My abortion traumatized me

The father of my child dropped me at the clinic and disappeared. Every day I mourn

Published July 18, 2011 12:01AM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

I have always admired your candor and advice, now I am in dire need of some. I apologize if this is lacking in eloquence, but it is honest.

In December of 2010 I had an abortion. It has haunted me ever since.

It was a very early, first-trimester abortion, but nevertheless, I was pregnant and I chose not to continue the pregnancy even though deep down I desperately wanted a child.

I made this choice based on my relationship with the baby's father, who dropped me off at the clinic and I never saw again, despite having a three-to-four-year, on-and-off relationship. He promised me marriage and more children when we were ready for it, i.e. five or 10 years from now.

His last words to me were, "Don't worry, I'll be back." But that never materialized.

I am only 25 (24 at the time of the abortion), but I am now convinced I missed my only chance to have a biological child. Is that crazy? I haven't dated, least of all had sex with anyone, since that day. It feels like a part of me died that day and will never return.

I am no longer upset about the end of our relationship (good riddance!) but I am truly disturbed by the entire experience. I have nightmares about my experience at the clinic, though I know they followed every medical and legal step to the T. I wish I could forgive myself and move on, but I just can't. I wake up every morning and it is the best minute of my life before the knowledge of what happened returns to me and the cycle of sadness and regret begins all over again.

I am a liberal woman and as pro-choice as you can be! Which is even more upsetting!

Can you please offer me advice on moving forward with my life and freeing myself from this unending cycle of regret?

Yours Truly,

Crushed With Regret

Dear Crushed With Regret,

Yes, I can offer you some advice. My heart goes out to you.

But here is the thing. What I say will only be useful to you if you act on it. So I urge you to read what I have to say and then find the courage to act on it.

You are lucky to be living now. Not too long ago, women suffered in silence after experiences like yours. Today, there are many services and groups to help. But knowing about them is not enough. You have to contact them.

So I urge you to get in touch with, the after-abortion counseling talk line. Begin the process of getting better by talking about what happened.

I don't want to equate your story with any other story. Nor do I want to excite the voices of policy partisans. This battle is yours. It is personal. It is unique.

But I do want to make a comparison. It has to do with how we get better. It has to do with the difference between knowing and doing. Knowing about medicine won't help. You have to go see the doctor. Knowing about addiction recovery services won't help. You have to go to a meeting. And just knowing that there are people out there who will help you get over this traumatic experience won't help. You have to call them. So I urge you to get in touch with them.

I will even make a promise: I promise you, if you reach out and ask for help, things will get better. You will feel happy again. Joy will return.

Citizens of the Dream

What? You want more advice?


By Cary Tennis

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