Posted: Apr 30, 2014 6:30 AM
It seems to be the hip thing these days to openly discuss your abortion and how wonderful it was for you. “Rachel” recently read one such Thought Catalog post, and decided to share her story, which is quite the opposite. She has had four abortions, and regrets every single one.
Photo credit: Design Pics/ Getty Images

Myla June's Thought Catalog post "Thank God I had an abortion" is making its way around the interwebs. In it, Myla discusses how she came about the decision and how choosing to abort caused her to "see life with wider eyes." Not all post-abortive women feel that way though. "Rachel," who has had four abortions and is now staunchly pro-life, feels exactly the opposite. This is her story.

You never forget your first time

I lost my virginity when I was 13. Blame it on absentee parents, Daddy issues, low self-esteem — regardless of why, it happened. Despite the fact that I didn't really enjoy sex, I continued to have it with most of my boyfriends from that point on. Not unexpectedly, within two years the irresponsible teenager having irresponsible sex got pregnant. I was 15 and I thought I was in love, so I went to my parents and happily announced that they would soon be grandparents. They weren't quite so happy and immediately started pushing me to abort. I was offended; I believed abortion was wrong and would never consider killing my baby. Besides, I had the support and love of my boyfriend, who was going to be with me all the way.

Then, at about three months along things changed. My boyfriend decided he wasn't sure if we were doing the right thing and his uncertainty shattered me. I broke up with him, then called my mom at work and said just two words: "Schedule it." My mom wasted no time and I had a morning appointment at Planned Parenthood the very next day.

I remember walking into that building ashamed. There were protestors; they weren't at all mean or aggressive but their signs screamed at me, reminding me of what I knew in my heart was true. "Abortion stops a beating heart." "Doesn't your baby deserve a chance at life?" "Adoption is an option." My mom quickly ushered me into the building — I don't think she wanted to give me a chance to change my mind.

Inside, the waiting room was sterile and quiet. None of us looked at each other, although we all knew what we were there for. We were grouped in pairs of two, silently waiting for our name to be called. I remember being so thankful I didn't recognize anyone, my shame ran that deep. They called my name and asked if I wanted my mom to go back with me. I said no. I couldn't bear anyone I knew to actually witness what I was about to do.

I signed their forms and gave consent, then they began. I still remember the "suck-thump-suck-thump-suck-thump" of the machine as it ripped life from me, and the overwhelming feeling of numbness while the procedure was done. Afterwards, at home, I cried uncontrollably for well over an hour — my head hidden under the covers, my door locked. I didn't want anyone to try to comfort me. I deserved the pain I felt.

Abortion as birth control

Time went on and I put it out of my mind, as much as I could. I consoled myself with the thought that my baby was still just a little group of cells and probably didn't feel anything anyways. I began to change my view on abortion, believing the feminist narrative that women shouldn't be saddled with a baby they may not want. After about a year I started having sex again, unprotected again, and just a year later found myself pregnant again.

I had two abortions that year. With the first, I had a steady boyfriend but I didn't want a baby. I didn't even consider carrying the child to term; as soon as I found out I was pregnant I scheduled the procedure. I didn't give my beau a chance to voice his opinion either way; when I told him I was pregnant it was immediately followed with "My appointment is Friday, can you drive me?" I thought I was doing him a favor by not discussing it with him. In retrospect, it was horribly unfair of me. I was carrying his child, not just some mass of cells that had magically appeared in my womb.

My second abortion that year — my third overall — was the product of a drunken night of debauchery with a longtime friend. I never even bothered to tell him, I figured it didn't matter since I was just going to abort. By then it was automatic to me. Get pregnant, have an abortion, move on to the next guy. Those women who use abortion as birth control? Yeah, I was one of them.

Five lives forever altered

I don't even remember my fourth abortion. How horrible is that? I ended a life, yet I have no recollection of it at all. I don't remember who got me pregnant; I don't remember where I went for the procedure; I don't remember exactly when it was. I know it happened though, because I know I've had four abortions. I walk around with that number in my head all the time. Four. Four babies. Four lives. No, I take that back. Five lives.

With every abortion I changed, I shrunk into myself, and lost some of the spark that made me me.

The fifth life was mine. My life wasn't ended, clearly, as I'm here to tell this story to you today. But a large part of who I was left me forever. With every abortion I changed, I shrunk into myself, and lost some of the spark that made me me. Like Voldemort, fracturing his soul into pieces to create the Horcruxes which allowed him to survive death, each abortion fractured part of me away too. After the first, my relationship with my parents was almost severed. Looking back (and thanks to therapy) I know now I harbored massive resentment toward them for not supporting me in carrying that first child to term. It was my decision to have sex and my decision to abort, but I hated them for the longest time regardless. After that first abortion my grades plummeted. I'd been an A-student, but by the end of that year I was barely able to move up to the next grade, having skipped almost more classes than I'd attended.

After the second, I all but lost my self-esteem. I started working at a strip club, lying about my age to get hired. I'd dropped out of school by then and was just biding my time at home until I turned 18 and my parents kicked me out. I started drinking, even though I was barely old enough to drive, and sunk deep into depression. After the third, I started doing heavy drugs. I'd been smoking marijuana for a while, but after the third I started doing LSD and cocaine. Not often — I didn't have the money or inclination to be a habitual user — but when given the chance to escape, I did. I can't tell you how I changed after the fourth, as I seemed to have blocked it completely from memory.

She's forgiven, but will never forget

Ultimately, I turned my life around. I was introduced to Project Rachel, a wonderful resource for post-abortive healing. I went through therapy — a whole lot of therapy — and was able eventually to forgive myself for what I'd done. I went back to school and now work in a field where I get to help pregnant women every day make the choice I didn't. Not a day goes by though that I don't remember. I look at these women that come in and desperately want to keep them from going through what I did. I cry frequently, still, and I pray no one ever finds out the truth.

Even obscure, non-baby things like weddings hit me hard, as I realize it's an experience I robbed from four separate humans who were never even afforded the opportunity of one single breath.

Even with all of the therapy, even over two decades later, there are still some experiences that are almost unbearable. I suffer through them in silence, but I suffer nonetheless. Every birthday party I go to for a friend's child just reminds me of the birthdays my children never had. Every baby shower makes me think of the showers I rejected. Even obscure, non-baby things like weddings hit me hard, as I realize it's an experience I robbed from four separate humans who were never even afforded the opportunity of one single breath.

Your time will come, Myla

I read Myla June's story, where she thanks God for her abortion and talks about how happy she is that she had it, and all I can think is just wait. The pain will come, Myla. It probably won't be obvious and will sneak up on you slowly as mine did, suffocating the light from your life. You won't realize what's happening, as the person you are drifts away, replaced by an empty shell of who you used to be. You may be able to remain in your selfish, self-centered state for years to come, naively unaware of what waits for you. But someday the enormousness of what you did will hit you. Someday you will feel remorse and regret for what you did. Someday you will look down at your future children — if you are lucky enough to have any — and wonder what the one missing would look like if they were here. And one day you will wonder, as I do all the time, if they will forgive that horrible decision made all those years ago by a young child too foolish to realize and too selfish to care.

^Project Rachel is a confidential Catholic outreach ministry offering hope and healing to men and women hurting from past abortions. Although based on Catholic teachings, their goal is not to convert participants but to facilitate post-abortive healing. It is 100 percent free.

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