Thank you for allowing me to share a deeply personal story on this blog. My name is Nikki and I am a wife, mother, and pro-lifer (although that hasn’t always been evident).
For the past 15 years, I have held onto guilt, deep regret, and shame. After hiding these emotions for a very long time, I’ve decided to air my dirty laundry online. Up until now, I have definitely limited my social media persona to what is positive and enjoyable about my life. We all want to look our best and my digital self is much more polished than my real-life, mom of three little ones self. So, this blog post is not an easy one for me.
My hope is that by exposing my failings, I can help someone else to avoid the regret and guilt that has plagued me for so many years.
So, let me rewind back to the late nineties, which for me was a time of insecurity and awkwardness mixed with baggy flannel shirts, and high-waisted pants. During high school, I was blessed to have several close friends and got along well with almost everyone. However, I would have never considered myself “popular.”
When I began my freshman year of college, I found myself making friends with a group of girls that were much cooler than I considered myself to be. We spent lots of time together laughing at school and partying on the weekends.
After several months of friendship, one of our friends, Jamie* shared with the group that she was pregnant and would be having an abortion. The announcement was made with about as much drama as if she had said, “I have a toothache, but I’ll be going to the dentist next week to get it taken care of.” She had already visited an abortion clinic, but they advised that she wait a few more weeks because the procedure is less risky and easier to perform once she was further along (less risky for Jamie that is, just as deadly for her baby).**
I was raised Catholic and as soon as Jamie announced this, I immediately felt a tightening in my stomach. It was one of those moments that the Holy Spirit shouts inside my head, “SAY SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING!” and my body argues back by turning my stomach into knots.
I knew intrinsically that what she was doing was wrong. However, I had never actually had a conversation about abortion. Killing babies in utero was not something discussed at our dinner table, or in our home at all for that matter. I attended youth group occasionally, but had never heard anyone speak on life issues. I went to a public school where I certainly didn’t learn about how to confront someone considering abortion. I was totally unprepared for the role that the Holy Spirit was putting me in.
So, what did I do? I remained silent. Completely silent. Not only was I cowardly, but was also vain. No one else seemed to see anything wrong with what Jamie was doing and I wasn’t strong enough to risk losing my new friends by saying something that would have clued them in to just how uncool I was.
In the weeks leading up to her abortion, I was bothered by Jamie’s behavior. She continued to smoke, drink, and party as if she wasn’t pregnant. This really grated on me. Although I was unprepared for what to do or say, I knew that a baby was growing inside of Jamie and that she needed to care for the little life that depended on her. Yet, I still remained silent.
Jamie did go forward with the abortion and returned to school as if nothing had happened. I didn’t do anything to show my love and concern for Jamie or her unborn baby.
A short while after that, one of my closest friends in the group, Megan*, also announced her pregnancy and plans for abortion.
I had another chance to be a true friend and to offer to help Megan make the best decision for her and her baby. Instead, I remained silent once again. I couldn’t think of anything to say to someone that I considered one of my best friends to prevent her from killing her own child, so I said nothing.
Looking back, I don’t even know how I justified my lack of action. I do know that I was not strong in my faith. I had been raised to avoid conflict and never rock the boat. I was deeply entrenched in the world. I was self-conscious and timid. I was unaware of the help available to mothers of unplanned pregnancies. I had no idea of what to say or how to say it. I didn’t understand the ongoing emotional impact that abortion has on women.
Over the past 15 years, I have come up with so many scenarios of what I could have and should have done.
The problem is, I wasn’t prepared when I had the chance. God put me in a position to lead my friends to the Truth and to save precious lives in the process. I ignored the promptings of the Holy Spirit and have lived with the regret ever since.
I beg anyone reading this post, please, prepare your mind now for the possible chance to save a life in the future. Learn about the help available at Another Way and similar pregnancy centers. Imagine what you would say if you hear about someone considering abortion. Don’t judge or condemn others, but be a loving and supportive person that someone would turn to in time of trouble for advice. Teach your children to stand up and protect the vulnerable. Make sure you and your children know about the pain abortion causes and that stopping abortion doesn’t just save the baby’s life, but the mother’s as well. Stay informed about adoption options and know people waiting to adopt (we’re one of the many, many families waiting to be linked with a child to adopt, find others!). Keep business cards or flyers of your local pregnancy center with you. Be prepared to love someone so much that you risk being uncomfortable. Be more concerned about doing what God wants than what the world wants.
About a year after Megan’s abortion, she was working at a great job. We were talking one day about how well she was doing financially and she made a comment that pierced my heart. Megan said that she realized now that she could have made it work with her pregnancy. It was the only time she spoke to me about her decision and what she said was so brief, but I glimpsed in that moment that I wasn’t the only one living with regret over her abortion.
We’re taught, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I took that to the extreme and decided, “If you don’t have something to say that everyone can agree with, don’t say anything at all.” Please don’t make the same mistake that I did.
*Names have been changed
**I don’t know if this is correct or even what she was really told. It is the explanation she gave us for her waiting to have the abortion.