It was March 1994, and I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. Prior to this moment in time, I was a girl of “nevers.” I would never have an abortion. I would never get pregnant outside of marriage. Never. I remember being afraid. So afraid. And when I talked to my boyfriend at the time, he told me that I was going to have an abortion. The thought had literally never crossed my mind.
In hindsight I think we thought we could just erase the mistake that we made. It seemed like a sensible option since neither of us was ready to be a parent, and we hadn’t yet been together a year. We knew we loved each other, and I was young and naïve. I couldn’t bear to be without my boyfriend. I shudder even now as I read that. But it was my reality at that point in time.
A week or so later, we made the drive—out of state—to have the procedure done. It wasn’t something that I was ever really relieved about. I had reservations. But I had reconciled myself to it. The plan was that my boyfriend would wait at his brother’s apartment and then pick me up when it was over. He wasn’t allowed to be with me in those days.
I went in. Stone-faced and numb. I sat there as they “counseled” me. They asked me a hundred versions of the same question. And then they did the ultrasound. It was then I knew I wanted to back out. I did not want to do this. I had no way to reach my boyfriend; there were no cell phones, and I didn’t know what it would mean to be strong enough to walk out. I had the procedure.
It’s safe to say we immediately regretted our decision. We cried the whole way home. We didn’t talk about it. We moved on. But that loss never left us even when we married a couple years later. It became especially difficult when we started to build our family a few years after that. I started to become angry with my (now) husband, blaming him, blaming myself for being weak when my baby needed me to be strong. I was angry. And sad. So very, very sad.
It would come to be for us that this baby was the only one we would create together, the only baby I would hold within my body. There’s no way we could have known it then. It wasn’t a result of the abortion, but a result of life. I would have missed this baby every day either way, but it was especially difficult because of the circumstances of our life.
I am working on forgiving myself. The shame and anger are something that I live with every day. But the regret is real. It’s tangible. Somedays I feel like it could eat me alive. I think about that baby every day. It has been over 20 years, and I think about him or her every, single, day. The regret, the loss, it’s very real.
If you are unexpectedly pregnant, please consider adoption. Visit Adoption.com to view adoption profiles from hopeful adoptive parents. Visit Adoption.com/unplanned-pregnancy to find guidance with your unplanned pregnancy.