Tanya’s Story: The Truth about Post-Abortion Regret

According to the American Journal of Public Health, one in four American women are likely to have an abortion in their lifetime by the age of 45. That could be your daughter, your mother, your sister, your friend, your coworker, or even you. Tanya Humphreys has lived in Minot for most of her life, is a mother of three beautiful daughters and one amazing granddaughter, loves her family and her dogs, and is the 1 in 4. Most women are not upfront or transparent about the abortions they have experienced. This can be due to many reasons, including shame, guilt, and their reputation. But a deeper and darker reason can exist for why, and Tanya is trying her best to prevent other women from experiencing this as well: Post-abortion regret



An Initial Shock

It was 1994, and Tanya was a young and vibrant 21 year-old living in the small town of Red Wing, Minnesota with her boyfriend. Then one day she found out she was pregnant. Her coworkers noticed shortly after she did, as they could see a radiant glow in her countenance. But when she finally told her boyfriend, he was extremely upset. He gave her a clear ultimatum: either stay with him after she gets an abortion, or become a single mom. Tanya decided to then call her father for advice, because she was afraid of how her mother might react. He told her to call them both together later that night and explain the situation. So at 9:18 pm, as recorded in her mother’s diary, Tanya called her parents and shared the news: she was pregnant. But instead of the support she so desperately craved, she was informed that no family assistance would be available to her. Her mother told her “now is the time to get rid of it.” Her parents stated that since she could barely take care of herself, there was no way she would be able to take care of a child as a single mother. 


Tanya relayed the news to her boyfriend the following day, and he scheduled her for an abortion at a nearby clinic. Despite pleading with him, he reminded her that there was no way he would stay with her if she gave birth to their child. Each night after that, she called her parents, hoping and pleading to hear them say she did not have to go through with it. On the night before her scheduled appointment, she even sent her mother flowers, hoping this would soften her heart. 



The Unforgettable Morning

It was March 3, 1994 in the cold town of Red Wing. “That day will be etched in my mind forever,” Tanya recalls. Her boyfriend determinedly drove then accompanied her to the sterile brick building for the procedure. Tanya began to sign the intake paperwork as her boyfriend’s presence loomed over her. She was then swiftly whisked back to the procedure room. She did not receive any preoperative counseling nor did she receive an ultrasound to confirm the age or viability of her baby. As she placed her feet on the stirrups, she remembers blacking out, and she woke up as she was being driven home again by her boyfriend. She recalls experiencing a lot of cramping on the way home, but soon her physical pain would be the least of her worries.


“That night my mom said in her diary: I sure hope [Tanya] did this because it was what she wanted to do and not what we wanted her to do.” But it was never what she wanted to do. Tanya had gone through with an abortion, one that she never wanted in the first place, and her life would be forever changed. However it took her many years to realize the toll the abortion truly had on her life.



Growing Consequences

After the procedure, Tanya recalls immediately feeling like “such a different person.” Because she felt like she was not allowed to mourn, she had to put on an act that she was fine, even though she knew she wasn’t. Due to this heavy burden, she suffered numerous negative effects. “I gained a ton of weight, became depressed, became angry, and it really changed my whole life,” she admitted.


“All of the people at my work already knew I was pregnant because I had a real sparkle in my eyes,” Tanya continued. Her abortion was scheduled on a Thursday, and she was off that following weekend. When she came back to work the next Monday, her coworkers noticed the sparkle she once shone was extinguished. Scared for what they may think, Tanya informed her coworkers that she suffered a miscarriage. For the rest of her life, she refused to admit to anyone that she had an abortion. Even during her three subsequent pregnancies, she refused to acknowledge or admit the procedure. 


Tanya even wonders if her abortion had an effect on the way she connected with her husband. They eventually separated and later divorced, and she contemplates if she was ever even attached to him at all. “I never really knew what love was,” she admitted. 



A Seed of Hope

Tanya continued suffering greatly many years after her abortion occurred. “I was very depressed and very angry,” she recalled. Her emotions were always ready to boil over at any split second. Many of her unhealthy behaviors were due to the emotions she refused to acknowledge.


About a decade ago, Tanya attended one of Dakota Hope Clinic’s annual banquets after being invited by one of her friends. During the banquet, the main speaker discussed abortion and its effects long after the procedure takes place. “I cried through the whole banquet,” Tanya remembered. The speaker was lecturing truthfully about abortion, she recalls, but in her mind it felt like a personal attack. “When you are not healed, everything feels negative.” The abortion was designed to harm her baby, but it was continuing to harm her, years and years later. 


Tanya’s husband urged her to attend Discover Peace, the post-abortive recovery class offered at Dakota Hope Clinic, but she could not bring herself to attend. She continued to see ads about the class everywhere she went, and she eventually mustered the courage to attend the following spring session. When she attended the class the first day, Tanya’s instructor stated to her that she was “the angriest person she’d ever met.” Despite her negative emotions boiling over, she continued to attend the class. And one day, about half way into the 8 week course, Tanya noticed that she was slowly beginning to heal. “I just felt like a thousand pounds was lifted off me,” she recalled. The crucial key in her healing was realizing that Jesus had died for her sins. Through the grace of God, she was able to give herself grace for her past mistake. 



The Start of a New Chapter

After 22 years, she was able to forgive herself and her boyfriend for their choice. Yet she was always quick to forgive her parents. Looking back at her mom’s diary entry stating “now is the time to get rid of it,” Tanya does not believe her mother realized her baby was a baby at that time. She knew that in her mother’s time there was still questioning on when life actually began, and when the fertilized egg actually became a baby. Tanya does not believe her mother would have been so supportive of abortion if she was more informed. 


For a long time even Tanya was not informed on the scientific realities of life. “After I had my abortion and would go by signs that say ‘abortion stops a beating heart,’ I would say ‘No they do not,’ but once I got healed I would see that, and I would say ‘Yes it does.’” That is one of the first steps of the Discover Peace class: sitting down and facing the true consequences of abortion. “You have to realize what you have done,” she declared. She recalled that cold day in 1994 in the abortion clinic. She was intentionally left in the dark, not given any education, paperwork, or truths. “They want you to know it is okay to do this and okay to get rid of the baby. It is not okay.” After acknowledging the truth and gravity of the situation, she was then led through the process of mourning her baby, who today would have been 30 years old. 



Working the Soil

Once Tanya herself began to heal, she was determined to help others heal along with her. She made sure her three daughters knew about her story so they could avoid experiencing the same thing. “They know all of it,” Tanya recalls. When she first began teaching the class at Dakota Hope Clinic on Monday nights, she let them know where she would be and why. “My oldest and youngest daughters felt really bad for me that I went through it,” she confessed. However, her middle daughter was so distraught about the abortion and how it resulted in the death of her 3rd sibling. Through her daughter’s grieving, on the last Monday night of a Discover Peace session, Tanya came home and found a picture she had drawn for her mother. “It said she forgives me. I needed that so much.”  


Tanya’s middle daughter ended up finding out she was pregnant at the age of 21 as well, just last year. Despite knowing her mother’s stance on the sanctity of life, she was scared to admit the truth. But Tanya was convinced to help her daughter in the way she wished she herself received help, and now she has a beautiful granddaughter who will be turning 1 later this month.



Loose Ends

Unfortunately, Tanya has not been able to reach out to her ex-boyfriend to fully close that chapter of her story. They lost contact with each other after he moved around a few times, and he eventually blocked her on all social media platforms. Tanya once even tried sending him a letter letting him know about her personal healing journey and how she now spends her time helping others heal. “I wonder if he thinks about it. I wonder how it affected him in the long run,” she questioned. But most importantly, she wants him to know that she truly does forgive him. “I didn’t think about how [abortion] affected the men until I took the class.” She recalls being so stuck in her own emotions and anger that she didn’t realize that the same thing could have been happening to him. 



Way Forward

Tanya is now a Discover Peace facilitator at Dakota Hope Clinic, and she was a volunteer for many years before this. Because of her experience being on both sides of the abortion issue, she has a unique perspective and interest to address each side of the fence. 


“I wish people understood that not everyone chooses to have an abortion.” She recalls the tremendous pressure she faced from her boyfriend and family, and how it made her feel like she had no other option. Even for the people that do willingly choose to have abortions, she implored the need for grace. “Like God provides us with grace and mercy, we should do the same for others.” 


A huge thing Tanya wants people supportive of abortion, especially in cases of rape and incest, to know, is that adding trauma to an already pre-existing trauma will only multiply the previous trauma. And not only is abortion traumatic, but it is almost always preventable


And for those who want to decrease abortion rates, it is important to be intentional about their marketing and outreach. “After I had the abortion, I didn’t want anything to do with children.” Once she received healing, this changed completely. But until then, it was a big barrier for her that we must be conscious about. 


Above all, Tanya wants people to know that abortion is marketed as a quick fix, but it never actually is. Although it can be quick, abortion is always a permanent decision that cannot be undone. And it’s never a “fix” but the creation of a bigger problem. For those who want to end abortion, it is important to know that all decisions to have an abortion come from a deeper place and a deeper issue. We cannot expect to fix abortion alone when the root of the problem is so much deeper. “When you have an abortion as a root of their problem, if they have a tree it’s as if the roots are not healthy,” Tanya explains. She believes in the holistic approach to abortion prevention and eradication. As a result, she wants all people, but especially pro-life individuals, to be careful about their words. “People don’t realize how their words hurt, especially on social media. It doesn’t seem to affect you because you are not there to see people’s faces and how badly they are getting hurt.” She reports how counterintuitive it is to try to help someone through abortion, an already painful experience, through eliciting even more fear, sadness, and pain. “We need to have grace for people. We need to be more kind in our words. We need to think about how these people are feeling. We are not going to get people to be healed if they cannot look forward.”



Regret or Reflect

One thing that is always on Tanya’s mind is if she would go back in time and prevent her abortion if she could. The answer is more tricky than one would think. While she wishes she had never gone through with the abortion, she is unsure how the trajectory of her life would have played out if it did not occur. She recalls meeting her husband three months after the abortion, and then raising three beautiful daughters together. She also does not know if she would be as pro-life as she is now, and she definitely would not be teaching Discover Peace classes if she didn’t experience the peace she is trying to help others receive. Tanya is proud of how God transformed her life through a terrible event, and how she is able to help and assist others with similar issues.


Tanya also recalls the few scenarios in which she would have refused to have the abortion. She was so desperate for someone to support her back then. “If one person would have said to me: you can do this, you don’t need to do it, I can help you, I am here for you, you don’t have to do this Tanya, that’s all I was looking for.” Sometimes just knowing the support is there can help a woman who is stuck in crisis mode from making a permanent mistake. 


Tanya is convinced that if the abortion laws were more strict back then, she likely would not have had the abortion either. She was living in Minnesota, and they do not have very strict abortion laws. She does not believe she would have traveled very far to get an abortion if a clinic was not very close to where she lived. She also does not believe she would have had the abortion if there were consequences for the woman. “If it would have been where you were a criminal or charges were pressed against you, I know my parents would not have wanted that.” She knows they were just worried about her future, and any type of legal consequence would have been too much to deal with. She would have been comfortable with adoption if needed, and she thinks her parents would have been too. 



Way Forward

Tanya desperately wants people to know the truth of abortion and the healing that can be obtained for those who need it. “My mission now is to help save women from the misery that they go through after abortion, and to help young kids realize that abortion is not a good option.” The healing first must come from God and by forgiving themselves. After that, support groups and classes such as Discover Peace can greatly help. Counseling is also important, and it would be especially helpful to find a counselor who is proficient in post-abortive healing. 


If you or someone you know may be dealing with post-abortion regret, you may benefit from Discover Peace classes, guided by the amazing Tanya. It is an 8 week-long course with classes taught once a week. Attendees start by memorializing the life lost and talking through their grief, which may be the first time for many of these women. “We go over anger, depression, fear of people finding out,” Tanya states. “Every aspect of the abortion involving shame and guilt is discussed.” Tanya continues to learn and grow every time she teaches the course. And while some women can take the class once and experience healing, there are a few women that do take the course over again which is absolutely fine. That’s why Tanya would eventually like to set up a general safe and confidential meeting place for women not as formal as the class setting. “I would almost like to start a support group kinda like AA, but Abortion Anonymous where women can just come in on a weekly basis and have a group of women who want to talk about it,” she hoped. 



We Can Help

To the 1 in 4 women who have had an abortion in America, please know you are not alone. Tanya experienced radical healing after over two decades of torment and struggle, and we believe you all can experience the same. If you would like to discover peace after abortion, please reach out to Dakota Hope Clinic or directly to Tanya through our website. We all would be more than happy to help. And if you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 


  1. Jones, R. K., & Jerman, J. (2022). Population Group abortion rates and lifetime incidence of abortion: United States, 2008–2014. American Journal of Public Health, 112(9), 1284–1296. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2017.304042
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