I Regret My Abortion ...
When I was 15 I got pregnant with my son. Five days before he was born his father was killed in a car accident. Though my parents had originally encouraged me to place my baby for adoption, they were very supportive of my decision to keep him and helped me to finish high school.
Halfway through my senior year I turned 18 and started going to the bars. There I met my new boyfriend, my knight in shining armor who I hoped would marry me and be a daddy to my son. Just after graduation I discovered I was pregnant again. I couldn't face telling my parents. I couldn't handle them being disappointed in me again. My boyfriend told me he loved me and my son but he just couldn't promise me he'd be around if I had this baby. Now I was afraid. What on earth would I do with two children by two different fathers? Who would ever want me? I didn't want to be alone and I desperately wanted a daddy for my son.
It was a day in late August 1980. At the clinic they asked me why I was choosing abortion. I wasn't “choosing” abortion at all; I felt like I didn't have a choice. The room was cold and for a minute I think I convinced myself I was just going in for a pap [test]. They told me I would have some cramps, I would hear the suction machine and then it would all be over. I remember being scared out of my mind and wanting to leave, but I couldn't, I had to go through with this.
I remember the nurse holding my hand as I started to cry and I realized that it wasn't my insides that were being sucked out of me but my baby. Not only did my baby die that day, but deep down inside, so did I. In the waiting room afterward they give you juice and cookies, like you had just given blood or something. I remember thinking, “I just killed my baby and I get juice and cookies for a reward.” I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
I just wanted to get drunk and stoned and kill the pain in my body and soul. I ended up on a street corner, screaming and crying out to God to forgive what I had done. But I knew God couldn't forgive this one — it was the unforgivable sin. At least that's what I thought.
I bled for two months afterward, ending up in the hospital with a D&C [dilation and curettage]. Sometimes an abortion is not complete and parts of the baby can be left inside, causing hemorrhaging. I don't know for sure that this is what happened to me, but it's possible. A year later I was diagnosed with endometriosis.
With the realization that I might never have another child, I believed this was God's punishment for what I had done. I became promiscuous, I drank and did drugs — anything to stay numb. I had a few relationships in between but I wouldn't let anyone too close. If I did, they might find out who I really was. I went through the motions of living but really only existed.
But on Dec. 23, 1993, my life changed. I experienced the love and mercy of God flooding my heart and soul. That night was the beginning of a healing journey that I'm still on today. Healing is a process that will go on all my life. I have received God's forgiveness. I have learned to forgive myself.
I have grieved, for my baby, Jennifer Rose, and for the loss of my fertility, as my husband and I are unable to have a child.
I deeply regret my abortion. Living with the painful truth that I took the life of my child would not be possible if not for the grace of God. In the most mysterious ways that I can't even begin to understand, God has transformed the ugliness of my sin into a beautiful testimony of his mercy.
It's time the truth be told and abortion be seen for what it really is — the death of a child and the wounding of women and men for life — as we grieve for the little people who are no more.
Terri White is from Beloit, Wisconsin, where she has been involved with Silent No More.
- May 2-8, 2004