I had an abortion because I thought it would be an easy fix. If that sounds like a cop out, it probably is. It was legal, practically free, and I thought, at the time, easy.
I had just left my abusive husband, enrolled in college, and started doing stand-up comedy. I was finally taking charge of my life after marrying young and expecting babies which never came. It was not surprising considering the drug use and abuse I had suffered at the hands of my ex-husband. His parting words to me were “the first guy that comes along is gonna knock you up.” And that's exactly what happened, except that there were two potential fathers. This was not the predicament a nice ex-Catholic girl expects to end up in. I never thought I would be one of those girls who didn't even know who the father of her child was without the help of a paternity test. And at the time I wasn't even legally divorced yet!
I never even considered the fact that I could be pregnant. I was at the hospital for what I thought were unrelated female problems. I would get very chronic yeast infections that would alternate with severe bladder infections. Sometimes they would catch up to each other and I would have a yeast infection, bladder infection, and hemorrhoids. And if I got my period I would be bed ridden. This time it was a yeast infection, urinary tract infection, hemorrhoids, and, instead of my period, pregnancy. It was just a routine test that came back positive but it changed everything. "Turns out you are pregnant," said the doctor. These five words are supposed to be received with a completely different heart. I was devastated! I didn't want to be responsible for this at all! I wanted 'it' out of me as soon as possible. But it wasn't possible. They told me that I would have to wait until I was at least eight weeks before they would perform an abortion procedure because they “wanted to make sure that there was enough fetal tissue to successfully remove it.” So I endured the next few weeks as best I could. I was high as a kite. I kept a black journal of my darkest feelings.
A quick abortion later and I was back on top. I was doing great in school with a 4.0 GPA and doing great performing on the club circuit, until I met a great guy after a show of mine one night, not much later. We were very compatible and he was so much kinder and intelligent than most other men I'd met. But how could I be so stupid to get pregnant again so quickly after what I'd just gone through? In fact, I would've still been pregnant with my first pregnancy if I'd elected to keep it! I was so ashamed of myself but intrigued at the same time. I thought God must have wanted me pregnant for whatever reason. But my boyfriend didn't want anything to do with parenthood, especially because we'd just met! He was the child of a nasty divorce and didn't want to even get married! I'd blown it again!! What was I going to do?
Well, since the other abortion had been 'so easy,' I let my boyfriend convince me that another abortion was the answer, except it took more convincing this time. The first procedure I had done, I elected to go through awake. I thought it would 'teach me a lesson.' It was so painful I couldn't imagine enduring that again. But this boyfriend was smart and rich. He knew places and had money to do things I couldn't afford on my own. I secretly hoped he'd change his mind and so I waited. I wanted to keep the baby I think! I had secret inner talks with the baby. We went to Disneyland at Christmas time. It was magical.
One morning before work, I passed a large clot. I'd never been so pregnant and didn't have any cramping or know any better, so I thought I'd lost it. I finished getting ready for work and went. A short while later at work, I was overcome with dizziness and nearly passed out. They called my boyfriend who took me to the hospital. I saw my little baby on the sonogram monitor. She looked like a tiny, crooked bow! After determining that I was in fact still pregnant, the doctor assured me that I could carry on a natural and healthy pregnancy and birth. I saw my boyfriend’s expensive shoes and the hem of his tweed overcoat under the privacy drape, so I mentioned that I was thinking about having an abortion. He said I could do that too, if I so chose, because it was my prerogative. But there was no reason I couldn't have a healthy child, if I wanted. I did, but I also knew that my boyfriend didn't.
I wanted my children to be wanted by both parents! I wanted to be happy about being pregnant the whole time I was pregnant! No child should be born under those circumstances, I thought. Every child deserved to be born to two parents that loved them, and not be some product of rape or lust or a one-night stand. Right? I thought so. I wanted to be filled with excitement not dread and woe. I wanted what everyone else wants: for their kids to be born in wedlock to parents that love them.
I always knew that babies came from other random places because my older brother was adopted into our family one month before I was conceived. My mother always told us that she chose him when his own mother couldn't take care of him. That made him 'special.' Then there was me—second child but first-born in my family. I was just 'the other baby.’ I never got the attention that I always felt in the back of my mind belonged to me. Those are separate issues altogether, but they have still affected my thinking about situations throughout my life. I didn't think that I would be capable of handing over my newborn after enduring labor and delivery. I thought it would be better if I never knew the babies. God, how could I have been so wrong? Not knowing who they were haunts me every day that goes by. And hey, I got pregnant so easily, I assumed it would be a breeze the next time! Anytime I wanted to have kids, I would just get pregnant again, right? No problem!
After the second abortion I moved to San Francisco to attend design school and live with my rich, smart boyfriend. He made a great life for me in the city that I loved so much. Life was good for about five years. Then his anti-commitment arrived and I was out the door. I was okay on my own for a while. Then it seemed like the city I loved had turned on me. I lost my job, my roommate beat me up after a fight about my lack of rent, and I couldn't even score dope without it getting stolen out of my hand from another street person! I was considering table dancing for money, but in San Francisco it's all nude and I couldn't bring myself to do it. Thank God it wasn't just topless because I cannot say for certain what would've happened to me. I'm sure that the city I loved would've eaten me alive rather than just spit me out, as is what happened.
After being through all of that my address book was stolen, severing any and all connections I had made in the industry, however slight. I also lost photo proofs from a recent fashion shoot, my new ID, and some gift certificates. I was homeless, living on the couch at the father of my second baby's apartment. I quickly made a phone call to my mom, hopped a train out of San Francisco and caught a plane to Texas. It was quite a culture shock to go from San Francisco's wonderfully noisy streets to crickets in my mom's dirt driveway. It was all good, though. I was home.
Hoping to meet a nice guy and settle down yet again, I set out on the quest with my cousin's ex-girlfriend. I finally met a great guy on the base at Fort Hood. We married quickly and secretly so he could get the raise in pay we needed to live. I was hoping to have a nice big wedding someday. I had eloped with my ex-con ex-husband. Things weren't right from the beginning in this new marriage, but I trudged on because I was bound and determined to have a happy home and family.
He said intriguing things to me about the end times and our position in the Lord in these final hours and it unsettled me somewhat. I began thinking. Shortly after we moved into our first apartment, we were approached by these Baptist youth outreach leaders in the community. I and my Soldier husband began attending church there where they had a youth and soldier outreach. They even gave me clothes decent enough to attend services!
They had a church directory including any/all members that had businesses or related services. I opened to the first page. There at the top of the page was an advertisement and underneath 'Abortion' as a topic. There were organizations listed that offered post-abortion counseling. I had never even considered the fact that one might need such a service, much less organizations that focused on such issues. What were the issues? I had an abortion and I knew it was wrong. I was prepared then to live with the consequences now, but what were the issues? I felt somewhat self-conscious even looking at the page so long with the stigma that is associated with that word and being in a church. It didn't help when some girl gawked and pointed and said aloud, "Who would need an abortion?" I quickly corrected her and pointed out that it was for 'post-abortion counseling.' But I wasn't sure what that entailed. I still desperately wanted kids and felt hopeful that the future would be bright with them.
I had a dream one night after that about a river and floating down that river were two baskets—little wicker, woven Moses-type baskets were floating down the river! I remember watching them float by in my dream and I spoke, although I don't remember exactly what I said in my dream. It was something like, “I have to do something about this because it's killing me...killing me.” I spoke aloud and woke myself up! When I woke I was alone in our bed. My husband was overseas in Desert Shield. I decided I needed to look into the post-abortion counseling. I was beginning to loathe the word abortion.
I started attending a bible study dealing directly with the issues surrounding post-abortion trauma. I didn't realize I had so much pent-up rage and self-hatred, and that these feelings go with the syndrome associated with the post-abortive trauma. I began to piece things together in my mind—the fear and anxiety attacks I had in the past, going to a male doctor or OB-GYN, or being left a long time waiting in a doctor’s office! I would freak out! There were also other ways I had modified my behavior to protect myself on some unconscious level.
I learned a lot about the post-abortive state of being and about myself. I didn't think I had the right to mourn my dead infants’ souls, but it restored their dignity to them and to me. I began to see that they were people from the very start of their lives and that they deserved the right to live right along with the rest of us! When I realized this, I cried for two days. My ex-husband called it "the saddest crying he'd ever heard in all of his life." All I know is that I went to a very dark place, a black hole of sadness that cannot be sated except that you leave that place. My ex-husband was supportive to a point, and then it turned.
He found the workbook I was using in conjunction with my Bible study to help me process the reasons why I had had an abortion, the people involved, my feelings, dates, and other things. I had told him I had had abortions, but I guess he didn't realize how close together they were. I came home one day to find that he'd done his own math on the bathroom wall, clean through the drywall with pencil! I had never felt shame like that, but at the same time I was so angry that he would judge me! Who was he and how dare he? He freaked out and we never really stopped fighting. He ended up in the five west ward at Darnell Army Medical Hospital (that is the psychiatric ward) after throwing me and beating me one night. Getting the United States Army involved in your life like that isn't all it's cracked up to be. You can imagine it was terrible, but the counseling was helpful.
I continued my Bible study. Having to drive to Temple all the way from Killeen was a feat of determination on my part. Yes, I was thirty years old and I'd barely driven a day in my life! I had moved to the city and had always been able to rely on public transportation all of my life in the Bay Area. It was different when I moved to Texas. You have to drive in Texas, or you will die! I had to get used to having to drive two hours just to shop there! So I gripped the wheel so hard that my knuckles turned white! But I drove for my healing and betterment. It is a separate story in itself of the way that God used situations and circumstances that led me to the place where I could forgive myself and begin the process of healing. Maybe after this, I will write that story.
We conceived two separate times but weren't successful. Turns out, towards the end, I found out that my husband was dabbling with drugs and things I knew nothing about. I left shortly after my second miscarriage. I knew the relationship was only breeding death, and I wanted nothing to do with it.
At least the relationship brought me to Corpus Christi, Texas where his family resided at the time. It’s another amazing city set around a bay of water and a coastline. I had found a good church—Cornerstone Church—and had undergone a healing Bible study in Temple, Texas that brought me to a better place in my life.
I met a great guy at church and we planned a big wedding. My family flew in from California. I was so excited! I got my man and my church wedding and, at almost forty, I was going to have my family. I tested every month the first year we were married. Tests were only a dollar at the store so I bought a lot. Then someone told me not to obsess over it so I stopped testing every month. I learned to relax and stopped thinking about it so much. A year and a half after we married, we conceived for the first time. We were excited. Then I started spotting some blood, but didn't cramp or feel discomfort, so I didn't suspect anything. A pregnancy test didn't reveal any HGC in my system. But I had been pregnant! The midwife thought it might have been a blighted ovum or something of the sort, but couldn't be sure. I was just getting old. I might need a real doctor if I were deemed 'high risk.’
From then on it was just a series of doctors that I had to try and convince I wasn't too old to conceive. I tried to convince myself that I still had the strength in me. I decided that I would rely on God's healing and restorative powers in my life. I went to a doctor that found and removed a growth in my uterus. Six months later I was pregnant again! I rushed to the doctor’s office who had told me I might be one of those women who needs very early prenatal care. “Fine,” I thought. I was there promptly enough, and elated! But I was met with stony faces. I said, "I'm pregnant six months after the procedure! It's a miracle!" They just sat there and looked at me, like “What do you want us to do?” I didn't understand. They said that the doctor wasn't that kind of OB-GYN. He didn't see early patients. “Well, who did?” I thought. They acted like they couldn't be bothered to help me or even answer my questions.
I asked for a blood test or something, anything so they weren't doing nothing. But they wouldn't even do a blood test on me without cash. So I set about going through the hoops you have to jump through in order to get assistance. But it wasn’t in time to help me save my pregnancy, just in time to help me pay the bills afterwards. I realized I'd been depressed for a long time, ever since my first loss. That weekend before I had attempted to attend a Rachael's Vineyard retreat I'd heard about from a priest friend of mine, Tom, who I'd met doing community theater. Turns out he was in charge of arranging retreats in his district.
He had shared with the women that I was pregnant even though I was uncomfortable about what some of them would think especially if they were having trouble conceiving. I got so sick the first night I barely made it to the next day. My husband had his phone turned off and I couldn't get a hold of him. I really wanted healing from my emotional pain, so I tried to stick it out. When he finally returned my call, I bailed on the weekend, but not on the hope that I would one day be absolved of all my pain. I lost the baby one week later, on Thanksgiving night 2007. I felt like a total failure. I wanted to be happy again after feeling so bad for so long, so I decided that ‘joy’ would be my motto that holiday season and from then on.
That lasted for a while, but everyday things are a constant reminder of what I don't have. I go to the store and all of the mommies are there pushing their little ones in baskets, or tugging toddlers towards the car. Commercials on TV, ads and mailers, and all of the store displays are geared towards people that have children. I always thought I would be one of the women with the kids, not one of the women who had been deprived of the experience for whatever reason.
When I conceived again a year and a half later, I had no doubt things would work out well. I got my paper work in order, I had found a new doctor, and I was staying positive. Even when the new doctor's staff wouldn't make an appointment for me until my paperwork was completely activated, I trusted God. I was blindsided when I lost that baby too, even more so than the others. Maybe it was because I was so sure it would work, in spite of all the factors we had going against us. I got to catch my little George in my hand and saved his body to bury. I never got to see a doctor. Even afterwards they wouldn't allow the emergency paperwork I had pushed through to expedite things. I went to a minor emergency room with the same piece of paper that they turned away and they gave me a sonogram. They didn't know what else to do for an apparently healthy woman who other than miscarrying almost a week before, was standing there crying her eyes out. The paperwork went through again just in time to help me clean up the mess afterwards. I received post-loss counseling and was treated very well after the fact. I will never forget the looks on the nurses’ faces as I begged them for an appointment with my doctor. More than once it happened, so I finally took a witness, after it was far too late to do anything.
I truly am a happy person, by nature. But I constantly have to fight off depression and anxiety. I have abused drugs to self-medicate, blocked out a lot of the details surrounding my abortions to protect myself, and engaged in activities that could be construed as self-destructive. I feel so much guilt and remorse since I did what I did. Some days it is very hard to deal with. It's hard, especially now when I am wanting to conceive and bear still, even in my older years, feeling like I have no one to blame but myself for my own life predicament. I feel desperate to make a difference in children's lives, but shy away from direct contact with them.
I have learned that all of these things are what make up post-abortion syndrome, and I have them all in spades. I long to be happy here on Earth before we go on to forever in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. I don't want to cry anymore everyday for my children's absences. I look forward to the day that I may either hold my children in my empty arms here on Earth or for all eternity in Heaven.
I regret my abortions and having wasted so much time chasing a dream that may never come true. This in itself, as well as what drives me to want to still have my own child and not adopt, are also symptoms of post-abortion syndrome. May God have mercy on my soul, the souls of all seven of my children, and every soul affected by abortion. May God have mercy on us all. As a nation we need to repent from the sin of abortion, then God will heal our land. Don't kill your babies! God bless us, all. Amen.