The courageous Victoria Coons. Mother of four. A baby lost during pregnancy in 2007, Nolan (7), Luca (3), and Rory (1 - pictured)
Victoria's first pregnancy resulted in a loss that has been devastating and she still struggles with sharing the story. When she was 18, she and her then boyfriend (now husband) became pregnant. When she told him, he was angry and insisted the only option was to get an abortion. She wanted to keep the baby, but begged him to at least consider adoption. Victoria secretly went to a free women's clinic for ultrasounds and check ups and says that nothing made her happier than hearing her baby's heartbeat and seeing him dance around on that little screen. She continued to beg her boyfriend to let her keep the baby but he wouldn't listen and she was terrified of what would happen, so she went to an abortion clinic.
Once there, Victoria says that her heart fell into her stomach and she knew that she could never let anyone hurt her baby. Still, she wasn't able to speak up until she walked back into the room and began telling the person that this wasn't the right choice for her. She told them, it wasn't what she wanted and she had made a mistake. She says that she thought that was it, she was going to walk out of there with her baby and raise him on her own but she was wrong. A woman burst through the door and said "You're seriously not done yet? Have you seen the waiting room?"
Things moved quickly after this she says, "I felt my throat silenced and closing as if I was in a nightmare. They pushed me back against the table and began strapping me down. I started screaming, "No, please, stop. Please don't do this. Please don't hurt my baby." To which that same woman replied "it's too late, you already signed the papers." I had chosen to be put to sleep, but they were in a rush so they started with me fully awake. I honestly don't think I've ever screamed so loud in my entire life. I kicked as hard as I could and I never gave up fighting them until the medicine eventually filled my veins and I woke up empty."
Victoria walked away thinking she didn't have any rights and it wasn't until they became pregnant again a year later when her OB, after hearing the story, said "I hope you reported them", that she realized that what they had done was wrong. She'd always blamed herself for her first son's death and says that she still feels like she is to blame, but is slowly understanding that her baby was stolen from her. Victoria says that she made a mistake that she will regret for the rest of her life by walking into that building, but they took her baby against her will, far past the legal cut off date in her state to do so.
While Victoria went on to have healthy pregnancies and births her experiences have all been colored by her loss. She chose to participate in this movement and share her story in hopes that any woman who finds herself in a similar situation can also find hope. "If there is a woman pregnant and unsupported, I hope this story will empower her and show her that she CAN be an amazing mother-even if that means she does it without a partner. If there is a woman who has been abused in a similar situation, that she will have the courage to speak up. That even though she feels at fault, that she will love herself enough to realize that her rights are still important and to be respected. That if there is a woman who looks down upon another woman when she learns that she's had an abortion, I hope she softens her heart. That instead of offering her judgement and harsh words, she offers her grace and love realizing there may be far more to the story than she'll ever know. I have hated myself for so long, but I realized that I don't have to continually punish myself from my mistakes. I can grow from them. I can use them as a tool not only for myself, but for others."