*Nancy's Story

I am in the military and am stationed overseas. I am far from home and no one knows what I've gone through. I have never felt so alone in my entire life.

I have a wonderful boyfriend waiting for me back in the States. I never thought I was the kind of person who could be dishonest or sneaky but I began sleeping with a guy here. I was really attracted to him. He was just an easy outlet for me. My boyfriend was really my first lover and he taught me a lot, but this guy and I just clicked. And I was enjoying myself, despite the fact that I was cheating on the man I love.

A month into it, I discovered I was pregnant. We had been using protection, but one night in the heat of things, we didn't. I guess it only takes that one time.

I was terrified. There was so many reasons why I didn't feel I could have the baby. My boyfriend would have left me. I wasn't financially ready. My career is not at a point where I can handle being a single mother, I would have lost the opportunities ahead of me. The father is not someone I could count on to be supportive, nor do I want him in my life forever.

I went through all the emotions. All my reasons seem so selfish. I really wanted a baby with my real boyfriend. I've always wanted children. I'm old enough now to be a responsible mother. I could actually feel the baby inside me and I began to love it. When I would see children, I would think of myself as a mother. But still, I didn't consider keeping the baby, I figured abortion was my only option.

I had to go to an outside doctor because I didn't want it in my military records. Everything happened really quickly. I went in and he asked me a few questions and gave me an exam. He took a picture (sonogram) of the baby and my heart broke. I was about eight weeks pregnant. He explained things to me about the abortion as best he could, but he really didn't tell me what I needed to hear. He scheduled the operation for a week later. It was too soon for me to decide. That's when I stumbled on your site. It really gave me the information I needed.

I think I went numb about the whole thing. I had been doing absolutely nothing but sleeping all the time. I was definitely having symptoms of being pregnant - the morning sickness, the constant hunger, tiring easily. And I didn't want to talk to anyone. The father had been really supportive, but looking at him only made me think of how beautiful the baby would be. I hadn't really spent any time with him since telling him I was pregnant, but the night before the abortion I couldn't be alone. I spent the night awake in his arms. I couldn't stop thinking about how my life seemed to be happening with me just looking in. At one point in the night I almost told him I couldn't go through with it. But I didn't.

The next morning we went to the hospital where I would have the abortion. We had gotten lost and we were really late. When I finally got there with my nerves a wreck, they just rushed me in. Before I knew it, they were putting me to sleep. I woke up, not knowing how much time had passed, with incredible cramps. The doctor spoke to me, but I was still sedated. They left me alone to recover and I made them bring him in to see me. The pain was like really bad menstrual cramps. He came in and sat with me. We talked about everything but the abortion. I didn't want to even think about it. Three and a half hours after I went in, they released me. We had quite a long drive back due to traffic and I was in a lot of pain. Still, we talked about other things. I think I was in denial about everything.

That night, he disappeared and as I tried to sleep I was haunted by nightmares. I closed my eyes and kept seeing a tiny fetus being sucked out of me. It hit me. Everything came crashing down on me. The guilt of ending a life I was supposed to protect started to overwhelm me. I finally fell asleep as the sun began to appear. The next day, I stayed out of my barracks and kept myself busy. I made a point of being near someone at all times. But no one knew. I told him I needed to be with him that night because I was feeling terrible. He agreed but then, he was gone. The entire weekend was like that.

Saturday the cramps returned in full force. I was an emotional wreck and had no one to talk to. My eyes were swollen from crying all day, my throat was sore, and I started throwing up. Still, no word from the only person who knew what I had been through. That Sunday, I started standing duty for a three day period. The cramps were still terrible and I started bleeding. But I had no choice because I couldn't tell anyone. And still no word from him.

I left a pretty desperate message on his machine and that night he called. He had gotten drunk for the entire weekend to try to forget about anything. I told him it wasn't an excuse. It's not fair that my life was ripped apart and he got to carry on with his as if nothing happened. I told him I wanted the baby back, I wished I hadn't done it without thinking about it. We had never even discussed keeping it. I basically took out all my frustration and pain on him. I ended up in his arms and we both cried together.

It's been a month now. I don't talk about it anymore and I push it to the back of my mind. At night I still feel all the guilt. I never thought I would be in this position. I was always pro-choice, but never thought I could have an abortion because I love children so much. My heart really is broken. I pray to God for forgiveness and pray that my child is in good hands now. I am sorry, but I don't know that I deserve forgiveness. The pain isn't enough punishment. I just hope one day I'll have the chance to be a mother.

October 1998

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58% of women who had an abortion had been using a contraceptive during the month they became pregnant.
- Alan Guttmacher Institute

I found others' stories very helpful and find the need to share mine. Thank you for your site.

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