the influence of a group called the Navigators. When I was in college, she wrote me letters about Jesus and shared the Gospel. But I got to the point where I did not want to hear or read about it anymore and I would rip up the letters.
Over the next seven years I graduated college and traveled both in the States and abroad. I was open to spiritual insight and seeking answers. Far Eastern religion didn’t work, and New Age didn’t either. But one day, in a tiny, Spanish-speaking church service in Los Angeles, the Holy Spirit overwhelmed me. A peace and love filled my heart as never before! I went home to my closet bedroom in my sister’s house, closed the door, lit a candle, opened a Bible, and cried out to this Jesus.
He guided me to join the US Coast Guard where I did search and rescue missions. Just like Him! He also guided me to a good, godly man (whom I turned down at first, as if I knew any better) and opened my womb six times after we got married. Oh, what a Savior!
But deep healing from my abortion didn’t happen until many years later. God guided me to a Bible study at the local pregnancy support center called Forgiven and Set Free. It was there, through both His Word and the loving guidance of two mature believers, that the love and forgiveness of God wiped away the shame and guilt of what I had done. Praise God! My sin was wiped out and I felt truly clean for the first time.
I absolutely regret my abortion. Yet now I live free from any condemnation.
To the woman considering abortion: I beg you to wait. Talk to wise people. Really think it through. There are so many more resources/voices compared to the late 70’s. You won’t regret it. Be brave and do the right thing, please! I know it is not easy. I know you are filled with many emotions or maybe none at all. I understand. Let others help.
To the woman who has had an abortion and still lives under the shame and guilt of what you’ve done: I’m sorry. I know exactly how you feel. Seek wise counsel. Take time to care for yourself because you are worth it. And if you don’t know Jesus, I pray you will consider seeking Him out. He loves you and is waiting to bring healing and hope back into your life.