"It has been one year and nine months since I had the surgical procedure on Friday, October 21 2016. It stills feel unreal. At the time, I was 15 years old. I have been raised in a traditional Catholic household to a very traditional Republican family. Given this, I was afraid to ask my mom if I could start the pill because then she would know I was having sex.
I have been dating my boyfriend for the past 2 1/2 years, and I can honestly say I could not have gotten through this without him. I never wanted the procedure done. About a year before I found out I was pregnant, I read a novel called 'The Gift' about a Catholic teenage girl who found out she was pregnant and was sent to the nuns by her father. That was my wishful thinking for handling the situation. I had always been radically pro-life and viewed an abortion as evil. Even now, I struggle internally with rationalizing such a cruel and unnatural thing.
However, I do not judge others for their choices with handling an unplanned pregnancy. In fact, I have gained so much respect and sympathy for those of us who have made such a difficult decision. Ironically, I would be facing the same situation as the fictional teenage girl in my novel only months later, although my parents would handle it differently. I had noticed my boobs were very sensitive to the point where I was in pain. I didn’t think anything of it until my urine started smelling different, and then nausea. That was huge. I couldn’t eat any foods besides the ones I craved or I would throw up, I was always so tired, my boyfriend and I had been arguing a lot, and sex had become VERY uncomfortable for me. I just knew. I could feel it in my bones like God had sent the message to me loud and clear, but I decided that if I ignored it and pretended that I was fine, everything would go away. I was wrong.
I told my boyfriend about my worries and he immediately went and bought me a pregnancy test. I knew it would be positive, and wasn’t ready to take it with him there, so I waited until he left to take it. It was positive within seconds. I looked up ways online that I could naturally terminate an early pregnancy; I was desperate. I knew I had to tell my mom at that point, so I asked her to drive me to the mall. When we got there I told her to park in a back parking lot. Telling her was the hardest, and yet easiest, task because the first thing she said was, 'You’re pregnant.' I was too afraid to fess up then, so I played it dumb and had her go to the store to get me tests so that I could take them in the morning. I prayed to God every night for 2 weeks before I even took any test and begged Him to take this challenge away from me. Like I said, my heart, soul, and body just knew. My boyfriend and mother immediately ruled out all other options besides an abortion.
I felt ashamed and so afraid to ask if we could even consider keeping it because I knew how it would tear my family, and entire town (it’s very small), apart. I had a great reputation in school with a lot of friends and great relationships with teachers and teammates. My family is very well known in my town and I have always had this image and expectation to uphold. Fifteen year old me being pregnant would have devastated everything. My mom’s side of the family is extremely pro-life. I have an aunt who stopped going to some of her favorite food places altogether solely because they supported the pro-choice cause. I felt ashamed on all sides.
If I kept the baby, I would be 15 with a child, my family’s reputation would be tainted, and I would probably have to leave my town to raise her elsewhere. At the same time, I was completely against getting an abortion, but being full of shame, only 15 (I needed my mothers consent with everything), and wanting the nightmare over with, I did exactly as I was told by my parents and boyfriend. I do not blame them at all. They did what they believed to be best for the time, and for me. They were as supportive as they could have been with me for something of that matter.
I had the procedure done in a city three hours away and told the school and my coaches I had the stomach bug. It’s odd, because I’m a lot of ways I feel that it was meant to happen that way. I feel that God knew it would happen and He reassured me in my heart 'It is Alright' and that I was strong enough to be brave and face the situation. I will say, I regret it. I regret every single part of it and it has consumed me whole. I was just over six weeks along. My due date was June 6, 2016. On the way home my mother and I did not speak often at all. I was the breathing epitome of regret. Not the because of the baby, but because of the situation in itself. For a very, very long time, I was in the darkest days of my life. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, the loss of friends and loved ones, and being suicidal before. I had previously always accredited those days with being my worst.
However, nothing could have ever prepared me for this. It still can’t. Sometimes it will just come in waves. When reality sets in that I killed my own child, my own part of me, the most pure part of my soul, that pain never eases, ever. But you learn how to cope and live with it. Countless times I was a ball on the shower floor shaking and screaming when no one was home. I would anxiously wait for the house to be empty so I could release every emotion going through me and wallow in the pain and regret. I prayed and begged every day and every night over and over again to take her place instead. To let her have my life, my breath, my heartbeat.
I felt like a hollow shell, but all that pain still felt too good for a monster like myself. I needed to suffer, to take her pain away from her. My instincts were desperately trying to protect something from the monster of myself and there was no escape. It tore my soul apart thinking that I would never know where she was in the world, I could never tell her how much I love her more than anything in the world and if I ever had one wish it would be to bring her back. I felt like pure evil for taking the easy route out of the situation, but what follows inside of you is not easy at all.
My entire life I have always wanted a family. I’ve always loved babies and being around children, my cousins would always say I’m so natural with kids and have very motherly instincts. Being a mom has always always ALWAYS been my ultimate dream. Not living in France, not having my dream career, not being able to have a house for every season. Just being a mom. Even when I found out about the pregnancy, a part of me still thought about how it could be. Having this human I could spill every ounce of my heart and soul into and share the beauty of the world with. It was only that though; wishful thinking. I knew reality would be warped if I introduced this little life into the world while I, myself, was a child.
I contemplated adoption, I even mentioned it to my mom, but she was right. I would want to keep my baby once she was born no questions asked. In reality, I know my mom would have ended up co-parenting my child more than I would like to admit. I know that this life altering experience would not be the same as I had romanticized it to be my whole life. I knew, in my bones, I was incapable of doing this right now.
You may be wondering why I use the pronoun 'her' when I speak of my baby, that is because of a surreal dream I had after the procedure that has completely convinced me that I was pregnant with a girl. This dream I had, maybe a week after the procedure, that was a true turning point in my experience. I dreamt I was in a white hallway and everything was just blinding white. There was an open door to my left and I walked through it. I didn’t feel fear, I didn’t feel joy, I just felt calm. I knew I was safe.
I had a foreign sense of relief over me that reassured each step. Through the door I stepped into an all white room with a white bassinet in the middle. Naturally, I walked over to the bassinet and peaked inside. There she was. It was my girl. She was probably 6 months old or so but I knew she was unmistakably mine. She had these big joyous brown eyes that were a cross between her fathers and mine. But one thing that made me certain she was no one else’s were her deep dimples from her dad. She was the most perfect thing I have ever seen to this day. She lay there looking up at me wondrously, laughing and filling every ounce of me with joy. It was like a real life angel before me. I looked back down at her laughing too and instinctively called her name, 'Isabella'. I knew this was my girl.
It was like being in an alternate dimension. I have never in my life ever thought about one day naming my daughter Isabella until this dream. I don’t know anyone with that name and have no idea where it came from. It was just meant to be. The name brings me instant comfort and I could never think of her face without Isabella being right there beside it. As I gushed over my baby I reached down to hold her, only I could not grab her. Physically I could not pick her up or touch her, I could only watch from what then felt like miles away, although I was standing right beside her. That’s when I realized it was a dream.
I’ve always been good at controlling my dreams and lucid dreaming. I consciously realized I could never hold her close to me because I had taken her away. I was sad, yes, but it didn’t keep me from standing over her smiling as she laughed. That moment was everything for me. Her beautiful smile and perfect laugh told my heart it would be okay. It told my heart that she knew how much I loved her and how I would have done absolutely anything to have her there by my side, to turn back time. More than that, it told my heart that she loved me too. That maybe she even forgave me. That she is somewhere laughing and loving and waiting for me. She is my entire heart. Still at times when my head can’t carry my mind and the pain that comes with it, my heart reminds me that I have an unbreakable vow of love to my baby. I speak to her everyday, I write to her, I celebrate her birthday in my own special way. It was the hardest road of my life. I know that there is no challenge the world has to offer that amounts to that of losing a child, no matter what the circumstances may be.
Dealing with the aftermath of the procedure took a toll on my relationship with her father. He was there for me wholeheartedly whenever I needed him, i knew that. But, he still supported the procedure and seemed less remorseful than what I had anticipated. Naturally, I drew back. I didn’t talk about it with anyone. I bottled it up and would completely break down everyday in the shower for about 10 months following the procedure. After 10 months, I started to learn how to cope and would have outbursts less often. I was able to open up with my boyfriend about it and he had a heart to heart with me where he himself broke down and let out all of his bottled emotions. My mother took me to a priest nearly 8 hours away from me to confess my sin and seek help. I think it was for herself as well.
She told me that when I was little, she went and saw a psychic to get readings on individuals in my family. Everyone in my family knows this because so far everything she told us has happened. From bizarre medical things with my dad to financial situations, it has all happened. One thing my mom never told me before, is that this psychic said something significant would happen to me surrounding my reproductive system when I was still very young. My mom had gone through fertility problems, so she assumed it would be something of that nature and didn’t bother to ever bring it up until it happened. Hearing this news changed it all for me.
I understood that I have control of my life each and every day that I’m living it, and every action has an equal or opposite reaction. That is just physics. I will never forgive myself for what I did. I will always regret it to my very core to the point where it makes me feel sick to my stomach. But I have learned that God will lead me as He reminds, 'So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'
I have finally reached a point where I can tell my story. Maybe not with my name on it, maybe not out loud, maybe only to strangers, but this is a start. I realize now that I owe it to my Isabella to help others through this insurmountable feat.
It still hurts, it will always hurt, but I love my daughter more than I have ever loved anything that ever existed, and knowing in my heart that she has that love and connection with me still makes all of the difference. Of course, there is always more to the story than what I can put into words, but this covered the main points.
I hope that my story can provide a certain type of comfort to those of you mourning that same loss. Please know in your heart, you are loved. It will be okay." —M