Editor’s Note: Today’s story is by Jessica. This is the story of her abortion, but more importantly, about her life. It is easy to separate an event from someone’s entire life in order to judge or simply make assumptions, but we cut a person into pieces when we do that. Jessica writes at mylittlemustache.com and tweets at @ JessJudkins. Jessica, thank you. – Lauren
I struggled with this blog post. Not because I haven’t shared parts of this story before. I struggle with the heartbreaking back story behind why I had my abortion when I was 17 years old.
It’s a dark story of my past that I think about and regret daily. Not a day goes by in which I wished I was braver and made a better decision. But it’s hard to be brave when your in the middle of abuse. I do not know the stories behind all the women who have abortions.
But I am sensing a general blanketed assumption from some people that most of the women who have had them love to “kill babies.”
I wanted to share my story. I don’t want to kill babies. I never had and I never will. I love babies more than anything in this wold and my son Judah is the greatest blessing in my life. I cherish that boy. I hope by me sharing my story that someone out there reads this and realizes the deep pain that is associated with having an abortion.
When I was 17 years old, I dated a man who was just like my abusive father. Alex was a few years older than me and looking back, I think it was illegal for him to date a girl still in high school. I was beginning my senior year of high school in Tampa and I noticed within the first few weeks of walking the hallways I would get really, really sick. I was in honors classes and typically loved school but I was tired all the time, running to the bathrooms to throw up and daily struggling with my school work.
One day when Alex picked me up from school, drove me to a Burger King, handed me a pregnancy test and told me to take it in the bathroom. I never thought I would find out I was pregnant in a dirty Burger King bathroom. When I hopped back into his truck, I smiled and handed him the pregnancy test. I assumed this wasn’t planned but this was still good news. He didn’t speak to me on the way home.
Once we got to my home, I remember standing on the front porch and Alex (who already had a two year old daughter) turned to me and said, “Well you have to get rid of it.” I didn’t understand and asked him what he meant. He said I had to get an abortion. I was numb.
I didn’t know what to say to him and I couldn’t tell my family because I knew my already abusive father would beat me up again over the news of me being pregnant.
For weeks I put off the phone call to the clinic. I told Alex I couldn’t afford it. I gave him books that I found in my high school library letting him know of the baby’s progress. He didn’t care, and he would throw the books at my stomach and he would drop me off in front of my job at McDonald’s and tell me to get extra shifts. When he was really drunk and angry, he and his brother would beat me, to the point of me cramping up and spotting. Alex was an evil man and I was scared to death of him.
One day after a particularly bad beating, I hid myself in my closet, afraid my parents would know what was going on and call the doctor. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. If I didn’t make the appointment, Alex was very clear in his intent to “beat the baby out of me.” So I called the abortion clinic and set up a time. When Alex drove me to my appointment I begged him to change his mind. He would just pinch me really hard in the arm so he wouldn’t leave a mark on my face for the people at the clinic to see.
I remember laying down on the hospital bed, I saw the sonogram and the nurse told me I was around 13 weeks.
I wanted to scream, “STOP I WANT TO KEEP THE BABY” but I knew Alex was out in the waiting room and was afraid of what he might do.
The nurse gave me some sort of drug and turned on a sound machine. I remember the doctor coming in and the cramping. Then I remember the blood, so much blood. When I walked out to the waiting room I told Alex, “Are you happy now?”
I hated him. But I hated myself more.
On the drive home I was sick, kept throwing up, and at one point Alex pulled over his truck really fast, opened the door and pushed me out onto the ground so I wouldn’t get any throw up on his seats.
Two weeks went by, I honestly blocked it all out of my memory. I had to go to the clinic for a follow up. The doctor checked me out and said it was okay to have sex. When Alex brought me home he forcefully raped me on my living room floor. This wouldn’t be the first time. Alex wanted nothing more than to beat, use and torture my body and soul.
Eventually my parents found out I had an abortion because the mother of Alex’s first child told my father. I was 17 years old and my father kicked me out of the house. I moved up to Virginia to live with my mom and step father. I was depressed, took sleeping pills to sleep at night because I had nightmares. I didn’t want to go back to high school, I felt that I was different and that no one would understand what I went through. I hated myself and I wished I would have died.
After awhile, I moved back down to Florida to live with Alex in a trailer for a few months. I have police reports from all the beatings that took place.
Part of me even accepted the beatings because I hated myself so much from what I did. I thought I deserved them and that it was God’s way of punishing me.
Alex repeatedly told me over and over and over again how I was worthless, how I was a baby killer, and how I will never ever have a child. That broke me. I hated myself. I hated myself more than anything or anyone I could ever hate. I hated myself more than I hated Alex.
Finally, I got away from Alex and his abuse and although I am currently in my early 30’s, not a day goes by in which I don’t think of my baby and wished that I made a different decision.
I live daily with my consequences of what I did. When I found out I was pregnant with Judah, I was fearful to tell my husband because I thought he was going to beat me. Scott never has and never will lay a hand on me, he is the kindest person I know. But since Alex beat me so badly I was fearful that any man would do the same. I was scared my first 13 weeks of being pregnant with Judah because I thought I was going to lose him, that God would punish me and take him away.
When I first had Judah, I woke Scott up one night crying and asking him, “Where is my other baby!!”
The reason I am sharing this is because on the 40 year anniversary of Roe vs Wade, I’ve seen anti-abortion pictures of unborn babies and blog posts everywhere. Every time I read a blog post, see a picture of an unborn child or hear someone talking about how people “kill babies” I literally feel a deep sadness grab my heart and and pull me back to that awful day when I was 17. I hear Alex’s voice screaming in the back of my head, “you will never be a mother, you are a baby killer.”
No one can get rid of the feelings of having an abortion.
My hope in this is that we are able to come along side some of these women just like me who are hurting deeply. Women who are afraid to share their pain because they fear judgement.
If we love one another we are able to make better decisions.
If someone came alongside me and loved on me when I was 17 years old, I would be able to say that I had a baby when I was 17, that he/or she was adopted into a loving home. Not that my abusive boyfriend drove me to the abortion clinic so I could terminate a life.
I am a Christian, became a believer a few years after my abortion and I know that the Lord has forgiven me of so much. It’s very hard to reconcile that forgiveness in my heart and head when I see people posting so many hurtful things about something I did in my past.
Before we make assumptions, or post up things that could be hurtful, let’s try to think of the hurt hearts out there that need healing. And let’s think if the words we are saying are healing or hurting those broken hearts.
Editor’s Note: Today’s heart-rending story shared with us by Angela Adams. She can be found on Twitter at @amamarieadams. I cannot find the words to express how wholly I revere her understanding and description of true grief, and true loss. Angela, thank you. – Lauren
Last summer was pretty incredible. The biggest things that can happen in your life were happening in mine. I was in heaven.
The day before the bad day, my sister Allison (who was one month farther along than I was) and me spent the afternoon in my parent’s backyard. We were sitting on an old sheet in the sun and she was laughing about people telling her not to ride her bike because it’d hurt the baby. She kept saying, “the baby isn’t in my underwear!” I thought it was hilarious.
That night Mike and I settled on names. If we had a girl, she’d be Evelyn. If we had a boy, he’d be Harrison. I really love the name Harry.
The next day I woke up and made a pot of coffee. Alexi Murdoch was playing on my iPod. My back ached. The pain kept coming and going. In the shower I used bar soap for the first time ever. Didn’t like it.
Allison colored my hair that morning. My stomach started cramping. I sat in my sister’s salon chair silently freaking out. She told me to calm down.
The doctor said to come in at 2:00. It was 1:00 and I was scared. Mom prayed her usual go-to prayer, I’ve heard her say it a million times;
“God bless you with peace, protection and safety. No weapon formed against you can prosper, in the name of Jesus”
While she prayed I looked down at my white shorts. I remember thinking how dumb it was to spend $50.00 on them when they wouldn’t fit around my belly in a month.
The doctor told me that I probably wasn’t having a miscarriage, but if I was there wasn’t anything he could do. He said to rest and come back for an ultrasound in the morning. A lonely mix of hope and fear – but mainly hope welled up in my heart as I walked out of the freezing air conditioned office.
My parents asked if I wanted them to stay with me that afternoon. I said, “no, I’m alright” and walked into the little duplex where in about five minutes, all hell and hope broke loose.
I sat on the bathroom floor, sobbing and shaking as my soul tried to understand what was happening and my eyes took in the scene of loss that surrounded me. I remembering saying “Oh God. Oh God. Oh my God” over and over again. I remember trying to clean all of the blood up before calling my mom. I remember thinking bad things always happen when you wear white shorts.
I stood in the shower with that awful bar soap. I couldn’t catch my breath but I could smell the fresh color getting washed out of my hair. I remember apologizing to my baby. I just kept saying how sorry I was for not being their mom. I remember hearing my parents arrive, and mom walking into the bathroom and yelling for dad to bring her a container. (If you don’t think I’m sparing you details, I am.)
It was hell.
Those are basically the only things I remember until a day or so later.
Saturday marked the one year anniversary of that bad day. I’ve always thought remembering dates of bad days and having them loom over your head was stupid. Every single day after the first bad one is a reminder. You never go back to the way things were before. I didn’t think the date coming back around would affect me at all – but I was wrong. It’s like my body remembers and my mind is experiencing it all over again. The last month has been pretty terrible.
Since time has passed people have started bringing up my “loss” more, like they expect me to feel better about it. And they talk about “healing”…whatever that is. I just sit there, pretending that what they’re saying makes sense to me, and pretending their well-intentioned remarks about my pregnancy aren’t going to leave me emotionally dead for the next week.
I don’t understand what healing is supposed to be like.
I mean, half the time I feel like my miscarriage is still happening. I know the physical part has been finished for a long time, but the emotional part is still making its way through my heart and putting tangles in my mind that I can’t figure out how to undo.
Sometimes I think that once you’ve felt a certain amount of pain – of devastating, ground shaking, life killing pain – you never stop hurting. And you’re left open to the pain and terror of the whole world.
It’s like a well of empathy has been dug into your heart and it’s a space that takes in the hurt of everyone around you, whether you want it or not. You just can’t help feeling it because on some level- you understand. For the first time ever, I’m able to pray for people and actually know what to say. And I’ve never been so sure that God can hear me.
Sometimes I think that’s the kind of broken heart Jesus smiles at. And sometimes I think healing looks like hurting. I don’t understand the way God works, but I think He’s working in me …no matter how hard some days are. And to tell you the truth, the hardest days are some of the most blessed ones.
The only reason I know this pain is because I first knew the incredible love and joy that stole my heart the day I found out I was pregnant. I never have gotten my heart back, and the pain isn’t going away anytime soon. And that’s just fine.
There’s no absolution in healing. There is never going to be a time when I’ll sit in the sun in July and not think about Harrison or Evelyn. Or smell that awful bar soap and not think of Harrison or Evelyn. Or hear Alexi Murdoch’s song Something Beautiful, or play with my nephew Frank, or make coffee or see a pregnancy test or do a thousand other things and not think of Harrison or Evelyn… And there shouldn’t be.
I still buy that bar soap, I even used it today. I spend as much time as I can with my sister’s son- we’re obsessed with each other. I listen to Alexi Murdoch and think about the perfect times that came before that day.
To me, healing doesn’t mean I won’t hurt anymore. Healing means being able to breathe when I make a pot of coffee. Being able to play with my nephew, with a heart bursting with thankfulness for him.
And being able to remember what heaven feels like, even though I can’t find it anymore.