If ever there were a straight-A student with a future ahead of her, it was Candace. Known as “the good and quiet girl” in the family, at 23 she had a steady boyfriend of three years, in her third year of college and was hoping to begin her career.
And then her doctor confirmed the news that she was pregnant. A sense of panic took over as she thought about all the people she’d disappoint, all those high expectations for a good career, and her boyfriend’s conservative family. “It was never a question for him. From day one, we ‘had to do something’ about this,” Candace recalls. Other options that were available were “shut down before they were even considered.”
Abortion was the obvious road, a cultural norm. “None of us really considered the impact. I honestly thought you had an abortion and nobody has to know, nobody thinks about it…” Candace remembers. “I thought it was something that just would subside. It’s so common.”
She hardly remembers the day it happened. “I remember going there, cold and emotionless. Someone came in to speak to me, but I don’t remember what was said. I had to shut down in order to go through with it.”
She went on with her life. “Come January, you’re back to school. But in your mind, you’re thinking, ‘you don’t what I was doing on my Christmas break.’ But you have to pick up and move on.”
On the outside, little had changed. But inside? Tears course down her face as Candace tells of the sadness, regret and guilt that overcame her. “You’re not happy, but you pretend you’re happy. When you’re alone with your thoughts, it’s a prison inside your head.” Candace put on a mask, hiding her secret deep within. “I’m not my authentic self in front of you. I can be smiley and bubbly, but if you knew the real me, would you accept me, would you love me? If you really knew what I did, would you think of me differently?”
Years passed, and the regret deepened. “People say it’s the woman’s choice…now I know that I chose a lie.”
Read the rest of Candace’s story in part two, as she finds healing and hope.