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I had the feeling of being herded like cattle at slaughter

I was 20 years old and dating a boy for a year. We had talked about our plans for the future. Though we had never talked about marriage I knew in my heart we would marry. We thought we were "protected" because we used condoms when having intercourse. 

Well, I missed a period and bought a home pregnancy test. It came out positive. My boyfriend was going home over the weekend (we were in college) and I asked him to stop by before leaving. He did and was irritated because I wouldn’t tell him over the phone. I told him I was pregnant. He asked if I wanted to go with him. I said yes, but that was a mistake. I think we would’ve been better off to have that time alone to our own thoughts and then come together for discussion. When we got back to school we decided to go to Planned Parenthood for help. They did another test to confirm the pregnancy and asked what I wanted to do. I said I didn’t know. I guessed abortion because we had talked about that choice. I think our reasons were because of school, new jobs, etc. What we didn’t say was it will hurt our parents so much because both of us were "good kids." The lady at Planned Parenthood gave me a list of clinics and told me to call. Boy if she had only said, "Wait a minute," anything to get me to stop and think.

My boyfriend took me to the clinic and waited for me. I was taken into a room with 10 or so other women. Where we were asked questions and given some pills. We were told the pills would take away the pain. After a few minutes, I was taken to a room (I had the feeling of being herded like cattle at slaughter). I hated it. I was told to undress and put on the gown an get on the table, etc. A man (I assumed the doctor) came in and put something in that hurt (the speculum) and then something else that hurt some more – dilating the cervix – then turned on a machine (the suction pump). In a few minutes, it was all over and I was to dress and come out in the hall. Then I was lead to a room where I was told I had to lay down for 30 minutes. I asked if my boyfriend could come back and was told no. After 15 minutes, I was told to check my feminine napkin in the bathroom to see how much I was bleeding. Mine was about normal I guessed because I was then asked if I felt nausea and dizzy. No. Did I need some more condoms? They gave me a box of them (!) and let me leave.

My boyfriend took me to my house and put me to bed. (I guess the pills had taken effect.) He left to go to class. I don’t know when he came back, but he woke me up to see if I was o.k. He stayed all night and just held me. The next morning I had to be at the barn at 6:00 AM to feed. He tried to talk me out of going, but I was determined to be "normal" as if nothing had happened. What I was really doing was trying to fill the emptiness. I knew what I had done was wrong.

I didn’t realize the effect on us until it was too late. We both became more withdrawn. We each had an ache that couldn’t be eased. He eventually left me. It only took two months. I fell even lower into despair. I lost what little control I had left. With no one to talk to, I started drinking alcohol, guilt-eating, and only got out of bed when absolutely necessary. My roommate thought it was because of the break up and had tremendous anger to him. 

Finally I "buried" the pain and appeared to function "normally." I graduated, moved to another state to take a job. A year later, I met a man and married him. One night we were talking and all of a sudden, I started crying. I told him about the abortion. He was so angry at me. Why hadn’t I told him? He couldn’t believe he had married a murderer, etc. All I could do was cry and beg. He finally calmed down. We talked about it. He said he didn’t blame me. I was naïve and vulnerable and had listened to "him" (the father of the child). He put all the blame on "him," so did I. How convenient. I was able to go on. Well, we wanted children, but I never became pregnant. I became so full of guilt. The stress level had increased so much! I worked harder and longer than anyone else to hide the pain.

Finally, I prayed. I asked God to forgive me, I asked my child to forgive me, and I came to terms with the fact that although I was forgiven, I still had to face the consequences of my action i.e. no new pregnancies, no more children. The relief was unbelievable. Oh yes, I still thought about it, but not with the guilt and despair as before. 

I thought I was healed, but I still had to forgive the father of the child and ask him for forgiveness. So ten and one half years after the abortion, I called his mother to see if he was married – no. I told her I needed to talk to him about something we had left unfinished – not knowing if he had told her yet or not – we decided the best way to get a hold of him was for me to write a letter. That letter lifted the rest of my burden from my heart! I’ve still not received a reply, but confessing my guilt to him and asking for forgiveness from him for my actions was the last piece – unless God reveals something else that I don’t know about.

My life was changed in so many ways. If I’d have kept the child and carried to term, we all might still be together. As it was, I tried to fill the emptiness with an unhealthy marriage which I’m still trying to honor. If I had not have had the abortion, my chances for more kids would be greater. Before the abortion, I was ambivalent about abortion, I knew it was wrong, but felt it was the woman’s choice. Now I’m fully against it. I have a desire to let young girls know what they are getting in to. I just want to let them know. I think if someone would have been there for me. . . I am now going through the process of trying to help out at a crisis pregnancy clinic. God has led me to this without a doubt. If I can help one girl and keep her from this awful pain that I had to go through, it will all be worth it. I realize now how lucky I am. I didn’t get any professional help. I could easily be dead now. But, God had a plan for me and wouldn’t let me give up. Yes, I had trials and lessons to learn, but my faith has grown also!

I was a lucky one. What else he will show me I don’t know, but I’m eagerly waiting. I believe this time I’m healed or I wouldn’t have written this letter. I hope this information helps. I didn’t have an extra form and I hope just writing it on paper was O.K. Good luck and may women and men send these letters by the 100's of thousands!

Priests for Life
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