Colleen, California


I am a 43-year-old mother to two boys; a sweet and sassy three-year-old and an angel, and wife to a wonderful, loving husband. I am a budget analyst for a university.  I love music and singing, although I’m sure I drive my family crazy when I sing with the radio! We have two crazy dogs and two silly cats – the beginnings of our own zoo. I believe we should have the right to choose what is best for our families, our bodies and our lives.

We have a wonderful, sweet, three-year-old son and he is our world. We found out that I was pregnant with our second child just before my son’s third birthday. We were scared – financially, it would be a hardship, and we were worried how we would love our second child as much as our first. My husband and I figured out the financials, and started to get excited for our son to have a little sister or brother. He would be such a great big brother; loving and sweet. We took him to our 13 week ultrasound and he was excited to see “his baby.”  Just my husband and I went to the 19 week ultrasound, and that is when our world began to fall apart.  Full story.

Marketia, Arizona


I am a 54-year-old housewife and mom. I love to read, play a little golf, and watch college football games with my husband.

I also had two late-term abortions due to major birth defects. Our oldest son is 27 and the pregnancy with him was completely normal. We thought having a second child would be easy enough and had planned on having at least 3, if not 4, children. Michael was born in 1985.  In March of 1988 I had my first miscarriage. The second and third miscarriages were in 1990. All were in the first trimester, and no cause was found. In 1991 I was once again pregnant.  When I made it through the first trimester we thought we could breathe.   Full story.

BB, Nevada


Together with my high school sweetheart for the last 12 years. Wife, sister, mother of two living children. College graduate and career woman. Enjoys being outdoors, riding horses, and playing with my children.

We were so excited to find out we were expecting our second child. Our hearts were filled with so much joy and love for our newest addition, and it was only multiplied exponentially when we found out we were having another girl. PINK!! Our daydreams of adding a beautiful baby girl to our family were stripped away in an instant when we found out our daughter had major development issues that were deemed incompatible with life… We were faced with a decision no family should ever have to face. Full story.

Mary, California


Married for 15 years to my high school sweetheart.  Mom, Daughter, Friend & Survivor. Loves butterflies, reading, listening to music, and being with my family and friends.

In January of 2012, at 33 years old, I found out I was pregnant again. I was scared and thrilled all at the same time. After a very long time I would be starting over, and the thought was both amazing and terrifying all at once. I waited a LONG time for this little one and I was overjoyed.  I never imagined I would  go in for my 18 week ultrasound and my world would come crashing down. I went in with hopes of pink or blue, and left with a heavy heart and crushed dreams.  Full story.

Kari, Texas


Mother of four (three on earth and one in heaven), military wife.

In October 2011, I was a 36-year-old, Texas resident, mother of two.  I was a minivan driving, stay-at-home mom with three college degrees.  My husband, a military officer, was deployed to Iraq for the prior 12 months.  We had considered adding one more child to our family and were thrilled to find out that I conceived within two weeks of my husband returning from Iraq. This was our “homecoming baby,” the beginning of our “happily ever after.” Instead, it was the beginning of our heartbreaking story.  Full story.

Keri, United Kingdom


Mum to an angel baby, unemployed Dog Groomer- job hunting. Dog geek. Owned by two dogs and two cats!

My pregnancy was unplanned and unexpected. My boyfriend and I had been together for a year and our relationship was solid, but at 19 years old, babies weren’t in the cards for a while. I was on the pill, so surely it couldn’t happen! But it did. I was unemployed, and we were scared.  But with the love and support of family, my boyfriend and I knew we could do it, and started to get excited about our baby. Then we had the 20 week anomaly scan, and our world came crashing down.  Full story.

Mari, Connecticut


Compassionate.  Loving.  Quirky.  Emotional. Mother.

I was 24 years old when I found out I was pregnant. I was scared and shocked. I had bleeding at nine weeks, and from that day forward, I did everything I could to protect my baby. I loved my child, and after every hurdle I overcame, I loved my baby even more. It was the anatomy scan, one which I already feared because of 1:200 odds for T-21 from a screening test, which shattered my world. I said goodbye to Sophia and will never forget her. Full story.

Liz, Missouri


Happy stay-at-home mom to a beautiful girl, Navy wife, and aspiring entrepreneur.

As a parent, your job is to care for and protect your child.  Every parent-to-be is fearful that they won’t be able to do that for their child.  In the second trimester of my pregnancy, a screening test revealed that my odds of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality were greater than 1 in 10.  An amniocentesis later confirmed that my baby did, in fact, have Trisomy 18–a diagnosis that is incompatible with life.  Because of our desire to protect our child, my husband and I knew that we could not in good conscience bring a child into this world who would only know pain and suffering. With a heavy heart, I was induced into labor and delivered my much-wanted child at 19 weeks and 5 days.  Full story.

Renee, Texas


Stay-at-home mom to four boys (three here on earth and one in heaven).  Married for 19 years.  Enjoys scrapbooking, volunteering with the PTA, Cub Scouts& Boy Scouts, reading a good book, and spending time with my family.  Most recently, became interested in politics and fighting for women’s reproductive health.

On March 29, 2006, I had a routine mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  My two sons were eagerly waiting to hear whether they would have a little brother or sister.  Instead we heard, “Something is wrong with the kidneys, I am going to get the doctor.”  Four days later we learned our baby was another boy, but that his condition was incompatible with life. His kidneys were full of cysts. No bladder was visible. There was no amniotic fluid. His lungs would not develop. I was given two choices and told that neither would be easy. I chose to end my sweet baby’s suffering.  Full story.

Jeni, Texas


Married for three years. Working mother of a beautiful, smart 20 month toddler.  Devoted to protecting reproductive choice.

At 21 weeks pregnant, we went to a sonogram. I noticed things didn’t look right… there were severe issues with our baby. The brain was not developed, the heart had multiple defects, and none of the organs were in the correct place… We found out our fetus had triploidy, an extremely rare chromosome disorder where every chromosome is tripled. Two out of three of these cases are believed to miscarry in the first trimester. It’s a random event and isn’t related to any genetic defects or maternal age. An egg may have been fertilized by two sperm. Full story.

Dana, Maryland


Married for nearly 10 years.  Working Mother of two living children, with a 3rd on the way.  Membership Director for a non-profit organization.

In July 2009, I was happily pregnant and excitingly, anxiously expecting the arrival of our second child.  For nearly eight months, I had been loving my baby in utero and explaining to our then two-and-a-half year old son that he was going to become a big brother.  Never, EVER did I imagine I would need to have an abortion…and certainly not one so late in my pregnancy.  Full story.

Kristyn, Texas


Anesthesiologist, married 9 years, mother of three boys and one angel, relaxes by reading or doing anything crafty.

 At 16 weeks through my first pregnancy, my triple screen came back abnormal.  The ultrasound that followed revealed Potter’s syndrome, a collection of characteristics caused by severe oligohydramnios (aka lack of amniotic fluid) and incompatible with life.  After 16 weeks, amniotic fluid is produced by the fetal kidneys, bathing the baby and providing an environment for the lungs to develop.  Without it a baby’s lungs will not function and the baby will suffocate at birth.  At 17 weeks 1 day I chose to deliver my daughter Annabelle, who I so desperately wanted.  It was the right decision for us.  Full story.

Heather, North Carolina


Mom of two (one living, one angel). Married 9 years. Former TV Producer turned Recreation Professional.

In 2006, my husband and I were pregnant with our first child.  All of our early screenings and tests were going fine with no signs of complications.  It was at the 20 week level II ultrasound that instead of finding out the sex of my baby, my life changed forever.

The ultrasound tech was quiet….too quiet…and avoided answering questions. She stoically said that the doctor would be in to “go over everything.” My heart dropped through the floor. Something was wrong. I just knew it. A mother always knows. Full story.

Melanie, London, UK


Married, mortgage-payer, commuter, keen cook, traveller and cat fan.

I’m in my mid-thirties, married, and living in London, UK. We have been pregnant three times and each baby was much wanted. The first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. The second pregnancy we sadly brought to an end because of brain and heart abnormalities. Our third baby also developed brain abnormalities. We decided to bring that pregnancy to a premature end, too. Both babies have since been diagnosed with chromosomal abnormalities, and I have been found to be the carrier. We have had two unsuccessful rounds of IVF with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (i.e. genetic screening).  Full story.

Grace, Virginia


Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Dancer.

I was 26 years old when we decided to start expanding our family.  After almost a year of fertility issues we were told I had PCOS, we were told we would never have a family naturally.  I gave up trying and focused on how to get healthy only to find out a few months later we were pregnant.  Our world was destroyed when the doctor walked into the ultrasound exam room and told us that our baby’s organs were growing on the outside of his body. Our world imploded with just a few words.  Full story.

Breanna, North Carolina

breannaMarried for 5 years. My husband is in the Marine Corps Reserves and a Project Superintendent in the civilian world. I’m a teacher assistant with a soft-spot for Autistic kids. I am blessed beyond belief and wouldn’t trade a day in my life for anything. But I desperately miss my only child Gabriel, and hope to be able to try to conceive again soon.

I found out during my 15 week quad screening that Gabriel had a neural tube defect called Acrania. During my first month of gestation Gabriel’s neural tube failed to properly close, and although he developed a brain and spine he never developed a skull. My husband and I were told that Gabriel’s condition was a 1 in a million thing and at the time it made me so angry to hear that–to not have any answers. Now, I realize Gabriel really was 1 in a million and losing him was a blessing in disguise.  Full story.

Elizabeth, Virginia


Mom, wife, researcher.  Has always loved reading, winter,  and being outside. Never forgets the son she lost.

I was always pro choice … for OTHER people.  For myself, I always aspired to be a mom.  If anyone had ever offered ME an abortion, I probably would have hit that person with a 2-by-4.

Fast forward to my marriage; birth of my wonderful daughter; pregnancy again; and then slow the tape at the moment in the routine 21-week ultrasound when they said “This doesn’t look good”.  Then: days into weeks of research, sleeplessness, crying, and terrible discussions about “what is quality of life?”

That is how I found myself walking through protesters to obtain a later-term abortion. Full story.

Kate, Virginia

KateVAA wife, a mother to an adorable toddler, an army officer, and an attorney. Hopefully a mother of two some day.

My husband and I always wanted two children. When I was pregnant with my second child we were able to have two ultrasounds prior to 20 weeks due to complications arising quite late with my first pregnancy. Despite the two ultrasounds, it was not until my 20 week ultrasound that anything concerning was discovered.  At my 20 week ultrasound we found out that we were blessed with a boy. We also found out that he did not have a functioning heart and that he would not survive outside the womb. After consultation with family and numerous medical specialists, we decided that we would not let our baby suffer and made the heartbreaking choice to terminate the pregnancy. I wish that no other woman would ever have to make such a difficult and painful decision. Unfortunately, I am not alone and our numbers grow with each day.  Full story.

Dr. E, Pennsylvania

DrE2“Dr. E”  is a college professor and clinician in private practice in Pennsylvania. Prior to getting her doctorate, she was employed as a social worker in the fields of end of life care, trauma, and serious mental illness. She is also a trained opera singer and lives with her husband, infant son (at the time of this writing) and menagerie of dogs, cats, birds, fish, and rats.

As a clinician and professor specializing in death, dying, and bereavement, I always focused on helping others through grief and loss. I never expected to become a patient myself when our first child was diagnosed with an extremely rare and deadly birth defect. Our son’s diagnosis of CHAOS proved to me that I am not immune to tragedy or heartbreaking decisions. Having never expected to ever terminate a pregnancy, I found myself forced to end my son’s life prematurely before he died either prenatally of heart failure or, if he made it to term, in agonizing pain and suffering. Full story.

Sarah, Ohio


Spouse, college instructor, gardener, swing dancer, geek, bird lover, diabetic and insulin pump user.

A year ago my husband and I were expecting our first baby. Our baby would have been the first grandchild in either of our families and everyone was so excited for us. The first inkling we had that anything was wrong was an elevated NT measurement at 12 weeks. We had more testing done for chromosomal abnormalities and, when those results came back negative, we let ourselves start to get excited about becoming parents. Seven weeks later all of those expectations were smashed to bits. Full story.

Carole, Texas

caroleMother of two girls–one on earth, and one in heaven. Native Texan.

No one ever thinks that they are going to be faced with the decision of terminating a much-wanted pregnancy.  My spouse and I were faced with exactly that decision.  On December 1, 2008, I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child.   Four months later, we went in for our ultrasound at 20 weeks and were ecstatic to discover that we were having a girl.

Unfortunately, that moment was cut short when the OB also told us that our daughter had a terminal condition, Hydrops Fetalis.   We decided to have my labor induced.  Full story.

Samantha, United Kingdom

samanthaMarried mother of four daughters, including one with special needs.  Diabetic.  Manager of support group for families who have suffered the loss of a baby. Advocate for people with disabilities and mental illness. Volunteer fundraiser for local hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit. Newsletter columnist.

At only 19 weeks and 3 days gestation, my amniotic sac unexpectedly ruptured at home. I was rushed to the hospital, where I was informed that because I was under 24 weeks gestation, they would not intervene to try to stop my labor or save my baby. I was encouraged by the hospital staff to terminate, due to the risk of infection and threat to my own life. I refused.  An ultrasound revealed a very low level of amniotic fluid.  I was told that without substantial fluid, my baby’s lungs could not develop. I held out hope for a miracle. A subsequent ultrasound revealed no amniotic fluid at all. My miracle would never arrive.  Full story.

Grace, Michigan

GraceMarried mom of two children.  Writer.  Pearl Jam fan. Administrator of A Heartbreaking website and online support forums for women who terminate pregnancies for medical reasons.

The night in February of 2000, when we drove all the way to Detroit in a snowstorm to prepare for the ending of a planned pregnancy gone completely wrong, I told my husband we owed a huge debt of gratitude to the pro-choice movement. Although I had always been pro-choice, I was also careful about birth control, happily married and wanting children. I foolishly, perhaps arrogantly, presumed that I, personally, would never need an abortion. But when I did end up needing one, those rights were there for me.  Full story.

Julie, Maryland

JulieBI’m a mom to three, a psychologist that specializes in Reproductive  Health issues, a wife, and an upstanding member of my community.  I’ve  also had two abortions due to severe brain malformations.

I have always been pro-choice, but when I got married, thought I would never have an abortion. This feeling intensified after having my first child. Little did I know what the future held for me, and how grateful I am that I was able to exercise a choice when the most dire circumstances presented themselves. Full story.

Ayliea, Nevada

AylieaGraphic Artist/Web Designer. Married to the same wonderful man for 25 years. Mom to four fur-kids (three dogs and one cat).  Currently living in Central America. Managing Administrator for the A Heartbreaking Choice forums.  Devote much of my spare time to helping women who have made this difficult choice to deal with their grief by learning ways to cope with the grief and find joy in their lives again.

Due to infertility I thought I was unable to have kids of my own and helped raise my niece and nephew. At age 40, after going thorough treatment for endometriosis, I found out I was pregnant. Our baby was unexpected, but so very loved and wanted!  We had an amnio done because of my “advanced maternal age,” and found out that our daughter had Trisomy 21.  An ultrasound showed signs of digestive issues and congenital heart failure. We were told by three different doctors that the prognosis was not good, and that even if Lillie did make it to term  (which was unlikely in their opinions) she would need immediate heart and digestive surgery, not to mention that she would be mentally disabled. After speaking with our regular OB/GYN and consulting with a doctor at the hospital who was willing to perform a second trimester abortion, we went ahead and scheduled the termination.  Full story.

Christie, Virginia

Mom of three girls (two on earth and one in heaven).  Married for 20 years to a fiscal conservative. Raised Catholic.  Suburban, former stay-at-home mom.  Recreational runner. Coffee lover.  Novice gardener.  Advocate for reproductive choice. Former owner of pregnancy termination-related support boards on Editor of “Our Heartbreaking Choices.”

In 2003, I was joyously expecting my second baby.  The pregnancy progressed smoothly through the first five months.  As we went in for our routine anatomy scan at 20 weeks, we were prepared (and anxious) to find out the baby’s gender.  What we weren’t prepared for was to hear bad news.  After a high resolution ultrasound, my husband and I were told that our baby’s lungs weren’t developed, and due to extra organs in her chest, would never have a chance to develop.  We were faced with a choice–to carry our baby girl for another four months and watch her likely suffocate to death at birth, or to let her go early.  We heartbreakingly decided to end the pregnancy at 21 weeks gestation via an induced labor. I never, EVER thought I would need an abortion.  Full story.