I am 42. I had my abortion when I was almost 18. I came from a very difficult home, was with a steady boyfriend who would have done anything I wanted to do. We were young and irresponsible, and that is the reason I got pregnant.

But when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I had no means to support a child and really believed I would be terrible for that child. I was planning college in the fall and knew an education was the only way to make a better life than I'd had growing up. So, I decided to abort. My guilt in the situation always was about the poor decisions that led up to it, not necessarily the actual abortion.

I made a deal with God that I would never be irresponsible again, that this would be the moment when I take full responsibility and really use this situation for a second chance. I went to school, worked full time, supported myself, and faithfully never missed a birth control pill. 12 years later, that steady boyfriend and I, who had been married for nine years, divorced. In the course of that marriage, while I was busy completing undergraduate and graduate degrees and getting my career going, he started seriously using drugs and I never felt he would be a safe partner with whom to raise children. I never felt they could have a secure life amidst all the instability that was created by his drug use.

I remarried and waited until I was 32 to have my first son. A year later, I came to Christ after wrestling with the sacrifice God had made for us giving us his only Son. I had a son. I really felt the pain of that loss that God must have felt when making that choice for us. And that was the reason I chose Christianity. Now here I am, years later, a mother of two. I have a successful career helping people with disabilities. I am an active member of my church. I try every day to live in the way that God envisions my life.

I know I am a loving and good mother to my two boys. I've tried my best to create the healthy home for them that I did not have. And I wonder how I should view this abortion I had. Should I view it as an abomination, try to prevent others from making the same choice? Am I a hypocrite if, in reality, I say I know it was best, particularly for the children I have today? Let's face it, I took the easy route. I did not give that child up for adoption, when I know others who did. Part of me feels I took the low moral road, even if I told myself it was for the right reasons.

I am still pro-choice because I feel this is a question each woman must wrestle with on her own. I understand the varied reasons women choose abortion. The thought of it doesn't sicken me, although I know I would never choose it again (nor have I had to). I find I am afraid to tell others, even my own mother, that I had this abortion. The stigma that I feel is so strong, even if imagined. I have this feeling deep inside me that all of what I have become, all that I have accomplished, is somehow cheapened by this mistake I made. Maybe I'm struggling with some idea of unattainable perfection. I especially find I don't want to tell anyone that I know made the decision to keep or give up for adoption a baby.

What is the experience for other women, many years later?