What if I told you that I had an abortion? What if I told you that before I was quite old enough to have a beer at a bar, I found myself in a situation? What if I told you that the decision didn’t come easily? That when that positive sign popped up, my heart physically jumped out of my chest. That a part of that feeling was a type of excitement that is both panic and possibility.
What if I told you that some of the people in my life told me that if I didn’t get an abortion, I would regret it forever? That it would ruin everything for me; all of my potential would be gone. What if I told you that I felt as if the decision was no longer mine to be had? What if I told you that it felt like I was being shuffled from one person’s expert opinion to another? That I lost my voice during that time.
What if I told you that it was the most painful experience of my life? That the doctors, a word I use loosely, did not put me to sleep or use any sort of pain management. What if I told you that I felt like I deserved it? What if I told you that I prayed for a long time to God, begging for forgiveness while promising to never put myself in that situation to have to make that type of decision again, even though I knew anything could happen?
What if I told you that afterwards, I left the office and went to class as if nothing had happened? That I tucked that dark cloud away. Buried it so deep that it is as if it doesn’t exist.
What if I told you that, years later, when I became pregnant with my son I worried every single day of my pregnancy? That I waited for the other shoe to drop, riddled with anxiety. That, each month, I waited for God’s punishment to come. That I waited for Him to take away the gift that I was finally ready for. What if I told you that everyday, I still wait, worried that the best part of my life will be taken away from me because of what I did?
What if I told you that I will never forgive myself for the decision I made but I don’t regret it? It is a strange feeling to feel to hate what you did but not want to change it if you had the chance.
2009, I was just 2 years out of high school and sleeping couch to couch. I worked part time in retail and my relationship was new, barely formed. I was naive, impressionable, and had almost no ability to make my own decisions or stand up for myself. I look back on that time and cringe at the thought of what kind of mother I would have been or what kind of future that child would have had.
What if I told you that it has taken me years to own my story and forgive myself even if only in spurts? I have worried, for far too long, what people would think of me if they knew what I’d done. Would they look at me differently, think I didn’t deserve my healthy, beautiful child that I have now, think I was a monster? I don’t know and I can’t worry about that.
If you have been where I have, own your story. Forgive yourself. And learn from your experiences.