Nearly 14 years ago, I was 19. I has finished my freshman year at a private Christian college in PA, and my parents had just separated and filed for divorce after 25+ years of marriage. I was brought up in a Christian household, and my faith was very important to me. My parents' divorce rattled me and changed every rule--my foundation was gone.

I was invited to go to London with my older cousin on a business trip, and I welcomed the escape. I had been keeping in touch with a guy on-line who lived within a couple hours of London. We thought it was amazing that we could actually meet up! Perfect timing.

I met with him very innocently for dinner while I was in London, it was amazing. He was handsome, young, a Christian like me. His family owned a small chain of department stores in the UK. He was very well off, and well educated. We had dinner--we were both nervous so we drank quite a bit. I think we were both also so young. We ended up getting a hotel room. I lost my virginity. I am pretty sure he lost his as well that night. There was an awkward goodbye early hours of the next morning, and I took a flight home the next day.

I knew that I was pregnant on the flight home. I just had a feeling, and an overwhelming sense of what had just happened. A month later at home, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I emailed the man that I had lost my virginity to. He was terrified, and told me he wasn't ready to be a father. He stopped returning my emails. I was devastated. I told my Mother. She told me that she had so much pain in her life with the divorce, that she couldn't handle anything else. She thought I should leave and go "somewhere" until I had the baby. I already knew that I wanted to have an abortion.

That same week I scheduled an early term medical abortion at a clinic about an hour and a half from my home. It was the closest clinic. My Mother came with me, which I know now is one of the hardest things she has ever had to do. The doctor did a quick, rough, vaginal exam. She confirmed my pregnancy and gave me medication end my pregnancy.

When I came home, I took a suppository that made me contract/cramp. I passed my pregnancy alone in my childhood bedroom--although I was only 8 weeks along, I was able to clearly see the baby that I had lost. I cried, prayed, and touched the life that I had passed.

Over the next 5 years, I abused alcohol, quit school, and hated myself. I shut everyone out of my life. I allowed alcohol to make me mourn. To make me feel the pain that abortion had caused me. I left the church. I lost almost all of my friends. I let men use me.

I met a wonderful man who I am married to now. We have been married for 5 years. I have 2 beautiful, healthy children. This family has become my redemption. When my daughter was born, I started to live again. I went through counseling, I let some of my guilt go. When my son was born, I felt vindicated. I felt angry for losing so many years to shame and guilt.

I will admit that no matter what, I will always mourn the loss of my first child. I don't know why, but I feel it was a boy. I held him in my hand and flushed him down the toilet. I think about it weekly, if not daily. I will celebrate my children and give back as much as I can, because abortion has taught me true grace. It has taught me that I am blessed. It has taught me love in general, and it has showed me the love that God has for me and for everyone surrounding me, no matter how flawed they are. It has taught me to give back. It has shaped every part of who I am today.