Regretting My Abortion: “I Went to Sleep With a Baby and Woke Up Without One”

National   |   Dave Andrusko   |   Jun 21, 2013   |   11:07AM   |   Washington, DC

No two pro-lifers will read personal accounts written by women who’ve had abortions and come away with exactly the same conclusions.

Of course, we would all lament the loss of these children and fervently wish the moms had chosen life over death. A terrible—and irrevocable—decision has been made with ramifications most women (and the men who were involved) could never have anticipated.

Beyond that, however, we will evaluate what the writer is “telling” us and often come away with reading the “signals” in vastly different ways.

Take, for example, “What’s the connection between abortion and careers?” written by Penelope Trunk, a blogger and career advice columnist. (See

Trunk, now the mother of two, writes about the two abortions she had. Read at one level they practically invite caricature.

She was 27 when she had her first abortion, a time when Trunk was playing professional beach volleyball. But there is nothing in her account that suggests abortion was a reflex decision, the default position for a woman who played volleyball eight hours a day and worked out in the gym for two more hours.

What comes through, instead, is that her mother lobbied furiously for an abortion, apparently still seething over career opportunities she thought she had lost because of her own status as a mother (she called night after night; she got “militant”), her boyfriend was a profile in cowardice, and her friends assured her that abortions in their social strata were as common as starfish.

Still Trunk backed away from one abortion appointment; she just couldn’t abort. “I couldn’t stop screaming. I was too scared. I felt absolutely sick that I was going to kill a baby. And, now that I know more about being a mother, I understand that hormones had already kicked in to make me want to keep the baby. We left. No abortion.”

The heat was turned up and she was told repeatedly how awful life would be for her if she chose life for her baby. Her boyfriend’s contribution was to remind her she was getting close to the time where she’s be so far long along she’d have trouble securing an abortion.

“So I did it,” she writes, having gone to an abortion clinic that specializes in late abortions. “I went to sleep with a baby and woke up without one. Groggy. Unsure about everything. Everything in the whole world.”

Her second abortion? She was 30 and finally reaching a level of financial independence. Trunk writes

“I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant. I knew what they’d say.

“So I completely checked out emotionally. I scheduled the abortion like I was on autopilot. I told my boyfriend at the last minute and told him not to come with me.

“He said forget it. He’s coming with me.

“I remember staring at the wall. Telling myself to stop thinking of anything.

“The doctor asked me, ‘Do you understand what’s going to happen?’

“I said yes. That’s all I remember.

“I got two abortions to preserve my career. To keep my options open. To keep my aspirations within reach.

“I bought into the idea that kids undermine your ability to build an amazing career.

“And here I am, with the amazing career.”

Trunk makes a number of points, some of which we might agree with, others most of us wouldn’t.

As mentioned she has two children. “So I know a bit about having kids and a career. And I want to tell you something: You don’t need to get an abortion to have a big career.”

Trunk, speaking as a career counselor, also argues, “It doesn’t matter whether you have kids now or later, because they will always make your career more difficult. There is no time in your life when you are so stable in your work that kids won’t create an earthquake underneath that confidence.”

But much of her conclusion is summed up these seven sentences: “And I am not sure that my life would have turned out worse if I had had kids early. I am not sure it would have turned out better. I’m not even sure it would have been that different. You never know, not really. There is little certainty. But there are some certain truths: It’s very hard to have an abortion. And, there is not a perfect time to have kids.”

“I’m not sure” and “you never know” are the twin threads that run through her own story.

What we can be sure of is that Trunk understands now that it isn’t/wasn’t baby or career. That while having children means that life is more complicated for a woman who has a career outside the home, children are a special reward.



We also can be sure that every instinct in her body was not to have the first abortion but that her every “support system” supported/encouraged/virtually demanded that Trunk have an abortion.

That is not an excuse for an abortion. It is rather to understand that crisis pregnancies demand courage and fortitude. And that both are much easier when someone has your back.

You never know what would have happened if there had been a voice or two speaking on behalf of the baby. Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in his Natioanl Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.