By Laura Anne MacKay: Murderer.

That’s what some people would call me.

After years of living in fear, years of having to be the strong one – I would soon be free. My ticket to freedom was a place at university in another city. I’d fought hard to have that opportunity. I’d stayed in school. I had studied diligently. I had overcome the obstacles in my way to get where I wanted to be.

And then the stick turned pink. Suddenly I found myself aged 17 and pregnant.

I still remember crying in the doctor’s office waiting to hear what my options were “It’s your own stupid fault” he told me, thrusting a piece of paper describing procedures for terminating a pregnancy.

What I needed was someone to listen. Instead I received judgment.

I listened to my head and not my heart. My heart ached to be a mother. My head said ‘You don’t want to be known as the straight A student who ruined her life because of some silly mistake.’

I sacrificed my first child so that I could gain freedom.

Only I wasn’t free. I was burdened by a guilty secret that I didn’t want anyone to know about.  That kind of sacrifice leaves scars that can’t be seen. It was scarring me on the inside -- not being able to grieve a loss that you have chosen.

16th January 2002. That is the day my daughter was due to be born into this world.

8th February 2002. That is the day I discovered God and asked if He would please take the bad stuff that had happened in my life and to use it to help others.

He did.

These days you’ll find me counselling people through unplanned pregnancy, supporting people grieving after all kinds of pregnancy losses – whether they were chosen or not. I teach sex education in schools. And the secret is out. I have a child in heaven, and her name is Sophie. She gave me wisdom and compassion.

Second chances are there to bring good out of the first chance – no matter how badly you might have messed it up.

What's your second chance story?