I wish I could stop my beating heart, twice, as repayment to the lives I've taken. The damage I've caused is unfixable.
Two mornings ago, he had a special ceremony for something having to do with his job and I was supposed to be going to it. I told him I would not come and support him when he wasn't supporting me in any way through this. So I skipped his ceremony and had the abortion. I couldn't tell him I was going to have the procedure done because I knew he would talk me out of it in some way or another. I also didn't want to see his parents because they went to the ceremony as well. They knew about the pregnancy and they were under the impression I was going to keep it, because I had told them that I was planning on it. They knew that I was unsure of course, but no one was expecting what I did. I did confide in my family and closest friends constantly about this, but of course no one knew how I really felt. My family really wanted me to keep the baby and my friends all agreed that it would be a mistake to keep it.
My life felt like it was gridlocked. I'm 21 and about to start my senior year of college, I'm also in the military. Before this happened I could not have been a happier person. I felt like my life was falling into place exactly how I had always dreamed it would. In one year’s time, I would have my degree in a major that I love, I would commission as an officer in the Army, start my career that I've worked so hard for, marry the love of my life, and spend my life being blissfully happy. When I found out I was pregnant, I felt like my life was beginning to slip away. It made me feel extremely out of control. I hated that my family and my boyfriend were so unsupportive of my decision to have an abortion. I'm back in my hometown from college for the summer so my family has been pretty involved in everything. We're generally pretty liberal people and we talk about everything, so I went to them for support, but found that it was one-sided.
The most devastating part of all of this is that my boyfriend came to my house after my abortion/his ceremony to spend two weeks with me in our hometown, and he showed up expecting me to still be pregnant. He saw the antibiotics and immediately realized what I had done that morning. He started getting angry and telling me how I destroyed our child and I was disgusting. He stormed out of my house saying how f***ed up this was. I haven't heard from him in two days. He won’t answer my phone calls. He will only send me text messages, all of them having the same kinds of messages. "You make me sick. You just killed this person that you will never get to know now. You've humiliated me, my family, and yourself. My parents think that you're a crazy liar. Why don't you go tell them why you just destroyed our child? My whole family thinks you're a baby killer’. And the list goes on.
He told me last night as we were fighting about everything that instead of visiting me for two weeks in our home town, he was going to Texas where he starts his new job in about a month. He left for Texas yesterday and never told me. I live nowhere near Texas. It is across the country from me. We also found out last week that he is getting deployed to Iraq in a month for one year. If I had kept this baby, I would have had to go back to college pregnant and have the baby in February. Then I would have had to move back to my hometown to have the baby and raise it while he's away because surely I could not handle all of that without friends and family to help me. And although he had every intention and was happy to support me financially and in every other way, he would still be across the world for a year. He would have missed my entire pregnancy and the first six months of our baby's life. It just seemed so unrealistic that everything would just work and be fine. I don't want my life to "work out and be fine." I want my life to be everything I dreamed it would be, not confined to raising a child before I can. I want to be able to devote my young life to my career, my partner, my education, and my love to travel. I value my freedom and independence so much and I couldn't give up everything for a child that I was dreading so much. It was awful that my family and boyfriend would try to guilt me into bringing this child into the world when I was so opposed to it.
Usually this situation is so opposite. The boyfriend and parents are generally the ones supporting abortion while the girl is conflicted. My situation could not be any more opposite. I had to fight to be able to do this and defend myself every step of the way. It was so unfair. And now that it’s over I just feel like I've lost everything. I worry that I am damaged in some way, psychologically, I mean. I felt so disconnected from my entire situation; it just did not seem real. I feel like I fought so hard for this decision and I knew that I might lose the person I love most in this world, and now that it’s all over I'm just left to second guess every decision I've ever made. It makes me question everything about myself and where I'm going in my life. I often feel very disconnected from the people around me and for some reason it’s extremely rare that I attach myself to anyone. After all of this I just wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Because I don't feel guilty for having the abortion. I can't help but second guess my decision even though I swore I would never look back. What kind of a person has an abortion but doesn't feel any remorse?
When I was at the clinic I started to panic a bit when everything first started and after I knew I couldn't stop it anymore. The sonogram nearly killed me. Maybe I do feel bad about this but I don't want to admit it. I don't know. Everything just feels like a spiderweb. One thing is for sure, this has changed my life. I feel like this has redirected me and now I'm going somewhere else in life. I just don't know where and that's scary, because I thought I had everything figured out. I guess this is what I get for thinking I had my s**t together. I feel like I've violated nature and the consequences are coming back to haunt me tenfold.
There’s something else I have to say. Six months ago I was also pregnant. I hadn't been taking birth control the first time and it was definitely my fault. It was really sad and scary and hard, but afterwards I felt like I had a second chance at my life. And I valued everything I had so much more than I ever had. I thought my boyfriend would leave me after the first time because he was devastated about it. But he didn't, he stayed by me and we worked through it. I came to terms with the first time and I never looked back or second guessed anything. But this time something just feels off. Maybe because no one except for my five best friends agreed with my decision. It probably feels off because my boyfriend has left me alone to deal with all of this. My parents are also on vacation right now so I'm home alone. I just feel isolated. I've gotten hammered the past two nights because it’s all I want to do. I haven't eaten a meal in two days, just snacks here and there. I don't even have an appetite. For once in my life I don't trust my instincts or my own judgment. I have no idea what just happened to my perfect life. I've always felt like I was born with too much luck for one person . Even when things have been bad in my life I've always been a very positive person, and I tell myself there’s a light here somewhere I just have to find it. And right now my life feels black and empty, just like my heart, according to my boyfriend.
I don't even know that I can grasp the seriousness of this situation. I just stopped the heart of my unborn child, for the second time in six months. No matter how many times I say that to myself I can't grasp it. Something has got to be wrong with me. After the abortion, I just sat in the shower for thirty minutes on the floor and cried. Because I felt so dirty but I couldn't bring myself to even touch my own body so I just sat under the water praying that this was a nightmare. I feel like a toxic substance. Even though I've always been a happy kid I've always felt like I hurt people around me. I've always been the one who did the heartbreaking. My family has always joked around that I'm such a heartbreaker, but I realize there is nothing funny about that. I hurt people, badly. I can be incredibly deceptive when I need or want something and somehow I always get what I want. And I feel like maybe this is my karma for disturbing the balance of the things and people around me. I am a ruiner of nature and life in general. I have so much self-hatred. As selfish and self absorbed as I am, I'm also the person I hate most in the world. I feel like a terrorist in my life. Who am I to defy nature’s laws? Who am I to decide who should live or die? How could I devastate the most important people in my life for my own selfish benefit? I feel like I should be grateful for the life I had before the pregnancy and just kept the child. Sure it’s sad and unfortunate that I would never get to have the life I always imagined, but so what? Who does? People around the world are starving and dying or they're sick, and look at my life. My life would be a dream come true for people like that. People’s lives change on a dime and somehow they make it work. But not me. I have to try to outsmart everyone else. Well, the joke is on me. Because I don't think it worked this time. I single-handedly just f***ed up my life.
I look at my parents and how their lives have unfolded and sure they may not have much but they have me, my sister, and each other. And a grandson from my sister who they adore and take care of most of the time. And they’re busy and stressed and struggling with money right now, but they make it work. I could have done that. Financially we could have had this baby. But money isn't everything, obviously. What if your heart is just not in it? What if your heart is empty and not connected to your brain? I always have this fantasy about my life in ten years. I picture a sweet cozy little farm house with my husband. It’s dark and snowing and the horses are eating hay. I imagine going to my seven year old daughter's bedroom and waking her up. I tell her to be quiet so we don't wake up her dad. And so we sneak downstairs and put on our boots and jackets. And we slip outside and run to the barn. We put on our matching helmets and grab two bridles. We go to the field where the horses are and we put their bridles on them. We hop on their backs and ride bareback into the darkness and snow. Afterwards we sneak back inside and crawl into our beds. I guess I need to stop fantasizing about this life that I don't have. What if I had my shot at happiness? Maybe I was too happy for my own good, or God accidentally gave me more happiness than a person should have and now he's taking it from me to prove that point. I don't know.
I definitely feel like this is punishment for all of the bad things I've done in my life. I've never felt more connected with God, except right now it’s not a good thing. Because I feel like he's watching and listening with disgust at my every move. I feel like he wants me to pay for what I've done. I feel so condemned by everyone around me. And I feel like I've lost part of my soul. I feel lifeless. What is the purpose of my life? I haven't done anything good in these past 21 years. Who gives a s**t that I have a 3.8 gpa at school or that I have a career waiting for me when I graduate? What does that even matter in the long run? I wanted to spend every bit of my free time roaming all over the world and seeing and experiencing beautiful foreign people and cultures, but what is the point of that? All of my feelings about everything have completely shifted. I thought I knew what I wanted my life to be. I wanted to spend every day with the person I love so much and I wanted to travel and see the world. I wanted to have a small wedding at my aunt's farm and give myself to my career. I wanted to get out of the Army and have babies, lots and lots of them. I wanted to raise my family on my own small farm where I would teach them to ride horses and paint or play the piano. I didn't want much. I don't need much. I just wanted to be happy. And I wanted to spread that happiness to my husband and children and everyone else in my life. Now I don't know if I can ever feel innocently happy again. I think I will always feel some guilt for my happiness. I stopped a beating heart, twice. And that is something that I will never be able to understand until I willingly have children.
I'm supposed to have a prenatal appointment in a few days where I would have seen a picture of that baby. The baby that I stopped. There is definitely something defective in my brain. I don't even kill bugs. But I kill babies? I don't understand myself. I don't understand my actions or my thoughts. I feel like a serial killer. I've lost the person I wanted to share my life with and this is the worst feeling of abandonment. I know this is my fault. I don't even deserve him. It makes me rethink my decision because I know we would have been happy together. I just couldn't have that baby. I feel tortured because of how I've hurt that person. I know he feels rejected and emasculated and ashamed. And I wish he didn't, because this is something I should be punished for, not him. I cannot believe what has just unfolded before my eyes. Here I am, free as a bird. I'm not tied to anyone or anything anymore. But I've never felt more chained. I don't want my life anymore. I don't want to wake up in the morning because I've lost my will to be alive. I wish I could stop my beating heart, twice, as repayment to the lives I've taken. The damage I've caused is unfixable. I've broken myself and taken the most important part of someone that I deeply care about. I fantasize about swallowing a bottle of Tylenol and as many bottles of wine as I can get my hands on. I've never really contemplated suicide before. It makes me think of my friend Luke who committed suicide when we were in high school. He was beautiful and charming and I always secretly wanted him when I was in 7th grade. We went out once, to a movie. We kissed. And three years later he hung himself from a ceiling fan. I always wondered if I had given him a death kiss. I don't think I have a reason to live. I don't know what to do anymore. I don't know how to apologize to these people I've harmed. Or this baby that I killed. I don't know how to put the pieces of my life together. There aren't any pieces anymore.
Editor’s note: Thank you for being so honest and open about your feelings…You are obviously at rock bottom, and having said what you said about suicidal thoughts, fantasising about carrying out suicide, I think you may be at risk and I want you to contact your doctor as soon as possible for support.
Let’s get some things straight in your thinking. You present to me as someone who is goal-orientated, you know what you want, and you set out to achieve them. Purposeful and perfect plans help you feel in control. You also seem to be the sort of person whose emotions are held back, and your logic rules you more strongly than your emotion – until now.
All your plans have fallen to pieces. What you thought ending the pregnancy would achieve has not come to pass. As with many women who have abortions, the very thing the choice for abortion was designed to keep intact has disintegrated – your life as you wanted it. In fact, it has pulled the rug out from under you, causing you to feel incredibly insecure and confused. You’re asking questions, as if you can’t rely on yourself or your instincts anymore.
You’re not psychologically damaged – certainly not more than any of the rest of us! You simply seem to be the sort of person who holds back her emotions and lives life through her logic. That doesn’t mean to say your emotions are not there – you just have them under tight control. As a result, at first you felt as if it was all a bit unreal. You felt disconnected from reality, unable to feel anything – numb. But now this event in your life is breaking through some of your logical defences, your emotions are surfacing intensely and you don’t know what to do with them.
Women often have to deny a part of themselves in order to go through with an abortion, because there is a part of themselves that acknowledges what is truly happening. The fact that you found the sonogram so hard, and the fact that you felt dirty after the abortion, tells me that there is a greater emotional response to your abortion going on in you than you are presently able to acknowledge or accept.
In your story, you are clearly struggling with self-contempt, or self-hatred. This is often what we do as a response to guilt and shame. We make ourselves out to be so bad, not just castigating ourselves for what we have done, but for who we are. You use several identity statements (‘serial killer’, ‘ruiner of nature’, for example) that tell me your self-contempt is overrunning you, so much so that you project your view of yourself onto God and believe that he is disgusted with you. Your sense of the need to punish yourself is so strong that you talk about dying twice to ‘pay for’ the two abortions. It is tragic that you think of yourself in this way.
Abortion is not the unforgiveable sin. That doesn’t mean you can pack up your emotions and move on, however. It’s time to get your thinking straight about what you have done, and how it’s affected both you and your boyfriend.
You mentioned God. Well, God is love – he can’t help but be anything else, so he doesn’t have it in him to be disgusted with you. If God means anything to you, he only has love for you. That must be the first foundation of your thinking. The second is that as a person you are OK; you just did something that has cost you and others dearly and caused incredible pain. The third is that self-punishment, however satisfying it feels in the short term, achieves nothing. It’s dead-end sorrow. There is healing available to you, however, and restoration of your relationship is possible, but you would find it easier with support to face up to what has happened, and to find forgiveness for yourself, enabling you to change and move on.
Please visit your doctor and ask about or find some post-abortion support where you are. Let us know how you get on. We’ll be thinking of you.