I remember the day it first occurred to me that I was probably pregnant.
I was at my great aunt’s eating dinner. It was tomato soup and grilled cheese, and suddenly I could smell the tomato soup. It smelled stronger than I remember ever smelling it before and suddenly I realized I’d missed my period that week and felt a dreaded lump in my chest as I tried to shake off that thought. That following week, I went to [the Pregnancy Center], and I tried to be as vague as possible when I filled out the paperwork and checked that I needed a pregnancy test.
I got called back, peed in a cup, and sat down with Ramona as she asked all the questions such as when was my last period, asked about how I was going to feel if the test was positive. I lied and said happy as I tried to mask my fears. And when her timer went off she uncovered the test and showed me the paper that said one line means negative, two lines means positive.
The moments after seeing the two lines are kind of a blur, but I remember crying and saying that I was just surprised. And she asked about my family and the father and how I thought they were going to react, and I said I’m sure they’re going to be shocked but happy. And she gave a guess about how far along I was, and I remember her showing me a little pink baby that fit into the palm of my hand, and she said that’s about how big your baby is as we talked about the development stages, and I was excited.
I went home and told my mom who was actually beyond happy and supportive surprisingly. Then the moment came when I had to tell the father who was actually ten years older than me and nobody knew we were involved. He already had a kid, and I thought he was going to be happy. But he had the opposite reaction. He said I needed to get an abortion because the baby would mean everyone would find out about us, and he didn’t want to get in trouble. There was one problem though. I was only 17 and minors needed parental consent, something my mom would never do.
So a few months went by, and he was trying to convince me that it was going to ruin his life if I didn’t get an abortion, while my mom instantly started stocking up on baby stuff from diapers, clothes, to walkers...the whole jazz. I kept telling him that I was going to do it as my birthday got closer, and the pressure got harder as he told me he loved me and I just wasn’t ready to be a mom yet, and I had no idea how hard it would be so this is the best choice. But I kept saying ok we will, but I thought surely he will change his mind, and I secretly didn’t think I was ever going to do it.
On my 18th birthday, I was 16 weeks pregnant. His mom and him took me to a clinic 80 miles away and when we pulled into the parking lot there were protesters everywhere with signs. He told me to cover my eyes, and I did. We got into the clinic, walked through a metal detector, got patted down, and checked in. It looked like a regular doctor’s office. Then we got called to the back, and they did an ultrasound. I asked to see, but the nurse said it was against policy. I remember really wanting to know if they could tell the sex, and that was a strange thought to have at that moment. She told us that since I was so far along that it would be a two day procedure, the cost, and to stay nearby in case of complications. It felt like it happened in seconds, and I didn’t have enough time to talk my way out of it. Before I knew it, the procedure was started, and I left. That night I felt cramps. I kept asking him if he was sure we were doing the right thing, and I kept trying not to cry.
The next day I went back, and as I waited in the lobby the dread kept building in my chest as I felt the tears uncontrollably fall as I looked at the door past the lobby and knew there was no turning back after I passed that door. The receptionist came over to us and said we’d have to leave if I couldn’t stop crying because it was disturbing the other couples in the waiting room. He whispered “suck it up,” and I was called to go back. It was just a large room with about 12 beds, and they all had white boards above them which had how far along each girl was and her blood type. I could see that I was the furthest. Everyone else was 5-8 weeks. The girl next to me said it was her second abortion and that the protesters outside were stupid, and it’s her body to do what she wants.
They put something in my IV, and I got taken back. It felt like a hazy fog of a nightmare that I was slipping in and out of. I suddenly felt a tug, and started telling them to stop, but a nurse held me down as I slipped back into the nightmare.
Next thing I remember is waking up in bed. The doctor came over and said I could leave and shook my hand. I felt so confused. The moment I left the clinic, I remember thinking I’m not pregnant anymore, and the happiness I felt, that I don’t have those problems anymore suddenly didn’t feel like they were as bad as they formerly felt...wasn’t truly worth it. Then I felt myself wondering if I had done the right thing. I tried not to think about that. But then the guilt set in. THAT was my CHILD. What had I done?! And I cried constantly, and after consoling me for a week, he didn’t want to deal with it anymore and started seeing other girls. My mom thought I had a miscarriage and got pamphlets about dealing with miscarriages for me. It helped a little, but I had to look at all the baby stuff she had collected, and it made it harder.
I took a diaper bag full of baby stuff to a cemetery late one night and sat it down in front of a Jesus statue and cried and asked God to forgive me and to tell my baby I’m sorry. I thought I was losing my mind. Why couldn’t I get over this? I went to a mental health center, and they said I had temporary post traumatic stress, but it would be fine. I had no one to talk to. But [the Pregnancy Center] called to check up on me and my pregnancy. I said I had a miscarriage, but Ramona must’ve been able to tell I wasn’t telling the whole truth, but still she didn’t shame or judge me and that meant so much to me when I expected her to act the opposite. She offered me a confidential ear, and for nearly seven years, I couldn’t even talk about it let alone think about it without getting choked up. And every night I would ask Jesus to give my baby a hug for me, and somehow that made feel better but not whole.
Juanita offered me a Bible study called “Forgiven and Set Free.” She warned me it would be hard and would make me have to confront that pain again, but that if I stuck it out and did it, I could then accept God’s forgiveness and finally forgive myself and my child’s father. And it was hard, but I finally after all these years feel whole again, and I can finally share my story without being a crying, babbling mess and reach out to others who feel pressured and that there is no other way. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without [the Pregnancy Center], and I’m SO thankful for them and not being
judged like I feared, but offered God’s love.
This is a true story written by an anonymous client in her own words.