March 27, 2009
By the time that I walked into the operating room, the drug that they gave me to numb my feelings had started to take affect but I was still startled by the blood on the floor and in the trash can next to the table. I hesitated, and they told me firmly to get on the table. Their tone was different than the friendly assistant that provided the paperwork for me to sign and the pills for me to take in the reception area. I got on the table and a woman came over to hold my hand and I was comforted by her presence. But when the pain starts and I begin to moan, she squeezed my hand very hard and told me to “shut up!” The doctor told her to keep me quiet because others were waiting in line on the other side of the wall.
When it was over, I went back to the nicely decorated waiting room. I cried by myself and aside from a brief comment from a staff member, no one comforted me. They had me wait for a little while and then took me out to my waiting boyfriend. I continued to cry and he hugged me and we began the walk to the subway in Boston and took the long train ride back home. The train ride jarred and shook me and intensified the pain. I wondered if people on the train could tell what I just did.
“It’s just tissue.” they said. “Not a baby. You will feel better when it is all over.” In reality, the suffering had just begun. I could not have fathomed the depth of the heartache and grief that would engulf my life. This was my second abortion. The first came from being molested by my uncle, and it would not be my last. My life had begun a downward spiral, with one bad choice leading to another. I couldn’t seem to escape from the vicious cycle I had inherited from my family, though I yearned desperately to. My boyfriend and I parted ways. Though we loved each other, the specter of our babies loomed between us and eventually drove us apart.
I hardened myself and pushed down the grief and pain. Wasn’t that you are supposed to do? “Fix” the problem and move on with your life and forget the life of your children? I had no place to leave the pain and so it found its home deep within my soul and I barred it from ever showing its ugly head.
I went on to marry a flawed, but good, man and we began our life together. I was a woman who was absolutely broken inside and frantic for a new way of life. Married life was not easy. I carried the baggage with me into the relationship. I was anxious to have a child, as is often the case when a woman has had an abortion. The physical, emotional and spiritual longing for a child became very powerful. It was while I was pregnant with my oldest daughter that I surrendered my life to my Savior. I believe He knew that by revealing Himself to me while I was with child, that I would begin to receive His love and forgiveness and understand how great His love for me is.
The trouble was that, although I had accepted His love and His forgiveness, I did not allow myself to grieve nor did I forgive myself. While other aspects of my heart healed…my shame about the abortions actually worsened over time. It seemed that the more the Holy Spirit revealed God to me, the more I was devastated to realize how horrible what I had done was. I kept the shame and secret locked deep inside and tried to go on with my life but I struggled with depression, feelings of despair and trouble in relationships. I would lay the secret at His feet only to somehow find I was carrying it again.
Many years later I began working as a Community Outreach Director at a crisis pregnancy center. As I spoke to churches and counseled woman in unplanned pregnancies I had to come face to face… daily… with my shame and my secret. Then finally, the Lord showed me that, although I had truly asked Him into my life and sincerely set about to know Him and His ways, I had unknowingly set this sin apart as too shameful and too horrible for Him to handle. Not everyone needs to profess out loud the sins that they have committed, but by doing to so… to my family and people the Lord brought my way… I was able to at last release it to Him and truly begin to heal, some twenty years later. I then went through the stages of mourning and allowed myself to grieve the babies that I had lost.
I am not alone. Just one abortion is enough to sink your future into the muck of depression, addictions and relationship difficulties. Countless Christ-centered, God fearing women carry around the shame and the secret of abortion. They serve in ministries, they love their families, they do their jobs and they silently suffer, thinking that if no one knows they will be able to just “move on.” Women’s hearts long for the healing process but they sometimes fear condemnation if their secret is exposed. They may not say it out loud but deep inside they wonder if what they did was too awful for even Jesus and they fear the loss of loved ones.
As for me, I continue even now to move through the stages of healing. The birth of my grandson revived intense feelings of loss. Each time I looked into his precious face I mourned anew. But the difference now is that, I not only lay it at my Savior’s Feet, I jump up into the shelter if His lap and soak in the love and healing that only He can bring.
Abortion Recovery Resources:
- Aloha Pregnancy Care and Counseling Center,808.234.SAFE, AlohaPregnancySolutions.com/support.htm
- Hope Alive Hawaii, 808.381.3805, HopeAlive-Hawaii.com
- Abortion Recovery InterNational, 1.866.4MYRECOVERY, AbortionRecoveryInterNational.org
- Elliot Institute, AfterAbortion.org and UnChoice.info
- Rachel's Vineyard, 1.877.HOPE4ME, RachelsVineyard.org
- Silent No More Awareness Campaign, SilentNoreMoreAwareness.org