On the Road to Healing
Case Study Testimony
I had an abortion when I was 17 years old. I was the youngest in the family and no one ever expected that I would become pregnant so soon. My family was disappointed in me. My mother was sad, but willing to help me at the same time. I was willing to keep the baby and do what I had to do to survive.
But one day my boyfriend–then of a year–wanted to talk. He said he was not ready to be a daddy and that having a baby now would be too stressful and we would not be able to care for it. I knew in my heart that I could–with or without him.
From that day on my answer to him asking for an abortion was “no!” But finally after weeks of my boyfriend pressuring me and bothering me, I finally gave in. He had pressed the issue of abortion so much that is was pretty much stuck in my mind that I had to have an abortion. He told me that we could not care for a baby and I started believing him.
One day while at my vocational class at school, I found a phone book and looked up the numbers for abortion clinics. Finding one, I went home and told my mom that I had changed my mind. I did not want to keep the baby. My mom believes in a woman’s choice so she did not argue or disagree. I told my boyfriend and he just nodded his head and asked, “When?” By that evening I had made an appointment–more like a death sentence for my baby, but at the time that is not what I thought.
Days before the procedure, I came home and my brother, who at the time was 22, was home alone. He asked me to sit down, that he wanted to talk to me. I felt very uncomfortable being that I never really ever talk to my older brother. To my surprise he started crying. He said, “Please don’t do it Kari. Don’t. You have no idea what it is like! I’ve had girlfriends that have had abortions, and it hurt me!” Staring at my brother crying made me just want to cry too. But no, I knew what I had to do. I stayed strong; I would not let myself cry. I couldn’t. He said, “If you keep the baby, I will help you out with anything–money, food, clothes. Please just don’t do it.” But I kept telling him that I had to, that I had already made up my mind.
I had friends tell me the same thing. But just like I did with my brother, I ignored all comments. I knew I had to do what my boyfriend had said. I did not want him to leave me; I loved him too much.
Finally, the day before, my mom had to go and fill out the paper work so I could go in by myself the next day. I felt bad walking in there with my mom. Ashamed. The next day came so fast. I woke up early, went to school to make up a test for a teacher. I told her I was having surgery that day but I did not tell her for what. She guessed what it was, and she was right, but I just said no, and that I did not want to talk about it.
After that I went to my boyfriend’s house. Together we rode to the clinic in silence. I wasn’t scared. For a while I almost forgot I was there to kill my baby. It really hit me when I was put into a changing room. I was told to take all my clothes off and put them into a bag but leave my socks on. Then put on a gown, and sit in the chair until a nurse came to get me. After about ten minutes I kept thinking, “Leave Kari, leave now, don’t do this!”
But that thought vanished as soon as the door opened. “Okay, Kari, come with me,” the nurse said firmly. I followed her down a long hall into a medium-sized room. She said for me to have a seat up on the table and the doctor would be in in a few minutes.
I sat in the white room with blue bordered trim, looking around. There were many machines that I had never seen before. I remember being cold, very cold.
After sitting for what seemed like hours, an older bald man in a white lab jacket and a nurse in blue scrubs came in. He introduced himself and stated that he would be doing the procedure. By then I was terrified and I felt as if I could not turn back. He gave me a shot in my arm–he said it was to help with the discomfort. As soon as he gave it to me it took effect. I felt very dizzy.
I was instructed to lie back and look at the picture at the ceiling. “A picture on the ceiling? How did I miss that?” I thought to myself. It was of a monkey saying a funny little catch phrase, but I can’t remember what it said. Then the doctor started with the procedure. As soon as he started it was pure pain. I felt as if I was being ripped apart. I remember thinking and crying, “I want my boyfriend! Please stop!” The pain was so unbearable and he would not stop. The procedure lasted about five minutes but it seemed like an hour.
I was placed in a wheel chair and rolled into a “recovery” room. It looked more like a living room to me. There were seven leather chairs lined up in a row. I was placed in one with a blanket and a heating pad. There was a woman on each side of me. One was sleeping and she had a slight grin on her face. The other was half awake, nodding in and out of consciousness. I tried to sleep a little but as soon as I got out there a void hit me. I realized that I no longer had this living person inside of me. This person was gone, not there anymore. “What did I do?” I asked myself over and over.
Then I heard loud screams. A woman was being pushed into the recovery room. She was crying and screaming hysterically. I had only been in the recovery room for maybe twenty minutes, but I had to leave, I could not take it any more. I spoke to the nurse who gave me my clothes and she said I could leave. She gave me my prescriptions and sent me on my way.
I had a few complications after the abortion. I woke up two days later not able to walk, and now I have bad periods. They are very unpredictable and harsh. Months after the abortion, I started to feel better, going around saying that I felt relieved, and better that I did not have this problem of a baby anymore, but within six months I was a total wreck. Guilt hung over me day in and day out. I wanted to die every day.
I started going to post-abortion classes, which I must say did help me a lot and even got me in touch with my more spiritual side. Though I am not fully healed, I know I am on my way to recovery. I am still with my boyfriend. We have now been together for two and a half years. He now talks about his experience with the abortion and he regrets every bit of it. There has been so many times that we have just sat down together and talked about it and what our lives would be like now, but we will never know.
If you are facing a situation such as this, I recommend that you look more into the consequences of an abortion. It may seem like the only choice to make, but it is not. I would give anything to be able to hold my baby right now. I took it for granted and now I have to live with the consequences. You do not. Try your hardest to follow your heart.
Do not do things because you are pressured by others. When you are pregnant, you are in no emotional state to make such big decisions. You may think that you will have a hard life if you have the baby–and you will–but it will all work out in the end. You just have to have strength, hope, love, and patience to get you through.
Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review, Vol. 9(4), Oct.-Dec. 2001. Copyright 2001, Elliot Institute.