had an abortion because I was coerced into it by both of my baby’s families and friends. I did not want to do it at all—yet I was made to feel as though I had to do it in order to “protect” my baby. I cried every day leading up to the procedure, and I have not gone at least a week without crying out for my child ever since. I wish I would have just followed my heart.

The child’s father and I were in love, and, upon finding out that I was pregnant, we were both scared but ecstatic. We were engaged, I lived with he and his father, and we actually intended to conceive.

I became very ill and was constantly in and out of the hospital. His only sibling never liked me, and when we began re-homing some of the small animals in our home, his sister threw a tantrum for not running it by her first, even though she didn’t live with us. I asked her to consider my and my child’s health, as well as the fact that the animals deserved to be in better homes because we couldn’t properly care for them. She screamed at me, kicked in my bedroom door, and went online threatening me, because she felt as though as I was being inconsiderate of her feelings. She then threatened her brother that he would no longer be able to see his niece if I didn’t apologize.

I refused to do so, but he continued to beg me to be the “bigger person,” so I did. She responded by completely disrespecting me. I let my anger get the best of me and told her that she was not allowed back at the house uninvited, behaving the way that she was the last time I saw her and that, if she did, that I would defend myself by any means necessary. She called the police claiming to be scared for her life, managed to press charges against me for threatening her, and, because I couldn’t afford a public defender, I could not defend myself. She also convinced her father to kick me out of the house as well, for setting rules in his own household. My fiancé felt as though I was the one making him choose between his sister and I and decided to end our engagement. He and his father threatened to come after the child and start a custody war once the baby was born. My ex began pursuing other women and refused to return my belongings. We started a business together, at which he fired me and told all of our clients that I was a dangerous person.

I started sleeping in my car and trying to find resources for my child and me. I contacted help hotlines and reached out to a few women’s shelters. I wanted to run as far and as fast as I could with my baby. I considered killing myself many times while I was pregnant because I feared for the child’s life but was so against the idea of abortion since I already loved my child so much and had already made great plans for him. I was firmly against aborting my child, but my family was firmly against me having it. Because we have always been poor, they felt as though the child was guaranteed to be taken away and that we would both live lives of suffering. They convinced me that having the child was “selfish”; that just because I wanted him, knowing the danger ahead of us, I was being a bad mother and a bad person. My older sister was the main perpetrator, constantly breaking down my self-esteem and confidence. She had two abortions and never regretted it. After three weeks of breaking down, I gave in.

Three appointments were scheduled. The first time I wouldn’t get out of the car, the second time I couldn’t get out of bed, and the third time I became so numb that I was surprised that the staff at Planned Parenthood wasn’t alarmed by my tears and coldness. When I saw the ultrasound, I wanted to stop everything, but it was already too late. I cried out to God at the top of my lungs as I felt my child being torn away from me. I cried all the way home and have hardly gone a day without crying ever since. Immediately after the abortion, I regretted my decision.

I have a hard time seeing women and babies, especially pregnant women and families. I feel dejected from reality and cannot find joy in life. I do not have any interest in men, and I actually miss my fiancé, even though we are apart. The last time I spoke to him, he accused me of killing our child and to leave him alone.

I found forgiveness through God’s grace. A month after the procedure I was drinking heavily and constantly plotting suicide attempts that I never fulfilled. I applied to college and was shocked to learn that I got accepted. I am doing great in school, am surrounded by love and people who want to help me, and feel wrong for not appreciating these blessings due to the pain I still feel, but my child and I are both in a much better place.

I want women who have been through something similar to know that there is still hope, and that they should never allow the threats and opinions of others to prevent them from keeping their child if it is not what they want to do. This is why I am silent no more!