For some women, the sorrow that often comes with having an abortion can last a lifetime. Many have a lingering sense of loss and a desire to turn back the clock. Some find comfort in after-abortion counseling programs. Others suffer silently for years before finally sharing their stories as compassionate cautionary tales for others. Here are just a few of their stories.
Leslie got pregnant during her senior year of college, and again a year and a half later. Both times, she chose to have an abortion.
“I gave up my two babies early on for a career, and then I was so depressed and the impact it had on my life, I couldn’t do my career.”
“[I] got my dream job hosting a morning talk show. But a little bit before then, I’d learned I was pregnant and I just knew there was no way that I could do a TV show. My job would be gone if they found out I was pregnant.”
“I went and got rid of that ‘inconvenience’ and went on and did this show.”
After the abortions, Leslie became depressed and turned to drinking and drugs. She quit her job and returned to living with her parents.
“After that, I was pretty much done. I was hollowed out, but I didn’t understand why.”
“That’s why I speak out, in hopes that other people that are suffering in silence break that silence.”
Michelle got pregnant at age 35. Her long-term partner, who had children from a previous relationship, had made it clear he didn’t want more children. Although Michelle initially saw the pregnancy as a kind of blessing, her partner still wouldn’t accept having another child, so she gave in.
“I was torn because I felt like this was a weird twist of fate that I had wanted, but I couldn’t rationalize having a baby that wasn’t wanted by their father, plus I was suffering from intense fatigue and morning sickness, along with fear, isolation, and shame. Because I didn’t have much time before it was too late for a medical abortion, I made the decision to terminate less than a couple weeks after finding out I was pregnant. I immediately regretted it. I cried for days. It’s been 2 weeks since; I will have moments of a regular day, and out of nowhere I will feel like a ghost of a person… intense sadness followed by emptiness. I don’t know what to do moving forward. I hear it gets easier, but I feel so lost right now.”
Monica was a teen in high school when she got pregnant. Although she had a supportive partner, they decided together to get an abortion, largely out of fear of what others would think.
“I was so afraid of my dad being disappointed and angry with me. I was afraid of people judging me and thinking I was a failure. I was afraid my dad would blame my boyfriend for it.”
“We secretly went to a clinic to get an abortion.”
“After the procedure, I felt relief. I thought life would resume as normal, and it did for a while. I didn’t count on years later, looking at the three children I have since carried and thinking of our baby that we selfishly aborted out of fear of facing our family. Who would they be now? Words can’t express my regrets. Very few people know, and I carry shame for the mistake I made to mask what I thought was a mistake. I only hope that God has our child and I hope one day I will know who they were.”
Elizabeth got pregnant at 17, and while that was 34 years ago, she remembers every detail, including the grief she felt then and still works to overcome today.
“When I realized I was pregnant, I had some very complex emotions. I was simultaneously so happy and terribly sad at the same time.”
“When (my parents) found out I was pregnant, I don’t remember any discussion about options. I do remember a lot of talk about how irresponsible I was and how this could wreck my life, and the ‘obvious solution.’ I was dead and numb. My mom took me to the clinic. I paid for (the abortion) myself. It was awful.”
“I was going against something my heart knew was wrong.”
In the years that followed, Elizabeth drank alcohol regularly, found herself in abusive relationships, and had several more pregnancies.
“I’ve had seven pregnancies. One was the abortion, four miscarriages, and two beautiful daughters. I have had a lot of female issues which eventually lead to a hysterectomy. I often wondered if any of it was related to the abortion.”
“Through the years, I have struggled with alcoholism (I don’t drink anymore), depression, anxiety, workaholism… and many behaviors I used to keep myself busy.”
“On the other side of my story is joy and love. I’m finally getting there, crawling out from under the debris of guilt, sadness, shame, depression, insecurity, and grief.”
Chandra chose the abortion pill as the means to abort her child. Like many women, she presumably believed this approach might be easier to deal with than undergoing an actual in-office medical procedure. Chandra found out, however, that the emotional pain can be just the same.
“It took me a week to decide to have an abortion, one hour to convince myself to swallow the pill and another week to realize I shouldn’t have done it. It may not have been the right time. I might not have had a house or a job, or been at the right stage in my relationship, but I had the support of friends and family. We could have done it. I had so much love I could have offered, but I chose convenience, and now I wish I’d chosen hard work and motherhood.”
Each of these women faced challenging circumstances at a difficult time in their lives. The choices they made then they would not make again today. While they can’t undo the past, they can, and many have, found healing.
At Sira in Gainesville, we offer pre-abortion counseling to help women see that there are viable alternatives to abortion. We also offer after-abortion counseling to help women deal with the emotional and spiritual impacts of choosing an abortion.
To talk to an abortion counselor, contact Sira today at 352-377-4947. We’re here to offer help for today and hope for tomorrow.
Stories featured in this article were sourced from abortionchangesyou.com, abortiontestimonials.com, abort73.com and catholicnewsagency.com. Pseudonyms were applied, as necessary, for narrative purposes.