Jaimi, 21, records a home video: "My secret regret is that I had an abortion when I was 20 years old. I'm 21 now. It's been a year since I had my abortion. I was with a guy for about eight months, and I had gotten pregnant. I didn't want to have the abortion. I should've listened to what I wanted, not what he wanted. He promised that we'd be OK, we'd work things out. He was sleeping with four other girls throughout the entire relationship too. I mean, the day before I had the abortion, he was sleeping at some other girl's house.
"I've been able to, not get over it, but somewhat cope with what I did. I haven't been able to put my regret behind me necessarily. I still think about it every single day, though it has gotten easier as the days go by. It wasn't the right decision for me, and to this day, I still cannot get over that. If I could take it back, I would."
Dr. Phil speaks with Jaimi. "Let's just deal with reality and get right to it: You cannot undo that decision. You get that. No matter how much you wish you had a second chance to do that, that is an event that has happened. You can't undo it. It was an extremely confusing time for you, correct?"
"Yeah," she says.
"You were pregnant. You were in the middle of a break-up."
"We were together while I was, but he wasn't all there. I felt like I had no one to turn to at all," Jaimi says.
"Whose decision was it?" Dr. Phil asks.
"In the end, it was mine. I still had to make the conscious decision to do it, but I was scared that he would leave me," she says.
[AD]"So, you did it to hang onto him in part?"
"In a sense, yeah."
The day Jaimi had the procedure done, her boyfriend showed up hung over and fell asleep in the clinic. Jaimi says she no longer has a relationship with that man.
"So, he left anyway."
"Yeah. I felt like I lost the child that I did want. I thought that things were going to get better, and then I lose him a month and a half later. My whole world just fell apart right before me, and I didn't know what to do. It's been a long year and a half," Jaimi says.
"Here's what we know: We know that you made a choice between having this child and keeping your boyfriend. You decided to do what you thought would keep your boyfriend and that didn't work out," Dr. Phil says. "And I'm not here to discuss your decision. You made it, and I hope you forgive yourself if you need to. I hope you really think about that. I hope you give yourself that freedom to do better in the future. You get that that was a very immature and naïve decision, right? You say that you still miss him?"
"I don't know what it is. I don't know why, after the way her treated me. I feel like I shouldn't, but â€¦" Jaimi says she now has a wonderful, supportive boyfriend, but she still misses her ex.
"Here's his résumé: He got your pregnant, influenced you to terminate the pregnancy, showed up hung over, falls asleep, and in the midst of all this, he cheated on you. That's the résumé of the guy you just really miss, so much that it interferes with your current relationship," Dr. Phil says.
Jaimi says she's having a hard time trusting her new boyfriend, even though he's terrific.
"You're not mourning the loss of this guy; you're mourning the loss of who you wish this guy had been," Dr. Phil tells her. "I see it all the time. Sometimes people get divorced, and they get away from each other, and then they start missing the other person, because they have selective memories. They think about all the good times, and how much fun they had on their honeymoon, and that time down in Cabo, and so then they drift back together, and two days into the reuniting, they go, â€˜Oh, yeah, I remember why I hate everything you stand for. I just forgot about that when you weren't there to remind me every minute of every day.' That's kind of what's going on here. You think back to what you wish this guy was. That's selective memory. And that's part of the immaturity that affecting your problem-solving skills." Dr. Phil tells her there were warning signs that this guy was not the one for her.
[AD]Jaimi agrees but says she just didn't notice them.
Dr. Phil tells Jaimi she can close that chapter of pain in her life by finding the minimal effective response " the smallest thing she can do that allows her to get emotional closure. Perhaps she can speak to young girls who are facing that same decision, or maybe she can write about it, or maybe she can get trained for a crisis hotline for girls who need help " whatever would work for her to say, "You know what? I learned from that, and I did what I could."
Dr. Phil warns her, "He's not going to become who you wish he had been " which is OK, because you're not who you were then either." Dr. Phil offers her resources to help her find out what she can do to help her move forward.
[AD]Kevin Hansen is the creator of SecretRegrets.com and author of the book, Secret Regrets. He wanted to create a safe place for people to unburden themselves. He says the website had helped save lives by giving people an outlet for their pain. "We've stopped suicides, we've prevented affairs, we've convinced people to go and get help for their addictions. It's been an amazing experience to be able to help people like this," he says.
Get your copy of the book here! A portion of the proceeds goes to ReachOut.com, an online support resource for people who feel they have nowhere to turn.