I saw the lights on the ceiling. I felt the tear. The nurse held my hand with saintly love as I sobbed. A part of me died in that moment, a ripple through the eons.
I was 21 and a newly graduated nurse when I went through my abortion and had landed a prestigious hospital job. My mum was accidentally pregnant at the time at 40 with my brother who I later helped to deliver with the midwife (after I had undergone my abortion)
I freaked out. I couldn't move back home in a small town with a pregnant mother. My boyfriend said he wasn't ready for a child and we couldn't afford it (I later discovered he was wealthy and had not been honest with me). He was living far away at the time going to university.
As he slept in my room one night at the nursing quarters against the rules of no men, we were discussing what to do. I got caught with him in my room and I was kicked out by the nun. Pregnant, I went to house hunt by day after my night shift work. The nun who found us gave me one week to find a place after I begged her. I was scared. I didn't know what to do. I didn't tell a soul.
My boyfriend booked a hotel for the week as I was homeless and I went through with the abortion. I didn't want to go through with it but I was so scared, alone and overwhelmed. I always said I would have a child if I accidentally became pregnant, but I just didn't realize what it was actually like to be in that position.
The first doctor I approached rejected to care for me due to his religious beliefs so I had to hunt for a doctor who would.
I went to get counselling afterwards and was paired with another religious man who rejected me so I had to keep searching for help. I gave up.
I went back to work and it was a very hard year. I saved a few lives and I decided to work in hospice to become more familiar with death. I nurtured people through their losses.
Many hard, lonely years accompanied me with multiple instances of sexual assault and trauma I started to have difficulties coping. I always comforted myself with the idea that losing a child to help others may be excusable as a choice but when I left my career, in those last days I sat down by my friends nieces side who was losing her new baby that had just been born. It was dying in her arms and her tears dropped on that babies face. I watched that baby die as I said goodbye to my career. She didn't know of my past and now I hear she wants to be a nurse. The chain continues.
My whole family said I was always the mothering, nurturing type and I would have the most kids. I am childless and not married. Tortured by bad memories. Too lost for words.
You don't forget but you learn to live with it. Its a silent shame for me but I see now with my history of abuse I needed to feel some control over my body. I don't feel it was the answer now, and in retrospect I would like to say I had all this courage to stand up to this invisible community who bad mouthed people but I was a young vulnerable frightened girl. While I was being accused of being a baby murderer I was saving their lives in hospital.
I think now about it more in philosophical ways. The things we should terminate in our minds and and how a new beginning can start for us to live a happier life. My God believes in redemption and love.
Upstate NY, 1985
It was taken away from them. Just a seed in the beginning of a life forming to join this world.
A decision. She wasn't ready. Not in her plan. So scared, but no decision to be made. Outcome predetermined; not to start.
So it was ended. They had no chance to join this world. Left to find another possibility for the loss was cold.
She could feel it in her hips. The pain was held and rocked till the grief was pushed thru every pore, wrung out thru sorrow 'till she could find space to breathe.
Why is it so hard to let go?
Why does it wash over you decades in time?
They were crying out to be saved, but she didn't hear.
I am so sorry to have left you. I wasn't ready to carry a soul.
It's all consuming, the process of growing up. Staying aware, but willing to feel the piercing joys and sorrows that you have endured. Sometimes it's so cold. She was just learning how to share gold, black & pink.
Still stiff, I'll learn how to relax and breathe.
-and I forgive you sweet melissa. U meant no harm
-then why does it hurt?
- because you feel deeply and that is a gift to cherish
I feel the blood in my body and hear the ink on the page. I'm still learning to see clearly and that is okay.
-thank you. I am grateful
- U are always welcome. my gifts are bountiful
- I forgive you. come fly with me
We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser. Letters where actual contact is just not possible for whatever reason.
Do you have a letter you'd like to send but can't? If so, send it to us.
Please, The Band, keep in mind the mission of Band Back Together and the Guidelines for Submissions are very clear in that we are not a rant site - the purpose of our posts and our mission is to be able to share our stories in a safe manner while encouraging healing.
Hello Ex #1. You were wonderful. You were kind, thoughtful, loving, attentive. You were there for me through a very rough time when my parents were divorcing. You were loved by all of my family. You were an amazing first boyfriend and I loved you with all my heart. Thank you for being such a wonderful first.
Hello Ex #2. You were revenge on my parents for splitting up and "ruining everything". You were MANY years older than me. You were fun because you provided everything I needed to escape my shitty teenage reality. I drank and did drugs. You became a heroin addict. I became pregnant. I made an incredibly difficult decision to abort and then a really smart decision to leave you. Please stop trying to "friend" me on Facebook. I am never going to accept the request. You are in the past. Stay there.
Hello Ex #3. You were my self-punishment for the abortion. You were incredibly gorgeous and charming. Then you weren't. You picked fights over everything. I could never give you enough of my time and energy. I let you isolate me from my friends and family. I hated myself. You hit me. I only ended it because my friend would have killed me (figuratively speaking) if I went back to you. After all, she got a black eye when she stepped in front of me to protect me from your swing. You suck. I was stupid.
Hello Ex #4. You were very charming, sweet and funny. We had so much in common. Eventually I moved in with you. Then you stopped working. I supported us (and your friend) for two years. I kept giving you chance after chance to make something of yourself. How could I leave you high and dry? You had no job. You'd be kicked out of the apartment. Where would you go? What the hell was I thinking? When I finally left, I did it all wrong, but you were just fine. You found someone else to take care of you. I pity her. I was proud of me for thinking more of myself and wanting more for myself than what you were giving.
Hello Husband. It took these exes and so many more for me to grow up and learn self-respect; to learn how to love someone else correctly. And to learn to be loved the right way. Yes, sometimes we argue, but you know what? Those arguments are healthy. It took me a lot of years to learn how to argue healthily. We communicate, we share our feelings and our points (sometimes loudly, but always respectfully), we compromise where it's appropriate and give in sometimes, too. We work together to make us work. You always think of me, my needs and how things will affect me before you make decisions. I've learned to do that, too. You love me so much. I love you equally. We have a beautiful life and three beautiful girls. We have had some REALLY hard times in the nince years we've been married. But we work through them together and we are stronger for it. My love for you grows and my respect for you grows. You have my trust.
Thank you for growing with me.
One in every four women will have an abortion in her lifetime.
This is her story.
I am in my 20's. I have a great job. I have a wonderful family and the best friends a girl could ask for.
He is in his 30's.
We had been together for a little over a year. Our relationship was unhealthy (to say the least). Constant arguing and fighting. Yelling and screaming. Many nights of drinking and physically fighting.
I don't know why we were still together. I don't know why we are still together; I was unhappy then and I am unhappy now. Maybe it's because he is the only one who knows my secret. It's OUR secret.
I found out I was pregnant two days before my best friend's wedding. I took two tests and both were positive.
I was terrified.
The three days that followed were crazy and emotional. I was surrounded by friends and family. It was so hard not to tell someone, but I told no one. I already had my mind made up.
I have always, always, always maintained I would never have an abortion. But, I also believe that every situation is different. Everyone goes through different things and I never felt that it was my place to tell someone else what was best for them. I never thought I would be in this situation. I never thought it would happen to me: I wanted an abortion.
I didn't want my family or friends to know. They wouldn't understand.
I was very early in my pregnancy, so I opted for the abortion pill. We went in a week later and I was given one pill in the office and 4 tablets to take later. I expected it to be awful with lots of pain and cramping. I felt nothing and within a few hours the "worst" was over. I slept a lot. I don't even remember much of it.
In the days and weeks that followed, everything went back to normal. At least as normal as things could be.
I started having dreams about being pregnant. The dreams turned into awful nightmares. Nightmares about me physically murdering my child in the hospital.
The nightmares have turned into self-hate. I cannot believe what I have done. I thought it was over and I thought I was okay. It is not over and I am not okay.
My due date is on our two year anniversary.
I am surrounded by pregnant women. I wish more than anything that it was me. I can't eat. When I do eat, I binge.
I can't sleep, and when I do sleep, my sleep is filled with nightmares and tears.
I can't talk about it because no one knows this deep, dark secret and the one who does know has no idea how to help me cope. It makes me hate him even more.
I don't feel worthy of this amazing life I have been given. I took the life of an amazing little person because I was afraid. Because I was too selfish to take care of my responsibilities. Because I didn't know what to do.
I cannot stand the person that I have become. My relationships and my job are suffering.
I feel like I am dying inside. I feel lost and empty. I feel worthless. I am destroying everything and everyone around me, and I can't tell anyone why I feel the way I do.
I feel alone.
Will I have the opportunity to be a mom? Do I even deserve the opportunity to be a mom?
Will I ever be okay again?
One in every four women will have an abortion.
This is her story.
It was the summer of 2002.
I'd just completed my second year of graduate school. I was working three part-time jobs, while going to school and taking some graduate classes via "distance learning."
For a number of reasons, I was depressed. I'd tried an anti-depressant, but it just gave me dry mouth and, if I ran late taking it, I fell into a deep sorrow.
It had been a hard year - I'd seen a new side of my mentor. I hadn't recovered from a relationship-gone-sour. My self-esteem was fragile.
My parents had moved to Arizona so my mother invited me out for the summer - it was the escape that I needed. I'd worked near school as a waitress at Cracker Barrel, so I transferred to the Cracker Barrel nearest to my parents.
That was where I met David.
I'd made friends with a girl named Rebecca at work, sometimes hanging out together. Rebecca learned that I liked older men. Her husband had a divorced friend who was looking to date.
We met - he looked like a tall, weathered cowboy with a salt-and-pepper mustache. He was twenty-two years my senior and had two children - his thirteen year old had special needs.
We met for dinner with Rebecca and her husband. Afterward, we sat on the back of his truck, talking. I told him I'd be going out of town to visit another college with my parents, so I wouldn't see him for a week. He gave me a tender goodnight kiss, and walked me to my car.
I'd decided, before I met David, to go to school in Arizona rather than return to Tennessee. I'd planned to stay with my parents, work full-time and save, then go to NAU.
When I returned, David was waiting for me. As soon as I got off work, we sat on the back of his truck and talked. Quickly, we were dating.
In hindsight, there were so many red flags.
But all I saw was a simple man with a past he was trying to overcome (severe alcoholic) who led a modest lifestyle. His first marriage had crumbled and he was honest about his past mistakes.
We spent much time together. I met and adored his sons. His thirteen-year-old had hydrocephalus and wasn't expected to make it to age thirty. His five-year-old had emotional issues from the divorce. He had full custody of his sons.
We became sexually intimate.
Things began to turn during a weekend camping trip with his youngest son. David couldn't catch his breath. He'd had a rough week at work, an argument with his ex-wife, and money issues. I paid for the camping trip to ease the financial burden.
He had a panic attack.
We'd met a woman and her children who insisted he see a paramedic. I watched the children while she took him. They were gone a few hours, but returned with a clean bill of health.
When we returned, something seemed different - with him, with me. He withdraw. He called less, canceled plans, and didn't come into work to visit me. I suspected the woman from the camping trip.
I called her to see if she'd spoken to him. She told me that they'd spoken every day - he was going through a lot. My fear grew. He called, furious that I'd been "prying." I cried, we made up but the damage was done.
Working an early shift one morning, I assumed that I wasn't feeling well due to stress. I ignored the nausea and dizziness, scolding myself for letting David get to me.
I'd been trying to enter an order, and almost collapsed. I was sent home.
"Could be the flu," I was told. But I knew. Without any idea what pregnancy felt like, I knew. I bought two pregnancy kits.
Both confirmed it: I was pregnant.
How could I be pregnant?
I called David panicked, and said that we needed to talk. He insisted I tell him over the phone. I did. When I told him that I was pregnant, there was a dark silence.
Then, "Well, you can't have that baby. You're too young, and I'm too old."
First it was you can't, it become you shouldn't, and finally a threatening you will not have that baby. Bile rose - I'd seen his capacity for violence. He'd been more than aggressive with his younger son. There were a few times that he tightly grabbed my wrist and yanked me around.
He had a short temper, slamming his hands on the table, barking at his children or me.
He had a temper, but I never thought my life was at risk. Until it hit me: this man is threatening me.
For two weeks, I lived in turmoil. I didn't tell my parents. I rationalized it: I was an adult. It was my choice to have unprotected sex, I had to deal with the ramifications.
What does one do when their life could be in danger?
A woman at work approached me and asked to talk privately.
"Is there something you need to talk about?" she asked. She had a kind face, used warm words. She looked like she'd ridden the gravel roads of life and come out on the other side a fighter.
I began to bawl.
I told her the things he'd been doing. Letting the air let out of my tires. Pulling wires out of the car so it wouldn't work. He was stalking me: his white truck following me home, seeing him at the grocery store, even in my parents neighborhood.
We hadn't spoken in weeks.
Fear led me to a choice I wasn't comfortable with: I needed an abortion - but I didn't want an abortion.
She told me she'd had two abortions. The first abortion happened when she was too young and the father was abusive. The second abortion she'd had after learning her baby would be born very ill. Talking to her, I felt like I was doing the right thing in getting an abortion.
I called David, trying one last time to work it out.
I got on my knees, Indian-Style on his floor, sobbing, begging him to let me keep the baby. David sat on his throne, cold and silent. I was too young to see it: he was disgusted with me. I was tainted because I'd had the audacity to get pregnant.
He offered the money I'd spent on the camping trip to pay for the abortion. But no more. He didn't have the money and, he said, I didn't deserve it. He gave me the name of the clinic where his ex-wife had had an abortion after she got pregnant a third time (after their divorce was final).
The next day, I called a clinic to schedule the abortion. I was told to wait two weeks, because miscarriages are common at six weeks, especially in stressful situations.
I picked up some extra shifts. The abortion would cost every penny I'd saved, plus the money David had repaid me. I lied to my parents about why I was leaving at six AM on my day off. I can't believe it they bought that I was getting up to "go to a flea market."
My younger brother had toured Iraq, and was due home the same day. I had to come home after the "flea market" to clean the house for his party.
The clinic was a medical office - it looked like any other doctor's office. I was shocked, seeing dozens and dozens of girls waiting. Most were alone. There were a few pale-faced boyfriends, but it was mostly girls.
I filled out the forms and took a seat.
We could hear a muffled yelp or cry over a steady whirring sound. I struggled - should I have the abortion? Should I keep the baby? Before I could decide, my name was called.
I took another pregnancy test (still pregnant) as the abortion was explained in graphic detail. No one asked if I was sure I wanted to have the abortion.
I was administered a local anesthetic but it didn't kick in right away. I told the doctor that it wasn't working. He sharply informed me that the anesthetic would kick in. Eventually.
It did not.
After the abortion was over, I was rolled into a room of cots where two dozen girls were crying, sleeping, or talking.
It was over.
I'd had an abortion.
The relief was replaced by feeling I'd made the wrong choice - it was too late. My child was dead. I was a murderer.
I was told to rest, but I was too upset - all the women, the sobbing, and the smell of burning. I asked my friend to take me home.
The anesthesia kicked in as we got to the car. Finally.
Four hours later, I woke up at my friend's house, three hours after I was due home. My parents were understandably furious. I cleaned the house, hugged my brother, and made excuses to go to bed early.
The next day, I called David and told him I'd had the abortion.
The last words from him were, "Good. Now we can go on with our lives." Two months later, he sold his house and left town.
I didn't have the courage to tell my parents about the abortion. I quit my job and found a job as a secretary. I saw David leaving the Cracker Barrel parking lot one afternoon - presumably to talk to me. I didn't follow him.
Quickly, I jumped into another relationship, which was a travesty. I stuck it out for four years in an attempt to prove my worth. The following years were chaos.
It took eight years to come to terms with my abortion. I'm sad that I felt I had no other choice, that I hadn't turned to my parents, or the police. I'm sad that I didn't consider adoption. I'm sad that I didn't fight for my child.
I can see now that I had a choice and I chose the wrong one. I regret my choice to have an abortion.
I am a mother.
My child - a girl who I'd have named Amelia Frances - would've been born in April of 2003. This year, she'd have been ten, started fifth grade.
It's taken a long time to ask God for forgiveness. It's taken me even longer to forgive. After the abortion, lost my faith and feeling that I could trust myself.
The last four months of therapy, I've begun healing - I see my choice: I still have a choice. I choose to love. I choose to live.
I don't regret sharing my story - not for one minute. If it touches one person, my purpose is complete.
Amelia Frances: Rest in Peace July 2002 - August 2002
I will always remember you,