Growing up in poverty, in an abusive family in Guatemala, Dalia wasn’t ready for a relationship when she met the father of her children. After emigrating to California, she first saw Ernesto Iniguez, who lived next door to her apartment, when she was in high school. Dalia thought he was “so handsome,” and they fell in love.
She was just 14 years old, and he was 16.
Without a lot of money or guidance, the teen couple hit many stumbling blocks in their relationship, which, down the road, led to an unwanted pregnancy. Surrounded by people who didn’t think abortion was that big of a deal, Dalia had two of them—her second was particularly traumatizing.
She now wants to tell her story to the world so others won’t have to endure the same pain.
Dalia was just 15 and still in high school when she became pregnant for the first time. After marrying Ernesto, by the age of 19, they’d already had three kids. Her husband, who was raised to be a “macho Mexicano,” was the only one working at the time. “It was a really hard time not just monetarily but in a relationship, because we were so young and coming from a broken household with a lot of issues,” Dalia told The Epoch Times.
The couple fought, while Ernesto turned to drugs, seeking escape. “We had a lot of problems, a lot of issues … that was my excuse why I needed to keep doing the drugs—because when I was high I didn’t care,” the father told Live Action.
When Dalia became pregnant for a fourth time, at age 27, they were doubtful and she tabled the idea of getting an abortion. “I immediately said ‘I don’t want to have another baby,’” she recalled. “Being so poor, that I didn’t want my kids to ever be on that position.”
She recalled her husband saying something like, “Oh, do whatever you want to do.”
“And so I guess I didn’t have the people around me to guide me,” she added. “Everyone that I told, my family members, they all said, ‘Oh, well, if that’s what you want to do, then just do it.’”
Dalia’s first procedure was a surgical abortion. It did not make that strong of an impression on her as she was anesthetized at the Planned Parenthood clinic where she went to in California.
When she woke up it was done.
Life went on.
Yet, the couple’s problems continued; they were still poor and raising three children; Ernesto continued using drugs to numb the pain. Dalia wasn’t without her regrets.
When she became pregnant again, she took it as a sign of forgiveness from God—at first. But when the couple got into a bad fight, her tone changed. “He was mad, he told me, ‘Oh, you already had an abortion. Why don’t you have another one?'” she recalled. “Those words [got me] so angry. And I remembered that I cried all that night.”
Angry and uncertain, Dalia went ahead and called the Planned Parenthood clinic. Then, they were starting to use abortion pills, and she would not have the same procedure as before; Dalia would experience abortion in a way that would haunt her for the rest of her life.
She downed the pills at home.
“And within 12 hours … I started getting like really bad cramps, like I was [in] labor,” she told The Epoch Times. “And I started getting [a] really high fever. And I went to the bathroom.” Dalia was horrified when she saw her lifeless baby in the bathroom in her home. “I could see the little legs, arms. And I didn’t know what to do. So I flushed the toilet,” she said.
Dalia said that she will never forget what she saw. For 17 years, she would be unable to speak about it. “I told God I would never do that again,” she said, still living with the image of her baby in her mind every day.
“I felt so guilty,” Ernesto said. “I asked myself ‘why did you let this happen again? You’re not a real man to support your family.’”
Years passed. Dalia had a revelation.
She became pregnant again.
This time, although her husband was “worse than before,” and the pregnancy really difficult, the mother fought for her baby’s life. Every time she went to the doctor, there was a problem. “The baby was born at 35 weeks,” said Dalia, “So she was like five weeks early. But she was healthy. And I think that’s the moment when, after all of this happened, … [we] started changing our life.”
To her amazement, a few years after the baby’s birth, Ernesto quit using drugs for good—just like night and day. “It was a miracle,” said the mother. “I used to see him with a human’s eye. I said, ‘Oh, he will never change. He will die like this.’” Her husband even told her that the Virgin Mary came to him in a dream, told him to quit, and healed him.
Recalling her painful journey, Dalia says how things might have been different.
“I believe that if I had had people around me to help me find the help I needed, things would have been different, but nobody gave me the right guidance [to choose life for my child],” she told Live Action. She believes she and Ernesto could have made things work for the lives of their lost children, as they’d done for their youngest despite their difficulties.
The couple, still healing, started an organization advocating for life. Dalia shares her message that help is available for those in need, and reveals her painful experience of having her abortions.
Meanwhile, Ernesto shares a message for men contemplating abortion: “I would tell that guy not to do that. I would explain to him what’s going on. We think [a baby] would be bad for our life, an obstacle. But a kid is a blessing from God. We need to find a solution [to the difficult life circumstances], but abortion is not the solution.”