From the darkness of abortion to the healing power of Christ—this is my abortion story, and how the love of Christ healed me.
My name is Teresa, and I would like to share with you my story about abortion and how, through the healing power of our almighty God, I have healed for the heartache of abortion.
I was 19 years old and had been dating my boyfriend for only a few months. I found out I was pregnant and went to him and told him. I was pretty naïve. I didn’t grow up in the church, but I had very strict parents, and honestly, we didn’t talk about “those subjects.” But my dad did tell me if we became pregnant, he would disown us. And I knew that was true.
As panic kicked in and my boyfriend became afraid as well, we were so worried about getting in trouble and what our family would think. He mentioned having an abortion and, honestly, I didn’t really know what that was. I had heard about them on the news, and maybe from other people, but I didn’t really grasp what we were about to do or how I felt about it. All we knew was that we had to do something, and that abortion would take care of the problem. Little did I know that that was not even close to the truth.
Eric (my boyfriend) called his stepsister to get the name of a place in Peoria, IL to have the abortion. He had the name of the place and called to set up the appointment and to find how much it cost. He called the place and set everything up. I wasn’t sure how to feel. I just went along with everything.
The day arrived. We went into the clinic, checked in, and gave them the money. The room was silent. Everyone had their heads down, and no one spoke. It was so odd. Then we as a group were called into another room, where they took our vitals and blood. I believe we had an ultrasound or an exam to find out how far along we were. Still, there was not one word spoken by all of us girls, and the workers only spoke as needed. No one comforted us, no one explained to us what was happening. They just moved us through. As we were seated around this table, they let us know the results of our blood test (whether we were pregnant or not), how far along we were, and if we could have our abortion that day or if they were too far along, which meant that they wouldn’t be able to have it there at that facility. When they said I was about 6 weeks along and that I could have my abortion, I was relieved and sad all at the same time. Then we were one by one taken to the procedure room. No one talked to me at all, and I became numb. The doctor entered, and he was wearing a mask, so I never knew what he looked like. He never spoke to me, nor did the nurse. After the procedure, I felt numb. I was led into a hallway where I sat in a chair. I was given some juice and a cookie, but still no one was talking. Some of the girls were crying, but I felt nothing. And after that I just stuffed all my feelings—my shame and my heartache—and I had a secret that I told myself I could never tell anyone.
I dealt with a lot of depression, shame, and an eating disorder. I had no idea that it was all from my abortion. They call it Post Abortion Syndrome. Since I had never talk about with anyone, I had no clue that other people were suffering like I was.
As my health declined because of my eating disorder, my doctor referred me to a counselor. He was so good at getting to the real issues. That’s when I told him about having an abortion. He was the only one I had ever told, other than the baby’s father. He referred me to a counselor, and I was able to start the healing process. But it would take a long time for my heart and spirit to be healed.
I became a Christian at age 33, and that’s when I realized that, if I asked God to forgive me, He would. Psalm 32:5 states: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” But the challenge was forgiving myself. Here I am, saved and forgiven, but stuck in such shame and fear of judgement of other people…not God. I knew about God even as a child, but I didn’t know Him as my personal Lord and Savior. My brother became a Christian at the age of 16 years old and shared his faith with me. I loved that he had this loving relationship with God, but, honestly, I didn’t get it. How could our amazing God who created the heavens and the earth ever love a woman who aborted her baby? So, I struggled, and the depression, guilt, and shame deepened. I hit rock bottom. I don’t think people realize how truly deep the hurt and guilt is in a post-abortive women, men, and industry workers. So, I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to end the pain and suffering by taking my own life. I had a plan and, after putting my kids to bed, I went to my room to take my life. Well, God had another plan. I cried out to Him, “Why do you hate me?” And the room filled with peace and a presence, not a scary one. And I heard an audible voice say to me, “I don’t hate you. I love you.” And He wrapped His loving arms around me, and I felt a peace I had never felt in my life. The next day I woke up sad, because I thought it was just a dream. Then I walked to the front window and looked out. It was like it was the first time I had seen the sky, trees, all the beauty. My depression was so deep that I couldn’t see the light of God’s beauty. That’s when I knew that God did save my life and that He truly loved me. And that’s when true healing started. I went back to Birthright, met with a counselor and, went to group. I gave my daughter a name. Her name is Rachel Lynn, and I laid her at the feet of Jesus. Little did I know, when I gave her that name, the significance it would have in the future.
I started to volunteer at Birthright quietly, not doing anything to draw attention to me. I still kept my secret. I went to church faithfully, but still no one knew. I was so afraid of the judgement of my fellow Christians. I just couldn’t take the chance of being condemned by them.
At 35, I was led by Jesus from a teaching in church to tell our secrets to one another, so that we could be healed. So, I told my mom, and she was great. She was the reason I was able to share with more people. And I developed a voice for the unborn. But I still wasn’t ready to take my abortion story out to the world. As I worked through my healing and trusted more in God’s love for me, I started helping hurting women. God had spoken to my heart that I was called to help hurting women, so I started sharing my story about having an eating disorder. The healing was amazing, and the people I reached were wanting to get help after seeing that there was life after an eating disorder. But I still wasn’t open to sharing why I had an eating disorder.
Life had its ups and downs, and, through some situations, I wound up divorced and on my own with my little family. I went to church but lost my fire and started to backslide. I had been hurt by some of my Christian friends. See, when I told people of the church about my abortion, they didn’t want to be my friend anymore. They judged me and asked me the question which every post abortive person dreads. “How could you kill your baby?” I thought Christian people, who modeled themselves after Christ, would be loving and forgiving “like Christ.” But that just wasn’t true.
So, a few more years passed, and I married my husband Gary, and my family and I moved to Dubuque County. Well, I can’t say we had an easy time of it, but God knew what He was doing to set my life up to do what He called me to do, to help hurting women. God had given me the strength to start sharing my story about my abortion a little. I started searching for a church and found it at Journey Church. Little did I know that the healing would go deeper. When I started at my church there was a group called Celebrate Recovery, and it would be meeting the next day. Well, I decided that I would go, and it would be a great way to meet people. Oh, little did I know what God had in store for me there. See, Celebrate Recovery is a Christian 12 step program to help people with their hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Well, the deeper healing was starting, and as I walked through the 12 steps of healing, God strengthened my voice against abortion. I was always careful about what I posted on Facebook or talked about to people I didn’t know very well. But as I continued through this ministry, my voice was getting louder. I finally shared my story with my pastor’s wife and guess what? She didn’t hate me, and she didn’t walk away. She just accepted me. Then I shared with the girls at Celebrate Recovery. See, they knew I was pro-life, but no one knew why I was so opposed to abortion. And you know, when I shared with the group, two other women then shared that they also had had abortions. They couldn’t believe how open I was to tell my story. But they had no idea how far I had come. I also started volunteering at Clarity Clinic. I loved helping women take that step to save the life of their unborn baby.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I went to the next step in my healing. I had been retired for a few years, but my daughter and her children were going to be moving in with us, so I felt I should probably go to work to help financially. So, here is where the story goes “Total God.” I started looking online for jobs. The first day I applied for one, I wasn’t excited about it. So, the next morning I fired up the computer and went on the job search Indeed, which I had never used. So, I start looking at the jobs, and the 3rd job down was Dubuque County Right to Life, and they were looking for a receptionist. So, I applied. I received a phone call from Ashley, and she did what I would say was a phone interview. Then she asked if I could come in for an interview. I said yes of course. How cool to work for a place that I totally believed in! I went in for my interview and then was offered the job. Ashley the Executive Director is amazing, and she fought for me to get this job. When my daughter needed me to watch my grandkids, Ashley went to bat for me to get this job. And then I needed to tell Ashley my story, just so she knew why I was pro-life, and I wasn’t sure she would want me to work there, after she knew the truth. Well, this is the part where I cry. I wrote her an email and shared with her that I had an abortion, and that I wasn’t sure if she wanted someone working there who had had one. She sent me the kindest and most supportive email I have ever received. So, I started for Dubuque County Right to Life, and God has opened doors. Ashley and I talked about starting to reach out to post-abortive people. I went on-line and found a page called Rachel’s Vineyard, and I read the entire website. Remember when I said that my daughter’s name, Rachel Lynn, would mean something down the road? Well, here it is. My baby’s name is Rachel, and the website I am completely drawn to is Rachel’s Vineyard. You see, it’s a post abortive retreat for women, men, and couples to go to for healing from abortion. I told Ashley about it, and she asked me to look into it. I did, and we are going to be having a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat here in Dubuque in September 2020. But in order to have a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, we have to attend one. So, I just went on mine, and it was the most healing I have had. I thought I was healed before I went, and I was to a point. But this ministry takes it to the deepest level. I am so thankful to Ashley and DCRTL for blessing Dubuque County with their own Rachel’s Vineyard. But it doesn’t stop there, we are also having a post abortive Bible study called Surrendering the Secret. This is such a wonderful bible study, to help women to cope with the heartache of abortion. And that starts October 27th. And that’s why am I talking about this, because post-abortive people must heal, because when they are healed, they will tell the truth about abortion, and babies’ lives will be saved.
So, if you ask me why I am pro-life, it’s because I know the horrible truth about abortion firsthand. Thank you for letting share my story.