Jessica is willingly giving us permission to share her story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The stories that are shared come from the real-life experiences that our clients, staff and volunteers had during their unplanned pregnancy.
Her name has been changed but her story is true.
Unexpectedly pregnant before 15
I will never forget the day shortly before my fifteenth birthday that my dad drove me home from church. It was just the two of us. He began the conversation. “Do you know why your mother didn’t go to church this morning?” “No,” I answered. “She is sick with worry. She thinks that you might be pregnant.” I could feel the blood drain from my face and fear begin to rise. These sentences began a series of conversation in my home that would change the rest of my life.
I had been dating my boyfriend for two years at this time. Was I too young to be in such a serious relationship? Of course. However, after being together for so long we had eventually crossed the line into a sexual relationship. The thought had entered my mind that I may be pregnant as I had missed my period and was not feeling well in the mornings, but I had not seriously thought about it until my dad confronted me. “Could you be pregnant?” he asked. “Yes, I could,” I answered.
The following week was filled with conversations with my parents, my boyfriend and his mother, and a trip to a local clinic for a pregnancy test. The test was positive. I was pregnant.
I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with my parents. They were furious. “You are not going to ruin this family!” my dad yelled. My boyfriend and I had talked about it. We wanted to get married and raise our child. I was 14 and he was 17. This was out of the question. My parents gave me two options. I could have an abortion or go to another state, to a home for unwed mothers, have the baby and give it up for adoption. I could not bear the thought, at age 14, of going away from my family and my boyfriend for such a long time and going through all of this alone. I chose abortion.
At the clinic
It was a hot July day that we drove the 2 hours to the clinic that would perform the abortion. After my parents checked me in, I was on my own. They put me a room with several other women. A woman who worked for the clinic put us in a circle and we had a “counseling” session. The women all shared why they were there. I remember the college student who was not ready for a child and the married woman who had been involved in an affair and was pregnant with the “other man’s” child. We all had a different story, but we were all there for the same reason. To end it.
After the “counseling” they took us to another room and gave us a pill to calm us. Then we waited. One by one we were called into the surgical area for our procedures. Then it was my turn. After a quick exam, the doctor declared that I was 7 weeks and then he started the procedure. There was no anesthesia. It was horrifically painful. The nurse that was assisting tried to distract me by asking me questions about school, but I was in too much pain to be distracted. I could feel scraping and suction, more scraping and suction…and then it was over. After a short recovery period, I was released to my parents. I was in so much pain that I could barely walk to the car. I got in the back seat alone.
I have always tried to remember how I felt emotionally at this point but have never been able to. I asked my mom once how I acted right after the procedure and she told me that I was expressionless…that I just sat and stared out the car window.
The aftermath and years following
After this experience, my life completely fell apart. I didn’t want to have anything to do with God or church. I started smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. My boyfriend and I stayed together for a while but eventually broke up. I became very promiscuous and I just did not care about anything. I almost did not finish high school but somehow managed to pull it together enough to graduate.
I met Tom while working at a local fast food restaurant. We fell in love and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. Tom and I had both been raised in the church and although neither of us had been living like it, we wanted to raise our family in church. We started attending my home church and both of us got our lives right with God. Fourteen months after we said, “I do”, our first baby was born. A beautiful little girl. I did not know that you could feel so much love for such a tiny little person. It was then that I realized what I had done at age 14. The remorse and guilt began to plague me.
We had two more children, a little boy and then another baby girl. With each pregnancy and birth, the weight of grief, guilt, and shame grew. After our third child, we made the decision that my husband would have a procedure to prevent any additional children. After he had it, all I could think about was about all of the babies that would not be born because of it. I was inconsolable. The grief, shame, and guilt over my abortion completely took over. There were many times that I wanted to end my life, but I knew that I could not because my three children needed me.
My husband was very supportive throughout this struggle, but he really did not understand what I was going through. I tried to talk to people… my parents, my pastor, close friends, but everyone just said, “It’s all in the past. God has forgiven you. Just move on.” I could not. I tried to explain it to my husband. “Imagine,” I said, “that one of our children was hit by a car and was killed. Now, imagine that you pushed them in front of the car on purpose.” This was how I felt about it. All I could see in my mind was a tiny, lifeless baby in my hands and it was my fault. There was nothing I could do.
Hope and healing
I eventually went to counseling on the recommendation of my pastor. I had always felt that I did not deserve to grieve as I had caused the harm. It was in counseling that someone finally gave me permission to grieve. I cried for 4 months. Although I was finally able to grieve my loss, the overwhelming guilt and shame hung over me like an oppressive cloud. I still had that mental picture of me holding my lifeless baby. I begged God for relief. One day I was doing housework and I felt that the Lord wanted me to pray. As I knelt to pray, all I could see was my lifeless baby in my hands. I felt such shame kneeling before God. And then, it was almost like I audibly heard Him say, “Give it to me.” What? “No God, this is my mess, I can’t give it to You.” “Give it to Me,” He repeated. I could see, in my mind, His hands reaching down to take my lifeless baby. I reluctantly put my baby in His hands. Instantly, my baby was alive and whole! I felt Him say in my spirit, “You cannot destroy what I have created. Your baby is alive and whole with Me in Heaven.” Joy and relief flooded through me as I realized that God was holding this precious baby and there was nothing that could destroy it! The guilt and shame left me that day.
After this experience, I found a support group for women who have had abortions. I discovered that there is a second victim of abortion…the mom. Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome is a very real thing that many women who have had abortions suffer. It was through the support group that I learned how abortion affected me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It helped me to understand why I acted as I did after my abortion and why the guilt and shame was so heavy. Although, at the time, I felt alone in my suffering, I found that I am not alone. Millions of women are suffering the same grief, shame, and guilt that I did. There are answers. There is forgiveness. There is relief.
If you have had an abortion – or are thinking about it – there may be emotions, pain and struggle that are hard to deal with on your own. That’s why we are here!
Every day, we talk to women in that very position. And they are finally given options, help . . . and the hope they need.
You don’t have to do this alone. You can talk to us at any time. We are waiting for you.