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I had just turned 18 in 1981 when I became pregnant. My boyfriend was 21 and never graduated from high school. We had only been together for five months. I knew the moment it happened, as if I could just feel pregnant. But I didn't want to face the fact for weeks until I finally had to get a pregnancy test.

I went to our local Planned Parenthood and the nurse there confirmed I was pregnant and we determined I was about six weeks along. She handed me a piece of paper with five doctors names and phone numbers on it and said I should start taking the pill as soon as possible. There was no mention of an alternative, no talk about what I should do. Just this piece of paper.

I was raised Catholic, and didn't understand that the Catholic Church didn't just "frown" upon abortion, that it saw it as wrong. It wasn't illegal, so I thought it was OK. But I didn't want to have an abortion. My boyfriend was suspicious and jealous and even thought it wasn't his. He definitely didn't want to have a baby and didn't want to marry me. He told me that my father would prevent us from ever seeing each other again and if I loved him, that I wouldn't tell anyone in my family.

I told no one except my two best friends who were 18 years old. I was going to graduate that spring and then I was going to start junior college in the fall. I didn't want to have an abortion. I went to see my mom who lived in Florida for spring break and just couldn't tell her that I was pregnant. I remember feeling wonderful, full of life and amazed at this life growing inside me, even though everyone said it was just a blob of nothing. I had daydreams of having this baby while in class at high school.

I couldn't make the phone call myself to the doctor's office and had my friend do it. The directions given to me were to put $200 cash in a paper bag and go to the doctor's office on a Saturday morning and not to call ever during regular business hours, and not to let anyone know where I was. And so I went with my boyfriend on a Saturday morning. I was terrified out of my skin and sat there in the waiting room of this very cushy very plush doctor's office with about 10 other frightened young girls. We chatted lightly. Our boyfriends waiting for us in the reception area. One by one they came out, looking like death, and then sat in this sterile room.

Then it was my turn. I remember the nurse holding my hand tightly. I remember the tears rolling down my face into my ears. I remember the doctor examining me and saying to the nurse "12 weeks". I was 12 weeks pregnant? But only nine weeks had passed. Oh my gosh, what was I doing? I wanted to jump down off that table more than anything. But I didn't. Then it was over. The pain was excruciating. The sound of the pump machine was horrific. I lived, but I died. I had said No to God. He gave me a beautiful gift of life and I said No.

I went on to college, stayed with my boyfriend and then three years later found myself pregnant again. This time I was sure we could keep it, but again my boyfriend said we just weren't ready and that we could get married next year if we just didn't have this baby now. He promised me there would be other babies. There were no other babies. Not ever for me. I had the abortion. We broke up for a while and then he proposed and we got married a couple of years later. We never did have those babies and I ended up divorcing him after a couple of years of marriage. I denied myself being a mother after that. God gave me a second chance, I was older, newly employed, and I was afraid of losing my boyfriend, again.

Now I'm married to someone wonderful and am too old to have children. I always think of those children who would have been 30 and 27 now -- who they would have been -- when their birthdays would have been. Their souls are in Heaven with Our Lady hopefully understanding and forgiving me, their mother. It has taken me 30 years to come to terms with this pain and what it did to me emotionally. I don't think I'll ever be completely healed. I know that God has forgiven me through my renewed Catholic faith in the blessed sacrament of reconciliation. I am on the road to redemption.