I remember the moment I got pregnant on July 16, 2011. I remember where I was, whom I was with and exactly how it happened.
I remember realizing I was pregnant less than a month later when I took a pregnancy test in the Headquarters and Service Battalion bathroom.
As most young Marines would, I threw the pregnancy test in the garbage can and went back to my daily routine.
It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later, when a very pregnant Lieutenant Colonel walked past me, I realized my pregnancy wasn’t a problem I could push aside and try to forget about.
As my eyes filled up with tears, I wearily walked toward my office. When I appeared in the doorway, my Sergeant immediately knew something was wrong.
When the tears started rolling down my cheeks, I knew my life as I knew it was over.
In retrospect, all of the signs had been there.
Every time I ate bananas, I puked them back up; my stomach started cramping every time I ran more than two miles; my chest hurt if I so much as bumped into something, and I could smell every little thing.
The truth was, I’d been in denial. So, on that fateful August morning, I was more terrified than surprised.
I was sent immediately back to my barracks and called the father right away. As I sat on the bed in my room, I scrolled through my contacts until his name appeared on the screen.
As I pressed the button that would begin the phone call, I imagined the different scenarios that could potentially play out. Then I heard his voice.
As we drove from the base to the emergency room, a nervous silence hung in the car. The only thing both of us were sure of was that neither of us was ready for a child. We weren’t even dating.
We’d been drunk; we’d forgotten a condom, and now, we were both in the most difficult situation single individuals in their young 20s can imagine.
During the 30-minute drive to the hospital, I hoped that somehow, against all odds, I wasn’t pregnant.
An hour later, it was confirmed through blood testing that I was. As the nurse read my results, the father and I sat silently, already knowing we’d made our decision: We could not have this child.
Two weeks later, I called my mother from the waiting room at the abortion clinic. I told her, for the first time, I was pregnant and I was having an abortion.
In my mind, I was subtly aware my life was about to change dramatically. I still believe I made a horrible, yet right, decision.
I recall the picket signs outside of the abortion clinic. Some read, “Protect the unborn baby!” or “Abortion kills a person!”
Others said things like, “Abortion hurts the women!” and “You will always remember the child you never knew!”
Determined to go through with my choice, I ignored the picketers, unaware of how true the signs were.
After my abortion, I felt unbelievably alone. I could be in a crowded room and still feel completely estranged. I had an empty smile I flashed for all of the people I interacted with.
The whole world thought I was happy, but inside, I felt like I was dying.
For the first two days, there was an unfathomable pain in my abdomen. All I wanted to do was sleep or lay in my bed, alone. The truth is, that was the way I preferred to be.
I didn’t want to be around happy people; I wanted to be secluded to my own little version of hell.
To this day, I still think back to the baby that was never grown.
I know if I hadn’t had an abortion, my life would be dramatically different.
However, I also can’t stop from wondering, would the baby have been a little boy or a girl? Would he or she have had the daddy’s eyes or my curly hair?
Would he or she have wanted to go fishing with Dad, or curl up inside with Mommy? The baby would have been starting school this fall; would he or she have been excited?
I learned the picketers were right. Abortion truly destroys two lives: the mother’s and the unborn child’s. Not a day goes by I don’t wonder who my baby would have become.
I never tell people what I went through because I constantly fear they’ll judge me for the sin I’ve committed.
I don’t feel comfortable in new relationships, and when I am sexually active, I always worry I’m going to get pregnant.
My father isn’t aware of the divide created in our relationship because he isn’t aware of the decision I made four years ago.
Every young woman who makes the choice to abort lives with her decision for the rest of her life. Just because the child doesn’t ever physically arrive, doesn’t mean he or she isn't real.
My unborn baby is always there. In the little girl swinging on the monkey bars, or in the little boy arguing with his mom at the store, your baby is always there.