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Even colors looked different to me

Almost 16 years ago, after having two children (ages four and 21/2), I became pregnant with my third child. I was 24 years old. In my third month of pregnancy, I began spotting blood and became feverish. I went to see a Dr. who determined that, though I was spotting, I was still pregnant. I was told bed rest was needed.

A family member was caring for my children while I was sick in bed. She told me that I was risking my health because of the bleeding. I believed that she was genuinely concerned about my welfare. She called a Dr. (I didn't know it at the time, but she had called an abortion clinic.) I remember when she talked to me afterwards, she seemed convinced that I could very well hemorrhage if I continued spotting blood. She told me that the Dr. had said I probably wouldn't be able to carry this pregnancy to term, anyway. She said that I was being selfish for not "doing something" to prevent my health from being hurt, since I already had two young children who needed their mother. I felt helpless, and I felt I was being a burden to her. 

Another older family member talked with me about my feelings. I remember crying and saying, "I can't help it. Every time I think about doing that (having a abortion), all I can see when I close my eyes are little baby feet with booties, kicking". I remember him saying that he could understand why I was feeling so sensitive, but he assured me that at this stage of my pregnancy the fetus wasn't really a baby yet. (The ingredients were there but not a baby.) I remember feeling very foolish; this person was an educated science teacher and he had to know what he was talking about. I was being too sensitive and wasn't being mature enough to "put things in perspective". So I agreed to have the abortion. (I didn't realize it at the time, but my abortion "decision" affected later pregnancies. I had two miscarriages afterwards and then had medical complications as a direct result of the abortion, which almost prevented my third child from being born at all.)

They made the appointment and drove me to the abortion clinic. I had never seen one before. I walked in by myself. There were no pro-life street counselors in front of the clinic handing out pro-life materials showing the true development of the "fetus". (How I wish there had been: I would have my precious daughter here with me today.) I will never forget that clinic. I remember the room where the procedure was performed. I remember the sound of the suction machine. I remember the tugging pain (emotionally and physically), I remember the Dr. scraping me inside. I remember that a younger Dr. was there observing; at one point he leaned over to look at something which the abortion Dr. had removed from inside of me. At the time, I remember thinking, "He must be looking at a blood clot." (Many years later, I realized what it was he was looking at.)

I will never forget the recovery room. There was a young girl there, still in her teens. She was sitting up on a cot with her legs under her. She brightly asked, "Is this your first one? This is my fourth!" Then she proceeded to tell me about her summer vacation. I started weeping uncontrollably. The assisting nurse came in and told the girl she could go. Then the nurse sat on the edge of me cot and rubbed my back. I asked her, "Was it a boy or a girl?" She shook her head and looked down. Very slowly and quietly she said, "I don’t know hon', it wasn't fully developed. You couldn't tell…it was just tissue." At the time I remember noticing how young and attractive the nurse looked, but also, how much make-up she was wearing. Although she had lovely features and didn’t really need cosmetics, her make-up was applied very thickly. It was as though she were hiding behind a mask. She tried to be kind, and her words were meant to reassure me, but I only wept.

After I left the clinic and was on my way home, I was told, "We will never discuss this day, or the abortion ever again." I remember feeling as though I really wasn't alive. I was moving -- but something had died inside. The day didn't seem real. And I didn't understand what was meant by, "we'll never discuss this again" because this had never really been discussed before! So much was left unsaid. I was determined that I would have to put this whole experience behind me.

The nightmares began immediately. I would wake-up sweaty and trembling. I would pace the floor in the dark alone and just think -- the quiet around me was my only companion. I was isolated in my intense pain and grief but there seemed no way out. I was haunted by a gut-level feeling that I hadn’t been told the truth. That it was a baby that could have lived. I realize that I killed my baby. I experienced depression, anxiety, felt mistrust. Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. I cried endless tears, felt isolated and alone. Even colors looked different to me; no longer bright or cheery but everything had a gray haze to it and looked drab. My life had changed forever.

Several months later, I became involved in a church. I went to my pastor and told him about my pain and guilt due to my abortion. He sincerely tried to help and convinced me that I should put my abortion experience far behind me. It took months but at some point I succeeded in rejecting my experience, denying my hurt and suppressed all thoughts surrounding abortion. I numbed my pain but it did not really go away, it just waited. (It is only a matter of time before denied emotions and hidden pain will erupt; like a volcano which can no longer be suppressed it cannot stay hidden. One way or another something has to give.)

It would be 15 years before I ever talked about that abortion again. Fifteen years before I again would stand in front of an abortion clinic. Fifteen years when I would see pictures of a 8-week old fetus and the suppressed memories came tumbling out in a raging torrent of agonizing tears and sobs. The sounds that came out of my throat did not sound human, they sounded like something a deeply wounded animal in pain might cry.

I thank God with every fiber of my being that he was there to heal and comfort as I sank to my knees -- unable to stand or deny my past any longer. Only a person who has experienced the loss of a child (for that is what abortion is) can ever really understand the pain -- the ache that grasps a woman's heart. My healing began with the weight of 15 years of denial and silent suffering began to melt away. My healing time had come.

Dealing with a past abortion can be very painful because for a while the women can feel she is getting worse instead of better (talking about the abortion and re-living the memories are so painful). Before a woman can be healed, she must be honest about her true feelings. She must be able to come to terms with what really happened. She must confront her pain and work through the grieving process. It will be hard but once it's done -- it's done forever. The memory will always be there but the guilt, shame and grief won’t. There will always be tender sorrow bit it won't be over-whelming grief like before. The colors will appear bright again.

I help others who have been hurt by abortion because I know the pain they are suffering. I began STEPPING STONES because I know God healed me for a purpose and not just to live my own life free from guilt and pain. I could share the healing with others that hurt and suffer.

Silence has been our enemy. Because of silence, so much remains hidden in the abortion industry. Abortion clinics claim to be concerned for the woman's well being but it is women whom the abortion industry exploits! Cashing in on the opportunity, these abortion clinics prey on women and young girls in a crisis situation. They focus in on the woman's fears and hide the true development of the baby. The real risks of the abortion are not shared about the procedure. Money is taken even before she is taken to the "procedure room". Ignoring the meaning behind her tears, the troubled look in her eyes and the obvious uncertainty the women if feeling. The abortion is quickly performed and the woman is sent away to deal with what she has just done. Abortion has two victims -- the fetus and the woman.

Priests for Life
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