Recently, there has been an explosion of women sharing their personal abortion experiences as part of a new self-described “pro-VOICE” movement. The stated goal of this campaign is to shift the focus from debating the legality of abortion or discussing whether abortion is right or wrong, to sharing stories from individuals who offer an intimate look at life after abortion.
One example is an article that was recently published by Upworthy. In an attempt to paint abortion as a positive experience, the woman in the article said that she was “surprised” by several things that have happened after her abortion. There are many women who now suffer because of their abortion and we felt like our voices needed to be heard as well.
Here are those five voices.
They say the very best gift you can give to your child is a sibling. So, what’s the worst gift? I think it’s deliberately ending the life of one of their siblings. That’s what I did, twice… by legal abortion.
As a person who speaks about my own abortion experiences publicly, it has of course prompted questions from my daughter who is 7 years old. I have three other children, but they are too young to understand.
One day in the car, my daughter (out of nowhere) asked if someday she would be able to see her siblings in Heaven. I asked her what she meant. Honestly, I was hoping that she was not talking about my own two abortions.
She said that she knew I had two abortions and she wanted to know if she would ever get to meet those babies because she said, “in my heart, I miss them.” I never knew I would pass that sort of heartbreak on to my children.
When I had my abortions, I never thought about how it would affect others. I didn’t think about my future children. I never thought about how I would have to explain my selfishness to them.
My abortions live in me, and unfortunately, they live in them.
Founder, And Then There Were None
Finding out I was pregnant initiated a seismic shift in my life: I quit drugs and I started taking care of myself. I hoped for a better future, for myself and for my baby. All of that changed after my abortion 25 years ago.
Within days I was consumed by overwhelming grief and intractable guilt, and attempted suicide. After spending a month in a psychiatric unit to recover, I worked in an abortion center for five years in an attempt to assuage my guilt, normalize my trauma, and rationalize away my pain.
I wandered through life trying to fill the void where my baby should have been. Academic and career pursuits, moves to different states, marriage(s)–nothing satisfied me until I started speaking out about the anguish and regret I felt (and still feel) from my abortion.
Accepting responsibility for my son’s death and allowing myself to truly grieve has led me closer to inner peace. Sharing my story, writing and speaking publicly about how abortion can wound women (also men, grandparents, and siblings) has helped me to connect with people who are seeking to heal too, and to share insight with those who hope to provide it.
I’ll never be the young idealist trying to turn her life around I was when I found out I was pregnant. I’ll also never again be the stricken, self-sabotaging, guilt-ridden, broken woman I was for years after my abortion. Grief can be overpowering, but it can also be transformative. I am a different person because of my abortion, but only because I survived the dark decades-long aftermath and now stand in the light.
Former abortion clinic worker, mother, writer, convert
My first abortion was the father’s choice. The second time, the devil whispered in my ear that abortion would “save” my child from his abusive father.
For years, I lived with self-hatred and contradictory emotions. I told myself that one day I would have children when the time was right, when I’m with the right guy, et cetera.
Shortly after I married I began having obsessive thoughts such as “Pregnancy means choice, choice means abortion.” I was in the ideal situation to have children, but I was traumatized by the past. When I became pregnant, I had to share my pregnancy/abortion history and I was ashamed. Were the doctors and nurses judging me? It was a dreadful time.
I was feeling unworthy to carry a “wanted” child. Every evening, my husband would find me curled up in a chair, crying. This went on until I sought help and took antidepressants. When our son was born I wanted to love him, but I was feeling detached. I had nightmares where I would hurt him with knives and say, “It’s OK, he can’t feel anything,” or he would drown and I couldn’t save him.
Ever since beginning the healing process and sharing my story I have spoken to dozens of women about this. It strikes me that many who were able to conceive after an abortion either couldn’t bond with their children or lived in constant fear that someone was going to take them away. This is not emotionally healthy.
Abortion impacts us long after we leave the clinic. We can’t suppress motherhood now and start again when the stars are aligned. Women deserve choices they can live with.
Member of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Blog: 400 Words for Women
When I was 22 years old, I thought that having an abortion would be the best option for me. Society convinced me that there was nothing good that would come from an unplanned pregnancy, especially for a college student.
They echoed that if I wasn’t ready to be a parent that this was “the most loving thing” I could do. They even said that most women felt relief afterwards. That sure wasn’t the case for me. The following year would be my rock bottom.
I tried committing suicide three times, withdrew from friends and family, and I was basically high all of the time to stay numb inside. After seeking help for most of these issues, except for the abortion, I felt much better.
When I got married I became pregnant again. This time I was so excited that I ran to the store and bought almost every book about my developing baby! It was then that I was struck with absolute grief and horror about what I had done just a few short years earlier.
My baby was able to move, kick, and suck his thumb?! No one told me that! My baby could respond to touch by just 7 weeks?! No one told me that! So, while I was joyful to be pregnant, I was also grieving the loss of my other child.
Now, my son is 4 years old. Sometimes, I look at his sweet face and wonder what features my other child would have had. I still have dreams about holding him or her and it makes me so deeply sad to think that I have robbed my son of a sibling.
You might be thinking, “Why not just try and conceive a sibling for him today?” Well, I would love to, but my husband and I have been struggling with infertility for two and half years. I never once dreamed that I wouldn’t be able to conceive when I wanted to!
Every night m
y sweet boy prays to God for a sibling and every time I hear those precious prayers my heart aches over what I did. Because, in retrospect, an abortion isn’t an easy fix or a solution to a problem, it is the problem, and it leaves a lasting effect on generations to come.
Wife, mother, sonography student
No one ever even knew I was pregnant. As soon as those two lines appeared I interrupted Poker Night to share the news with my rock star boyfriend. Five words would change my life: “We’ll take care of it.”
I was surprised at how easily I opened the Yellow Pages to the very front and entered the first number I found under the heading “ABORTION.” Assuming that fulfilling my boyfriend’s wish would guarantee a happy future for us I was surprised that the after-effects of the abortion were what tore us apart. I was devastated to find myself so empty and broken, and so absolutely alone.
After suffering silently for over a decade I was surprised to find that the very people whom I tried to hide my guilt and shame, the closest people in my life, were the ones who comforted me when I finally confessed my abortion to them. These people that I adore bombarded me with forgiveness and admitted their own grief that I didn’t come to them for help in my darkest and most difficult situation.
Most of all, I’m surprised to find the lack of choices presented to vulnerable pregnant women. Only one choice was presented to me and it was the most painful choice I’ve ever made.