My Secret Scar
I don’t believe that anything could have prepared me for those two little blue lines –the scariest, most exciting blue lines I’ve ever come across.
Even though I took the test I didn’t really believe that it could happen to me. I was only 17 at the time, still in high school, my whole life ahead of me. Too naïve and selfish for my own good, I was happy with my life and wasn’t prepared for it to change. I knew it was my choice to have sex, but I wasn’t really ready to accept the consequences. But having said that, I know there was a part of me that would have been very disappointed if I hadn’t seen the two blue lines of a positive test. Part of me was excited to think that, in less than nine months’ time, I could be a mom with a precious little baby in my arms. Not just anyone’s child—my own—a part of me.
I was afraid, excited, nervous, terrified, yet my mind was made up. I would drop everything for this tiny dot in my belly. I didn’t stop to consider how my boyfriend or my parents would take the news, or what it would be like to drop out of school and leave behind everything I had worked so hard for. After the initial shock, I just knew that I was ready to become a mom. Looking back, I can see that it was never as simple as that . . . It wasn’t a black and white decision. In fact, it was far more complicated and painful than I could ever have imagined.
I was so excited about telling my boyfriend that, instead of waiting to tell him in person, I blurted it out over the phone! But his reaction was less than positive. After a long pause, he said something along the lines of needing to discuss our options. Options? I don’t know what I expected him to feel, but obviously he was not as excited as I was. Now I can see why. What 17 year-old guy wants to be a dad? I doubt you would find many teenage boys saying that parenthood was high on their list of priorities.
Feeling a little shattered, I realized I needed the advice of a good friend. I chose someone a few years older than me, who already had a child of her own. Straight away she pointed out that my boyfriend and I could not afford to raise a child on our own. She was right. Unskilled, part time jobs could never make us financial enough to give our baby everything that we wanted to give it. And who could depend on us if we could barely support ourselves?
Looking back, I would never blame my boyfriend or my friend for convincing me against having the baby. In today’s society a woman has the right to know all of her options because having a child affects everyone. I wasn’t going to be the only one my choice would have an impact on. So I started to think about my options.
The choice I made breaks my heart. Instead of protecting my innocent baby and facing up to my actions, I took the ‘easy’ way out. At the time it seemed like the right decision. I could justify my choice and, back then, I didn’t realize how I might feel about my choice afterwards. It seemed like just another simple choice: Option A or Option B --like deciding to have either cereal or toast for breakfast.
I never told my parents, and when the actual day arrived I said goodbye to them like I would any other day. As far as I know, they still don’t know. I’ve never told them because I’m so ashamed and I would hate for them to be ashamed of me, too. I still feel like they would never be able to understand what was going on in my head back then. And because the only physical sign of my pregnancy was the morning sickness, I managed to hide that from them pretty well.
Even though I had my boyfriend and my friend beside me, when the day arrived I was terrified. I’ve never felt more scared. At the same time I felt a strange numbness, like someone else was making the choice and my body was just obeying. My heart ached when I saw the ultrasound of my baby. ‘It’s as small as a grain of rice,’ the doctor said. So tiny . . . I cried. Of course I had second thoughts, but I still went ahead with the abortion. I honestly felt like it was too late to back out.
I remember the doctor putting the mask over my face and telling me to count down from ten. Then, suddenly, a nurse was holding my hand and telling me that the operation was over and that everything was going to be ok. Just like that, it was over. But wasn’t she wrong? I wasn’t ok. In recovery I sat with four other women. We’d all come out of the same procedure. There was a girl sitting next to me, crying. I cried too. Silent, great tears rolled down my cheeks. I wondered if that girl missed her baby already like I did. That’s when it all hit me, the severity of my decisions. First of all, how huge a choice it was to have sex without fully comprehending this consequence. Second, when faced with becoming pregnant, choosing to have an abortion rather than stepping up and accepting the outcome.
I had one week of holidays before going back to school and, hidden in my room, I just wanted to die. I wouldn’t wish the pain or feeling of loss on my worst enemy. It really was awful. It felt like a huge part of me was missing and I could never get that piece back. I still feel that sense of something missing today. No amount of counseling, hugs from friends or comforting words will ever make me feel better about my decision. I have to live with it.
After that, school didn’t feel the same. I wasn’t the bubbly, outgoing girl I used to be. Nothing mattered to me anymore and it took months to return to some feeling of normality. I still feel like an empty shell sometimes; walking around, pretending to be alright.
I think of that baby every day—I won’t ever forget him. People have different views on abortion. The choices are not equal and, if I knew then what I know now, I would have made a very different choice.