In November 2016, I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. I literally felt sick as soon as I read the test result. My family had such high hopes for me. My other sisters already had children and none of my sisters were married. I was the one that had done things right. I had finished school, went to college and had a good job. Now this. I could not bear for my family to know and be disappointed in me, so abortion was the only answer. I would do it secretly and no one in my family would need to know. I called Solutions Mobile Unit thinking they would be able to help me make arrangements for an abortion. When I called, I was told that they did not do abortions, but I could come in for a pregnancy test and ultrasound. Since their services were free and I really did not know how far along I was, or even if I really was pregnant, I made the appointment. The pregnancy test was positive and the ultra sound showed I was 8.5 weeks. I remember crying as I lay on the table and saw the ultrasound, my heart was breaking, but I still was going to have the abortion.
The client advocate who helped me that day offered to provide information on adoption and tried to help me through my fears of letting down my parents – but my mind was already made up. During our discussion, the advocate asked if I had any spiritual beliefs that might help and comfort me during this decision and I told her I was Catholic and my family was very religious. Another reason I could not let them down. She asked if she could pray for me and crying I said “yes”. She told me that no matter what I decided, if I needed to come back to talk, they would be there for me. I left feeling a little confused at their kindness. I mean, as I completed the exit survey, I checked that I had not changed my mind about the abortion. The client advocate I spoke to called a few times to see how I was doing a few days after my appointment, but I ignored the calls. I had the abortion a week later, alone, never told anyone and could barely live with myself. I felt so alone, and so disappointed in myself.Fast forward to October, 2017. A new boyfriend, a new pregnancy test. How is this happening again!! Positive test. I could not even begin to think of having another abortion. It was out of the question. The abortion last year was harder than I thought it was going to be. I could not stop thinking about it and feeling very guilty. I tried to forget, but I could not. I remembered how kind the women were on the mobile unit I went to last year and remembered how they said I could always come back to them. I felt safe there and I did not think they would judge me. I remember that they had told me parents do not always react the way we think they will and that when we are afraid, we think all kinds of things that are not true nor will happen the way we think they will. I remember them telling me to trust God. That when we do the right thing, He will provide a way. I did not care who knew or what my family might say or do, but I was going to have this baby with or without my family, my boyfriend or anyone else. But I knew I needed help. I did not have medical insurance. I told my mother and my family that I thought I was pregnant. It was very hard to tell them, but they were very supportive. Crying, I told my mother about the abortion the previous year. That was the hardest thing I have ever done. She cried and I cried. She said she was so sorry that she made me feel that I could not go to her for everything. She cried for the grandchild she lost and she felt responsible, just as I did.
My mom and sister came with me to the appointment at Solutions Mobile Unit. There was a different client advocate there than the one I had seen previously so I was relieved figuring I would not be recognized. When asked if this was my first visit, I told them yes. However, in speaking with the client advocate and completing the paperwork, she asked how many pregnancies I had in the past. She must have noticed the look on my face and how I was struggling to answer because she said “It’s okay, some of us have had abortions too, you do not have to be ashamed here.” Then I just started to cry. I told her the whole truth, that I had been there last year and that I had the abortion. Then my mom and sister began to cry. The client advocate was very patient and said she understood and could see my family was hurting. She told me about the various free post abortion healing program that were available in our community and gave both my mom and I the information. I was determined to take the classes, as I knew I could not continue to live with the pain of the previous abortion, while I was pregnant now. She reminded me about God’s love and His forgiveness. My mother said when I was ready, she would go with me to the classes and also to our church with me so I could begin and my family could begin to heal.
We saw my baby on the ultrasound, so beautiful, and heard the heartbeat. I was nine weeks along. This child will live. I could not thank the women who helped me that day enough. I thanked them for making me feel safe and that I could trust them to not judge me. I am not sure I would have gone back there or or possibly even chose to keep this second child, had it not been for their kindness and the words they spoke during my first visit with them. I left that day feeling so much lighter in my heart, as did my mom and sister. That is the day I began the healing process. I know I have a long way to go, but I have the support of my family, and I will not have to go it alone.