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I CONFESS: A lifetime of regret

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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At 17 I had an abortion. It was the only thing I could do at the time as I was still in school and months away from taking my CXCs.
My mother drilled it into my head that I had my whole life ahead of me and having the abortion was the best thing for me to do, so I did it willingly.
I agreed with mum because the pregnancy was an accident. It was my first time, and his first time.
We used a condom but it came off during intercourse and, being novices, we didn’t have a clue.
Thereafter, nature took its course. For six years after that I did not have sex. Each time I thought of sex, I grieved after the life I got sucked out of my body.
I hated myself for that. I felt dirty and wicked for what I did.
Though I understood my mother’s reasoning, and though I agreed, I couldn’t help but feel guilty.
It was a most distressing period of my life. It was my dirty secret. It was a real burden, so though I had reasons to be happy – like good looks, a well-paying job, and friends – I found myself thinking about that little boy or girl I rejected.
I’m now in my early 50s, married to the most wonderful man alive, but cannot have children – and this is why I was prompted to call.
I want young people, in particular, to understand that what they do now, whether it is good or bad, will affect them for the rest of their lives.
My actions back then as a silly teenager have contributed to the emotional agony I am going through today.
Sure, it was a mistake, but because of that and complications due to fibroids, I had to have a hysterectomy before I was 30.
So, at an age when women can’t wait to have children, I had to be struggling with medication that affected my moods, made me feel sick most of the time, and worse, face the prospect of not getting a life partner who would be content not to have children of his own flesh and blood.
That’s not easy! Many a night I cried and cried and begged the Lord to forgive me for what I did!
But before I got to that point, I played the blaming game. Everyone associated with that terrible time in my life I blamed. And when I heard that the fellow who had got me pregnant had children overseas, where he lived, I cursed him in my thoughts too. It was an agonizing period.
But just when I was at my lowest ebb, I took up a friend’s offer and went to church with her. There I met a really nice guy. That man would later become my husband.
He married me despite my inability to have children, and with the full knowledge that he would never be able to continue his bloodline through me.
As a Christian I believe that God never places more on a person than they can bear. So though we may not understand why our situation is what it is, there is a purpose being served and a lesson to be learnt if we would only seek guidance from the Creator.
For those who suffered the loss of a loved one in a car accident or through violence, or are themselves gravely sick, this belief can seem really impractical, but I maintain there is a point to it all.
My experience gave me a greater appreciation of children, and I learnt that though one may not give birth to a child, one can still love, care and give them the direction they need to be a morally strong, God-fearing individual.
It also gave me the strength and insight to speak to young women in particular about their sexuality, to help guide them through those difficult teenage years.
My confession is one from which people can learn that despite setbacks early in life, they can still recover. But, more importantly, they should not do things that could come back to haunt them as they age.