Shame from outside sources, not from abortion

by M (California)

I got pregnant in my 20s, and was absolutely not ready to have children. My family is very religious, so I only told my sister when I decided to have an abortion. She agreed to keep my secret, but tried to guilt me into keeping the pregnancy.

She succeeded in making me feel guilty, but I still knew that I was going to have an abortion.

Then she tried to stop me by offering to raise it herself. “Just have it and I’ll take care of it,” she kept saying. But I had the abortion. And my sister never stopped making me feel ashamed.

But I never regretted it. It was the right thing to do.

Two decades later, I am married with two daughters. I never told my husband about the abortion, because I believe he would leave me if he knew. I love him with all my heart, and couldn’t bear him hating me.

One day, I told my elder daughter, who is about 15. I was crying, and through my tears I confessed: “I…had…an abortion.” I will never forget the look on her face. I was expecting revulsion, anger, horror… but no. She looked slightly confused, and said, “Okay, Mom… so what?”. She was honestly didn’t understand why I was upset about it. Then, looking at me, she began to get it. She smiled, laughed a little, and said, “Mom, it’s no big deal. I don’t care. Good for you, that you did the right thing. Seriously, Mom.”

Her reaction made me realize that my guilt and shame was from external sources, and was not inherent to having had an abortion.

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