In her 2021 memoir, Teresa Leet shares her experiences in both having an abortion and placing her baby for adoption. While the abortion caused her years of emotional trauma, she has no regrets about choosing adoption.
A lack of knowledge about abortion
Leet had an abortion at age 15 in the early 1980s. There was no internet to look up information, and she didn’t know about pregnancy resource centers. She explained, “I had no idea what an abortion entailed… I was misinformed, and I misunderstood the consequences that would follow for decades, consequences that shaped my perception of life, creating a wounded and tormented soul.”
Leet worried about what adults would think of her because of her pregnancy. When her boyfriend leaked the news to her classmates, some reassured her that abortion was “no big deal” and that “everybody does it.”
A painful abortion in a “cold” facility
Leet described the abortion facility as “cold.” She said, “The walls were as blank as the stares from the staff.”
She remembers asking if the abortion would hurt. The nurse told her she would be “fine,” and would only experience some cramping. “I wasn’t fine. (And it hurt a whole lot more than my worst cramps ever did!) I wondered if the nurse ever had an abortion herself to make such a claim,” she said.
Emotional trauma, promiscuity, and addiction
The abortion haunted Leet. She explained, “[S]hame and disgrace for me were ever-present…” She threw herself into work and was successful in her professional life, partying every weekend. “But,” she said, “all this was just another coping mechanism to avoid facing the pain… I welcomed the distraction of noise to drown out the voices of unworthiness in my head.”
Leet got married and had a daughter named Tara, but the marriage failed. She began using cocaine. “I was running away from being a mom to Tara to escape the pain of the child I chose death for,” she said.
Leet now believes the abortion was behind her partying, promiscuity, and drug use, but said, “It never dawned on me all these years later that that was the reason I was in such pain.”
A newfound faith, a failing marriage, and an unplanned pregnancy
She remarried, had twin girls, and became a Christian. She quit drugs, but her husband wasn’t supportive of her newfound faith or the new direction her life was taking. The couple separated several times, then got back together. She became pregnant again – but, unfortunately, at that point, it was clear the marriage was ending. Leet couldn’t imagine being a single mother to three children, plus a newborn.
Her soon-to-be ex-husband told her to have an abortion — he wanted nothing to do with the child. When Leet went to her mother for support, she also urged abortion.
Choosing abortion a second time?
Then Leet confided in a Christian friend, who suggested adoption.
Leet became angry. “I immediately shut down and explained that there was no way I could ever do such a thing,” she said. “I was infuriated. Give my child away? What a ridiculous, outrageous suggestion!”
Leet worried about what friends and coworkers would think if she chose adoption. She feared their questions and judgment. “Just like I did with the abortion when I was 15, I was more concerned with what other people would think than what might potentially be best… I fell into the societal trap of thinking it was my body and my choice. That …was more acceptable, dinner-table discussion almost, than the unloving option of adoption… I felt pressured, once again, to take care of ‘it.’ Only this time I knew ‘it’ was a baby. [Emphasis in original]
Influenced by her misunderstanding of adoption and the stigma she felt it carried, Leet arranged an abortion.
A last-minute change of plans
Then, on the way to the abortion facility, she had a profound experience. She believes God spoke to her, asking her to trust Him and saying He had plans for her baby.
Just five minutes away from the facility, she pulled over to pray. She started to “shake and cry uncontrollably” and “questioned her sanity,” but she believed God wanted her to choose life — and she wanted to obey Him. Leet turned around and went home.
She ended up choosing adoption, after all.
Choosing adoption and “tears of joy”
When her parents found out she was choosing adoption, they “did not handle the news well.” Her father even “temporarily disowned” her. Some of her friends couldn’t understand her decision. Friendships ended.
But today, over 17 years later, Leet has no regrets about her choice. The adoptive parents, Nick and Cheryl, named the child Harlee. The adoption wasn’t easy, Leet said, but:
[I]t was worth it, seeing the joy on their faces as Nick and Cheryl held their daughter. It brought tears of hope and happiness to me. This little girl was where she belonged and would be given the love, opportunities, and attention she deserved.
When Leet said goodbye to Harlee, she said, “Although my eyes were filled with joyful tears, I was confident in knowing she was going to be given a beautiful chance at a fulfilled life, something I couldn’t provide.”
A new family and no regrets
Leet chose open adoption and kept in touch with Harlee’s family through phone calls, letters, and pictures. Leet married again, and when Harlee was six, Leet, her husband, her three children, and her ex-husband (the baby’s father) went to visit Harlee’s family.
“Words cannot express the warmth and comfort I had during this visit…” she said. “I was at peace with my choice.”
She remembers, “I felt whole… Adoption can be a beautiful, breathtaking, life-affirming experience.”
Her aborted baby’s father also mourns
Over 30 years after her abortion, Leet spoke to the father of her aborted baby. She asked him if he ever thought about the abortion, and he responded, “I think about it every day and how I would have a 30-year-old had we not done that.”
She describes him as “heartbroken.”
Leet’s abortion led to years of emotional trauma, but she has found healing through a post-abortion Bible study. While the abortion brought only suffering, becoming a birth mother, though difficult, ultimately brought her joy.
Source: Teresa Leet Chasing Easy in a Life of Hard Choices (Maitland, Florida: Xulon Press Elite, 2021) 16,20, 51, 52, 82-83, 86-87, 145
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