“Nineteen years ago, I got pregnant for the first time and had an abortion. I was only 16 years old and at the lowest point of my life. I was on antidepressants and undergoing therapy as I was recovering from a very traumatic event that took place the year before. My father, whom I once trusted and loved dearly, had intoxicated and sexually abused me during a trip we took to Palm Springs. When I reported him to the police, he denied everything that happened and convinced the overwhelming majority of my family to side with him in court. My mother, who had long been separated from him, was the only person left standing in my corner. Worse still the justice system failed me because the evidence that would have proven my case was destroyed (with the help of my bitch stepmother), and they set my father free from jail. Because of all of this, I fell into despair and my life took an even deeper nosedive as I engaged in risky and self-destructive sexual behavior with grown men I met online, some of whom were more than twice my age.

My mother had no idea what was truly going on with me during that time. Although she stood by me when all hell broke loose with my father, we already had a rocky relationship and it was especially bad during that time. Just a few months earlier, she told me that if I ever got pregnant, she wouldn’t help me the way she had helped my older sister, who also got pregnant when she was a young teenager. She went so far as to say she’d throw me out into the street and disown me so how could I possibly tell her the truth? There was no way I could, and there wasn’t anyone else in my life during that time who I could turn to for moral support or guidance. My immediate reaction upon hearing the news of my pregnancy from my doctor was that I had no other choice but to get an abortion without her knowledge, which really fucking pained me because it was the one thing in life I swore to myself I’d never, ever do. Yet there I was.

I’ve been through some horrible shit in my life but nothing was as traumatic as having that abortion. I still remember the light-blue disposable gown they had me wear as I sat with the other women in the waiting room. I remember glancing around the room and being struck by how expressionless they all appeared to be. What is going through their minds right now? I wondered. Do they not feel any remorse? Meanwhile, I’m sitting there with tears rolling down my face, thinking “I’m sorry! I’m so very sorry!” over and over in my head, tortured by the thought of what my child would say if it had a voice and knew of its imminent demise. I cried silently as I waited for someone to call my name.

I remember how nervous I felt as they had me lie down on the medical table while they positioned my feet on the stirrups. They told me to count backward from 10; they injected the anesthetic, and before I knew it, I was out. Total blackness. Next thing I remember is my body jolting forward as I screamed at the top of my lungs. I was on a gurney and I turned my head to see two rows of other women laying unconscious on theirs. They all had thick white padding covering their pelvises, and I looked down to see it on my own as well. Within moments, two nurses arrived and forced me back down on the gurney, telling me to be quiet. They showed no compassion and only seemed to care about whether I would scare away their other clients. It was at that moment when I felt dead inside.

The pain that followed was dreadful, both physical and psychic. It was so bad I had to bite down hard on a towel and scream so as to not alarm my mother in the next room, and I just wanted to die. My self-destructive behavior continued to intensify, and I kept hoping that one of these strangers would put an end to my miserable existence. Until just earlier this year, I had kept all of this hidden from my mother. I was too scared to tell her the truth even though my wounded inner child was desperate to cry out and harbored feelings of anger and resentment towards her through all these years, causing a huge strain on our relationship which we’re only now starting to heal. I often wondered what would happen had she not threatened to abandon me as she did. Would I have had the courage to continue with my pregnancy, even if I were to give up my child for adoption? Would she have supported that decision or would she have bullied me into keeping it instead as some twisted form of punishment, even though I knew I wasn’t mentally fit to be a mother? Knowing how deeply irrational and hysterical she was prone to be, especially with her religious fanaticism, my guess was the latter. For a long time, I tried to convince myself that having the abortion was the lesser of two evils but my mind continued to swirl with a million “what if?” questions. It plagued me with shame and guilt for the next several years and no matter how hard I tried to bury it in the deepest recesses of my mind, I still found it unsettling to even be around children. The thought of motherhood terrified me so much that I avoided it altogether. I didn’t think I was worthy of it and the thought of bringing new life into this scary world seemed too crazy.

It took many years of intense healing, shadow work, and self-development for me to reach a point in my life where I felt I was worthy and capable enough to be a good mother. Finally, at age 34, I gave birth to a wonderful, comical, and adorable baby girl who I love more than anything on this earth, and I’m so happy and honored to have her in my life. Her father and I are 100% committed to giving her the absolute best of care and we’re confident that our peaceful parenting philosophy will ensure that she’ll never experience the abuses we endured. We have drawn the line here. Well and good as that is, a part of me still can’t shake the bittersweet reality that confronts me each time I look at my daughter’s precious little face. I still mourn the death of my first child and not a day goes by when I don’t feel the pain of regret for the terrible decision I made. I wish with all my heart I had given my child a chance to live instead of being torn up by a suction tube.

There’s nothing I can do to change the past but at least now I know better. It was never my right to extinguish that innocent life. It was the wrong thing to do, no matter how difficult and tragic my life circumstances were. It was an individual human being with its own DNA and its own intrinsic value and no amount of euphemistic language or utilitarian excuses can change that fact. By the same token, I don’t claim to have all the answers to the myriad of problems connected to such a highly complex issue but I know that I feel a moral duty to speak out against the brutal abortion industry, and do whatever I can to warn and help other vulnerable girls and women who may face the same difficult decision I was. What women deserve in these fragile moments is love, support, and guidance, not violence, which is exactly what abortion is.”