Janae is willingly giving us permission to share her story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The stories that are shared come from the real-life experiences that our clients, staff and volunteers had during their unplanned pregnancy.
Her name has been changed but her story is true.
Too Young To Be Pregnant!
I had been sexually active for two years, so by the time I was 16, I had convinced myself I could not get pregnant. Imagine my surprise when I missed a period.
Besides a missed period, I had some of the other symptoms as well. A friend directed me to a local “free clinic” where I was given a pregnancy test. Back in 1973 the clinic tests were not very reliable. The test was “inconclusive” and I was told to come back in a week. This happened two more times, so my boyfriend made an appointment with his doctor. The blood test they gave me was positive. I was already certain that I was pregnant, so this simply confirmed it for me.
I was actually happy to know that I was normal. However, this pregnancy was a really big problem. The clinic gave me a phone number to call to make an appointment to have an abortion. There was no other counseling. There were no crisis pregnancy centers (like Advice and Aid) for me to receive any kind of counseling.
My boyfriend offered to marry me, but was supportive if I chose to have an abortion. We discussed adoption, but I was not going to carry a baby for nine months only to give it away. That seemed inconceivable to me at the time. Later on, I would come to realize what a courageous choice making an adoption plan is. But at that point in my life, it felt like I would be abandoning my baby. I made the appointment for the abortion, but because the abortion clinic was busy, I had to wait two or three weeks. By that time, I would be nearing my second trimester.
I was young and naive. I thought I could keep this from my parents. I also thought I would need a fake ID to get the abortion, so all my attention was turned to getting that fake ID to present at the clinic. As it turned out, they never asked for ID. They only asked for the cash.
No Longer A Secret
Prior to all of this happening, my dentist had recommended that I have my wisdom teeth removed. On the way to the oral surgeon, my mom suddenly asked me if I was pregnant! I vehemently denied it. She dropped the subject as we arrived at the office. Up to that point, I had some nausea but no vomiting. My appetite was just not quite normal. The anesthesia they gave me during oral surgery made me quite sick. Back at home, trying to recover between bouts of vomiting, my mother again started grilling me about being pregnant. Weak and sick, I finally acknowledged it was true and asked her how she knew. She said that she could see all the signs. She didn’t take it well at all. She could not resist calling me all kinds of names and telling me how ashamed she was of me. She asked me what I planned on doing about it. I told her I wanted to have an abortion. A week later, after consulting with her sister (who, it turns out, had an illegal abortion) she said she would help me. She never told my dad. She was convinced he would force us to get married and she didn’t want that for me. I really believe she thought she was doing what was best for me.
A Horrible Experience
The day arrived. (I now have two other children and, interestingly, I can remember more about my abortion than I can remember about the births of my two girls.) It was mid-August and the heat was oppressive. That summer had been one of those kinds with numerous days above 100 degrees, and that day was no different. There was no air conditioning in the clinic and the building looked scary and forbidding. Inside, it was no better. There were probably fifteen other girls waiting. We were all put together in a room and “counseled.” This counseling consisted of showing us the machine, telling us it would be noisy, the pain would be minimal and it was just tissue they were removing. What a lie! The pain was indescribable. The so called “doctor” never said a word. He was covered from head to toe in scrubs and I could not even see his eyes because the light reflected off his goggles. The abortion seemed to take forever. Afterwards, I was taken to a darkened room to recover. Hours passed and I wondered if anyone was going to come get me. My mother had to ask about me, and was told it had been complicated. I was either pregnant with twins or farther along then they first thought. There were no sonograms and I don’t remember being given a pregnancy test to confirm that I was even pregnant.
That night was the worst night of my life. Cramping like I never experienced before started in after I went to bed. I cried for what seemed like most of the night. I didn’t call out for my mother. She had no sympathy for me. By dawn they had subsided.
That morning, I just sat down in a chair and cried. My mother walked by and asked me why I was crying. I looked up at her and I said “I killed my child.” She said “That was my grandchild.” We never spoke about it again. As far as I know, she never told my father. I stuffed the pain and the knowledge that it was my child I had killed so far down inside that I became a very staunch pro-abortion supporter.
But you can only keep something like this stuffed down inside for so long. It never goes away. Many years later a depression came over me and I kept thinking I didn’t deserve to live because I had killed my own child. I didn’t even understand that the depression was connected to the abortion, even though I was having these thoughts. I believed it was stress. Eventually I got help and the depression lifted and the negative thoughts went away for a while.
In the meantime, I started attending a church with my husband but I didn’t immediately switch from my pro-abortion views. One day, I saw a woman on TV who had written a book about her abortions and was now working to educate other women on how damaging abortion is to women. It was then that it hit me what I had done. I just sat on the floor crying and asking God for forgiveness. I called the organization this woman was with and asked if I could help them. They asked me if I had been through a healing program. When I said no, they directed me to Advice and Aid Pregnancy Centers.
Finding Forgiveness and Freedom
It was through the program they offered titled “Forgiven and Set Free” that I began to learn to forgive myself. I became a volunteer and eventually started coordinating the studies for them. For six years I have had the pleasure of seeing other women come to a place where they could be at peace with themselves and their past choices.