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For me, my experience with abortions has been one that did not stop after I left the doctor’s office. I should start by explaining that I was equating pregnancy and failure, I was a “too smart” 12 year old kid who already knew about sex and drugs before ever experiencing them, and I was not adverse to the idea of experiencing them as soon as possible. When my older half-sister (we were extremely close to each other) was unceremoniously kicked out of the home for being six months pregnant, I knew for sure that if I got pregnant I would surely be thrown down the stairs by my overprotective father. I guess my parents had the hope it would teach me a lesson, but it didn’t.

I got knocked up the first time my junior year of high school, thanks to unprotected sex with my ex of two years. I went to the Planned Parenthood Clinic for birth control. I walked out with an abortion pamphlet. I knew that I couldn’t have this baby. The procedure was one of the most horrible experiences in my life. I had to go to the juvenile courthouse to get a waiver that would allow me to get the abortion without my parents' consent. It wasn’t as hard to get as you would think. That part wasn’t so bad, what was bad was sitting in a clinic for eight hours hearing the suction machine in the next room go off every hour or so. The only thing I could think was: who has to throw the fetuses in the trash every day? When I finally had my turn I was so drugged with Valium from the very nice and merciful nurse lady that I barely remember what happened. The only thing I do remember is being driven to a friend’s house from the clinic and finding images in the clouds in the sky.

But the next day after the drug wore off, I couldn’t stop crying. And then the guilt set in. My best friend and I did everything together; we even got knocked up around the same time. But I guess her morals were stronger than mine because she refused to even consider abortion, and the fact that I was going to have an abortion caused a rift in our friendship. Every time I saw her I looked at my own belly which should have been growing as well. It was hard to look at children, even baby animals.

That should have taught me my lesson but it didn’t.

After the first abortion I began to take the pill, but I was severely depressed and the hormones made me very bitchy so I stopped taking them after six months. My ex and I had tried to reconcile things, both of us still in pain from “what happened between us,” as we described it. But things once again went sour, and I once again had unprotected sex with my ex, and less than year a later I was again knocked up by the same ex and a senior in high school.

Everything was worse the second time. I started experiencing morning sickness every morning before school. Everything in my body hurt-- I had to eat all the time or would faint. I seriously thought about adoption but my ex was completely against it, as well as my sister who was and still is unaware of my first abortion. My drug abuse went through the roof; I had no regard for this thing in me that had to come out. I began smoking pot every morning before school to stop from getting sick, I drank at night to make it easier to sleep, and I even did ecstasy once to find some good in my life. I could tell with that maternal intuition that springs from nowhere that I was really damaging it; I had awkward pains and pink stuff coming out down there.

We didn’t have that much money this time around so I had to wait even longer to have the abortion; I was four months when I finally had enough money. They had to give me medication to start contractions, and the horrible office I had been to last time had been shut down by the health department and there was no sweet drug induced relief from what was going on. When it was finally over, I went back to the dingy hotel room my ex and I had moved into temporarily, smoked his pot, and sobbed silently all night. I never told my parents about either incident.

It’s been two years-- almost three-- since the last abortion. And while the guilt isn’t as strong, it’s still there. Last year when I went to get my wisdom teeth removed, I woke up from the general anesthetic and thought I was back in the abortion clinic the first time. I screamed and cried and was quite hysterical. I told my mother what truly had happened on the way home after I had calmed down and she’s helped me feel some relief. My friends have helped too; you would be surprised who you know that has had an abortion or two, or even three. I don’t think this will be something I ever forget. And although I am a successful undergraduate junior in a prestigious college, I still wonder if it was worth it.

I still keep in contact with my ex and he seems to have fared better than me-- his relief is obvious but he’s not insensitive to my stance. And he has cried along with me. He just tells me that I only think of the good things about having a baby and not about the cost of clothing, feeding and caring for a baby, and I can’t help but think when he says this that it may have been worth the struggle to see that baby’s face every day. My best friend tells me there no better joy. I enjoy children now more than I ever did before, and I still hope to have children of my own in the future. But I will always wonder what their older brother or sister would have been like. I still feel depressed sometimes, I still wonder if God will forgive me or if those pro-life people are right and I have damned my soul to hell for all eternity.