Let me back up a few years first, before I talk about my little star, Aubrey. I gave birth to Abigail shortly before 1am on December 19, 2002, just three days after my 20th birthday. Many do not know that she was not an accident. She was planned. Although I was young, I was always able to care and provide for her. Shortly after I had her, I was able to buy a house, with her dad. It wasn’t perfect, it never was, and it was never supposed to be. I tried to make things work for a long time, I tried to look past his willingness to leave our home and be with multiple girls, while I cared for our child.

Abigail was three when I became pregnant with Aubrey. Abby and Aubrey never got to meet, they never got to play dolls together, they never got to laugh or cry together. They never got to be best friends. They didn’t because I decided that having Aubrey was not a possibility for me. Aubrey wasn’t planned, Aubrey’s dad was not Abigail’s dad. Aubrey’s daddy is Jeremy. Jeremy was there for me, I fell in love with Jeremy, but our situation was very messy. It was easier for me to push Jeremy away then to deal with the reality of being pregnant with our child. Jeremy didn’t have a choice when it came to Aubrey. I was 16 weeks pregnant with Aubrey and 23 years old.

I walked into the Planned Parenthood Clinic. There were protestors outside. I still walked in. I signed in at the main desk. I was given medication in a brown paper bag. The waiting area was filled with people from all walks of life. Then, there I was, holding this bag that would help to end Aubrey’s little life. I was instructed to go into the bathrooms and insert this tablet inside of my vagina that would allow my cervix to dilate and prepare for a surgical suction abortion. I did. I walked out and waited, waited to be called. I can close my eyes and see the exam room like it happened yesterday. I removed my clothing from my waist down. I had a sheet to cover myself. Then the two ladies performed a scan of my uterus and completed the abortion, it was fast, too fast. I was transferred to a recovery room. Nurses monitored me for two hours before I could safely leave. Then I was able to return home and move forward with my life.

Aubrey was conceived on Abigail’s third birthday. Aubrey was meant to happen – even though she wasn’t planned, she was also not an accident. I wanted to have Aubrey, I wanted to figure things out with Jeremy, I wanted Jeremy to come back and tell me all these things I needed to hear. But those things didn’t happen. I didn’t make those things easy for him to do, I know that now. My idea of following through with Aubrey changed. I needed to stop everything and pretend like nothing happened and to return to normal, (what ever that was) as fast as I could, and never look back. If that meant having an abortion, simple, easy, done. Friends have done it, my sister has done it, I’ll do it too. I made the appointment, I delayed the appointment, I rescheduled to appointment, I finally went to the appointment.

I needed to continue to move forward, continue to care for Abby, continue to work and attend college, continue to be Joe’s girlfriend or fiancé or whatever we were, and completely remove Jeremy and Aubrey out of my mind. At the time, I felt like I needed the people around me to be supportive with my decision, to never talk about what I did, to pretend that this event never occurred.

I can’t quite remember how I told Jeremy that I was pregnant with his baby. I think it was done over the phone, and then I came to his work late one night. Jeremy never tried to run, he never was upset, he was there. Which frustrated me even more, he was there, no matter what. I am also pretty confident that if we had Aubrey we would have enjoyed the last 13 years together. For years I was frustrated with him. I wanted him to say something, I wanted him to make me stay, I wanted him to tell me that having Aubrey would be the best thing ever. He didn’t, I didn’t, we didn’t. We never got to hold Aubrey, we never got to bring her home, we never got to look into her eyes and kiss her smile. Even though she never made it into our arms, she has never disappeared from our lives and most certainly not our hearts.

The months, weeks, days, and minutes preceding the abortion were mentally and emotionally exhausting. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I was consistently getting sick. I was also working, attending college full time, keeping a house together, and of course caring for Abigail. Every moment I questioned myself and my decision. I just wanted Jeremy to grab me and tell me that he loved me and wanted me and our baby.

I wanted to leave the clinic, I wanted to run, I wanted to scream at all the girls there and tell them to stop hurting their babies. I remember seeing all these girls, so many girls. That day, easily, there were more than 50 people. I was running out of time to insert the pill. I felt like I couldn’t delay it anymore. I felt that I had to go through with it, that there was no other option. I was there, at this clinic, so how could I leave. But I could have, I could have left. Now I know I could have, I wish all the time that I just did. I reluctantly got up from my chair and walked passed all these young girls, women, young guys, and supportive friends. They knew what I was going to do. I was taking the first step in ending Aubrey’s life. I was in the bathroom for what it seemed like an eternity before I decided to put the tablet inside my body. I returned to the large waiting area and sat knowing what would be happening in the next 30 minutes. My thoughts were everywhere. If I left now would she be alright? Is it too late to stop what I started? Then I remembered this was my way of making this all go away, making things better for everyone involved in this mess Jeremy and I created.

My name was called. There were so many rooms and so many recovery rooms that where just close off from the world with a curtain. I could hear all the girls, I could hear them cry, I could hear their pain, I could tell they hurt physically and emotionally, the noises are still so unforgettable. But I still walked and followed the nurse to my room where Aubrey would be born and die all at the same time. Aubrey was 16 weeks, she was about 4.5 inches long, weighed approximately 3.5 oz., she was about the size of an avocado. She was a person, she would have been a pretty cool kid. She had arms, legs, fingers, toes, a heart, she was perfect. But she was going to be gone in minutes, but that’s what I wanted, right? This is what I needed to do, right? I wanted her gone so I could go back, go back to my life of disappointment from Abigail’s father. I was in the operating room, well I suppose it was just an abortion room. Nothing else was happening in these rooms. The procedure lasted 10-15 minutes. Initially it wasn’t that painful, I was given medication and was numbed. I wanted it to hurt, because I was taking her life, and I selfishly keep her with me as long as I could because I knew she was safe, but at the same time I grew her into this person. There was the doctor and the nurse, both women. They where kind and made sure I was alright. I remember the sound of the machine. I just hoped that the procedure was fast for her and that she wasn’t in pain. Abortions can go wrong, really wrong, to where they can be completely dismembered during the process or their little bodies can get stuck in the suction tubes, or even worse their heart can still be beating after being removed from their mom. I hope that this didn’t happen to Aubrey, but I will never know what really happened to her on the other side of me. Besides knowing her remains would be shipped off in a bag or small contained to pathology. I knew Aubrey was girl. I asked. At this point why did it matter. I wasn’t leaving with her, she was going to be thrown away like a piece of garbage. The doctor kindly nodded her head and that’s all I needed to know at that point. Because she deserved a name.

At this point, in my life, I was so consumed by making this choice, making the right choice. At the time my decision to end my pregnancy and fall back in this world of normalcy seemed like the right option. So, I did it. I just never knew the hurt and pain that would continue to follow me, I didn’t think about that at all, I never thought ending this pregnancy would have caused so much heartache and regret. I’m still am unaware of what the right, best choice, for me, would have been. Could I have handle Abby and Aubrey, of course I could? Would Jeremy continue to care about me and be there for me? I think so. But at that moment, as I walked to the bathroom at planned parenthood, I felt like this was my only choice, even though I didn’t want to go through with it. I felt that I had to do this for everyone, it really wasn’t about me. At this point in my life I would never know the impact that Aubrey would have over the next 13 years of my life. I didn’t know and understand the significance that my little avocado would have on my day to day life that would lead me right here to this very moment.

I am a person that is very pro-choice. I believe that women have the right to make decisions about their own body, but I also feel that a wealth of education and knowledge needs to come around that. A part of me would love to work with post abortion women and be able to share their stories. However, I know that even 13 years later, I still struggle with the decision I made, so I am not quite there yet, but someday. Although Aubrey’s life was short, she did not leave this world without a purpose.

Aubrey’s death motivated me beyond my comprehension. I finished school, I received my bachelors in Health Education and my Masters in Literacy Education and Childhood Education. I was an elementary school teacher for 6 years and a middle school health teacher for 4 years. It was a rewarding experience, but I knew Aubrey had a bigger purpose and I knew that this was not my passion. Within the last year I formed a non-profit organization, completely on my own, from the ground up. Aubrey has always been the motivating factor. I assist pregnant and parenting teens, who decide to parent, work on educational and parenting goals, which rewards them monthly on their goal completion and achievement with baby gear, diapers, wipes and clothing, and the best piece, friendship and understanding.

I also work in the schools and deliver health and wellness K-12 curriculum and pregnancy prevention and risk reduction for grade 9-12. I can’t say that I would be doing any of this if Aubrey wasn’t brought to me. But I know that Aubrey’s life, yet taken too soon, was purposeful and will continue to be through the work I do and the young women I meet. I can never take back the past and I will never talk any one out of their right, I can educate, support, and share my strength and story. However, my story is not to pull a person’s decision to parent or to not, but to share that even a mom of five kids that runs a non-profit to help young moms, also could have had an abortion.

Within the last year, I have begun looking into Abortion PTSD and I fit so many of the characteristics. For me, personally, I never gave myself that time to forgive myself. I was so focused on pushing my sadness away that I never got the chance to let myself heal. Until recently that is. About two months ago a, I got a friend request on Facebook. It was Jeremy. We needed to talk. I needed to tell him about all of this. I wanted him to know that I was sorry and hurt and angry he never tried to come back.Less than a month ago he decided to register a star for Aubrey. Every once and a while he will screen shot a picture of Aubrey’s Star and says he is ‘checking in’ on her. I just got us each a little Virgo constellation charm with an attached star that we both can have.