I cannot say that I am like most of the women on here. I deeply regret my abortion. In the prior 10 years, I would’ve told people differently.

But time, space and circumstances caught up with me and I now realize it was a decision that was not in my best interest. I was molested as a child and then lived my life with a verbally abusive stepfather, a handicapped mother who needed me to fix all of her problems and an extended family who, while unintentionally, did their best to make me feel like I was nothing. Any choice I made for myself was immediately put down because it was not in their best interests. I’m learned to be quiet. There were no mother-daughter talks. You were either a whore or celibate. I was never taken to an ob/gyn. My sister was a whore. She had 2 abortions. No one talked about them. I was always told that I would never be like my sister. My job was to take care of everyone else. I was always made fun of for being a virgin by friends. I don’t even remember how I lost my virginity. That’s how little respect I had for myself. I would use protection when the guy asked, if not, I figured he wouldn’t want anything to do with me if I asked, so I never did. Sex was my only worth. Sex was the only love I could get. I went a few years with nothing happening. I was too ashamed in my head to go to the school doctor and get on birth control pills because that would just confirm what I already knew, that I was a whore. I met him through a friend, the first guy that actually showed interest in me for something other than sex. I don’t think he ever actually asked me if I was using protection and he never offered. In the months before I got pregnant, I graduated from college, got fired from my job, couldn’t afford my rent, my car died and I was having to borrow money just to make ends meet. I had no insurance and he had a minimum wage job. My mom had no money. When I discovered that I was pregnant, I think I just went into some kind of disbelief and I kept it to myself. I thought if everybody knew that I was pregnant, they would know that I’ve been sleeping around and in my head there was no worse thing that I could do. My job was to take care of people, not burden them. I never told him. I never told anyone except a father figure. All he said was God will forgive one but not two. I kept hoping and praying that it would just go away on its own. I even hit my stomach hoping to miscarry. I didn’t have the money so I just kept waiting. Then I found out he was going to be leaving town for a job out of state for a few months. There were so many times that I almost said something but for some reason I just couldn’t seem to get the words out. Shame is a powerful tool. I went to a pregnancy clinic thinking it was something else and they asked if I wanted to see an ultrasound. I said yes. I was pretty far along, about 16 or 17 weeks. I saw my baby on the screen, fully formed, and I didn’t feel anything. Something that still haunts me today. I lied to the woman when she asked if my mom and boyfriend knew. I called one clinic and they turned me away because I had to have somebody else drive me which meant I would have to tell somebody. I called another one in a different city that agreed. I waited until my boyfriend went out of town and then I went and had it done. I was 18 weeks by then. I don’t remember feeling anything. I don’t remember crying. I spoke to both my mom and my boyfriend that day and I never said a word. I just went on with my life like it was nothing. My boyfriend and I continued to stay together for many years after. He was a huge pothead which I never agreed with but I stayed anyways because I thought what else did I do this for then. My self esteem plummeted. The happy fun person I was before was gone. And he never knew that I had taken the life of his child. His sister, who was a teenage mother, was pregnant soon after I was and I have watched the child grow up knowing that she was just 5 months younger than mine would be. His mother started asking soon after about grandchildren. I died a little inside each time. After 10 years, I started having anxiety attacks and I decided that I had to tell him. He took the news with grace and forgiveness. The past year has been a living hell as I have come to grips with what I’ve done. I now realize that we could have made it work, we could have stayed together and that we would have a 10 year old child living with us. We are engaged now and he wants to have a family but I fear that that may never happen and I will have taken away the one chance that we had. I have never told anyone in his family. I did tell my mom. With sadness I now realize that all of those fears were just in my head. She would have accepted me and helped me. We would have been okay. The only person outside the clinic was a woman who told me that God would forgive me and that she would pray for me. How I wish there had been someone there saying let me help you find a way to tell your family, let me help you find a way to pay for this child. I wish there was someone there telling me that there were resources out there to help me, that it wasn’t shameful for me to have sex at 24, that it wasn’t shameful for me to be a poor pregnant woman. It equally frustrates me to hear other women say that you must be ridiculous for having regret over an abortion. That there is no stress in later life just because they didn’t feel it. I feel that most women are probably somewhere in the middle, knowing they did their best at the time but realizing years later, with more wisdom that they could have and maybe should have made a different choice. I believe the availability of abortion is sometimes much too easy for women like me who come to later regret the choice. I desperately wish there was counseling and resources to help women pay for their children. I am thankful that I was able to have it done in a respectful and safe place. I know that women will do what they have to do when they feel they are faced with terrible circumstances and I don’t want to see women dying for that choice. But for me and many women I know, I wish I had chosen differently.