My fiancé and I just purchased a new home and we were planning our wedding when I discovered I was pregnant in January 1997. My future husband was adamant about not having anymore children (he had 2 boys from this first marriage). He would leave, if I chose to have this child. If I wanted him in my life, I had one choice, to have an abortion.
The abortion was scheduled for shortly after my 30th birthday. My fiancé had a party for me, with all my friends. Everyone thought I was having a great time, laughing, enjoying my birthday, but I was devastated. I didn’t want to have the abortion. I knew it was wrong, but I felt powerless, backed into a corner with no other choice.
When I went in for the abortion, I was told my baby was “just tissue” and that “it was a simple procedure that would be over soon and then everything would be fine.” It was a horrifying experience. I felt that my insides were being ripped apart by the suction machine. The physical pain of the abortion was nothing compared to the emotional pain that I suffered afterward. Afterward, I told myself that I needed to block the experience from my mind, that I had to go back to “normal,” whatever “normal” was suppose to be.
I did my best to move on, but couldn’t. The abortion didn’t solve anything, it just created more problems. I felt paralyzed. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t believe that I was selfish enough to kill my child. I had horrible nightmares. The guilt and shame were overwhelming. I knew I was going to Hell and God would never forgive me. I was changed forever when I had the abortion. The self loathing consumed me. The years passed by without God in my life at all. I felt remorse, anger toward my husband, despair, extreme shame and self hatred. I felt trapped.
I tried to go to church on several occasions. I would go for a few weeks and then quit. I didn’t feel worthy to even be in the building. The pattern of going to church and stopping continued for years. I knew I didn’t belong, but passed it off as it was the Catholic Church that had issues, not me. I continued to lie to myself, convinced myself that I was right and the Church’s position on abortion, contraceptives, etc. was wrong. It was the only way I could rationalize my actions. It took me years to realize that I couldn’t continue this way; that I was spiraling.
I walked into a local Catholic Church in April of 2005. It was Divine Mercy Sunday (I didn’t realize what that was at the time). When the priest talked about the infinite mercy of Jesus Christ, I completely broke down and cried throughout the entire Mass. I realized that I was lost and needed God in my life. It took me several months to work up the courage to seek out spiritual direction. I started meeting with a priest to talk about my issues with the church. We talked about the church’s position on contraceptives, women not allowed to be ordained to the priesthood, predestination etc. We talked about everything, except the abortion. I cloaked myself in such denial, that it wasn’t even on my radar as a possible reason for my issues with the church.
God was slowly chipping away at my anger and defensiveness through this wonderful priest. The support, patience and guidance of this man amazed me. He saved my life. I continued to go to Mass, pray and I had a holy hour every week of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Eucharistic adoration changed my life. The graces I received during this holy hour were amazing. God opened my eyes and gave me the strength to confront my sins, to admit that I needed to be healed and admit that I needed God in my life. I now realize that the Catholic Church will never turn its back on women like me.
I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for post abortive women in December of 2006. I was terrified. Although it was a very painful process, attending the retreat was the greatest gift.
The compassion of the people involved in this ministry amazed me.
I had a definitive moment, where I let go of all my anger toward my husband, my self-hatred and I turned my entire life over to God. I accepted God’s great grace and mercy and let Him into my life. Through His love, I am completely changed. There is nothing in the world that compares to the love and forgiveness that God blesses us with every day. It is only through Him that we can be set free.
The evil one wants us to remain silent and trapped, that’s why it’s so important to speak up and reach out to others; to let them know they too can heal and bring others to Christ.
Women who have had abortions are not uncaring monsters. I had my abortion because I was afraid. I am no longer bound by fear. I am free and I am silent no more.