It Never Stops Hurting
It hurts the most when I hold another
woman 's child, feeling his warm breath
on my neck..
No, I really think it hurts the most when I see a pregnant woman sharing a
tender look of love with her husband..*
No, wait. Perhaps it hurts the most when .....
The honest truth is, it never stops hurting.
The battle rages on inside me. The
anguish and guilt live with me day and night. Reminders are everywhere, and
cannot be ignored ... The sound of children laughing, the neighborhood
playground, the infant department at the local clothing store, birth
announcements in the weekly newspaper...
Having been on both sides of this most painful and personal anguish of abortion
not once, not twice, but three times, I feel I am more qualified to comment and
state my moral conclusions than the average person.
I'm known as a strong-willed, emotionally "together" woman, and always felt I
had my mental survival instincts honed to perfection. The abortions would not
bother me, because I could rationalize each and every one.
The first was a medical decision based on the opinion of three doctors who all
felt that conception took place just prior to a series of 30 plus xrays I had
undergone for locating the cause of an unexplained and near-blinding illness I
had developed. When I learned of my pregnancy and was given my doctor's advice
against continuing to carry the child, I was devastated. I flatly refused to
consider an abortion, telling myself and anyone else who would listen that it
couldn't be happening to me, and that my baby would be all right. I was also
determined to find another doctor who would agree with me. I desperately wanted
another child. However, three different doctors in two different states all
concurred with my family medical team that a genetic abortion was the only
reasonable and sensible option. Finally under extreme pressure from family and
well meaning friends, I agreed.
Several years later, it had become obvious that my marriage was failing, and had
moved beyond the point of reconciliation. I was experiencing inner growth that
my husband could not share, and after much pain and soul searching, we
separated. A few short weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant again, but
because of our marital circumstances at the time, my personal plans for a new
life without my husband, and my new found love of self, I decided I simply could
not have this child. There was a vast age difference between my husband and me
that all of a sudden seemed to make a major difference in my thinking, he was
resigned to accepting our decision to part, and this complication just could not
enter into the scheme of things at this time. After all, I already had three
healthy, beautiful children.
Following another marriage some years later, frought with stormy trials and
tribulations, I once again became pregnant. This time, I considered my age
(beyond the usual accepted for child-bearing), the immaturity and mental
instability of my husband at that time, my soaring journalistic career, ...oh, I
had it all worked out in my mind again. I simply could not complicate my life
with this unwanted, unplanned and inconvenient pregnancy.
I never let myself think in terms of "what if..." and I cried and ached once
again for the child I would never carry, but after all, it was only a mass of
shapeless, unrecognizable, non-viable cells at this point ... wasn't it?
Some time later, I became involved with a group concerned about the insane and
inhuman way in which many women in this country are looking at abortion as an
alternative birth control method. I was appalled myself at the casual, almost
carefree way many of the women who were in the clinics with me as I terminated
my pregnancies behaved toward this painful experience. Even then I knew I had to
begin trying to do something on a personal basis to attempt to change the
accessibility of abortion on demand.
This group worked with literature and photos depicting complete fetal
development from the moment of conception, and for the first time, I realized my
12-week- old embryo was more than undecipherable parts, but a miniature human
being. His heart had begun to beat before I was even aware he existed. He had
begun to develop lungs, liver, kidneys. Development of the eyes, ears, nostrils
and mouth were begun. He felt pain, warmth, cold, had sleep patterns, could cry
and respond to light. He had brain waves, fingers and toes. He was easily
recognizable as human.
Clear to me now, life begins at conception, and it was not sacred for me to take
life at this stage.
My greatest pain today is simply this. I cannot undo what I did. I can never
undo what I did-not once, not twice, but three times. The decisions were mine
alone, they were final and irreversible, and so now is my torment. My husbands
were involved in the discussions, but I alone made the decisions each time.
The children to whom I arbitrarily denied life would have been 13, nine and five
at this point in time. I will never know if I had sons or daughters or both. I
will never know if they would have grown to be strong and beautiful human beings
with something wonderful to give to this world. I denied their siblings and
their grandparents. I denied their entire families and their generation. Most of
all, I denied them the opportunity of life.
I have an abiding faith in God, and called on Him in the dark hours following
each experience to forgive my sins. I also requested His help in becoming a
better person because of the choices I made. I have weathered
every storm in my life with God's help, and this was truly the worst experience
I had ever gone through.
I truly believe I have made peace with God and feel He has forgiven me, but
personal forgiveness does not come. I wonder if it ever will as I continue to
mourn the loss of my unborn children.
I believe every woman's basic problem in dealing with an abortion or multiple
abortions is to fit this new and generally unwelcome bit of data into what she
already knows about herself. It was no different for me. I have never considered
myself a "bad" person for choosing abortion, but rather one who perhaps made
rash decisions based in panic and selfishness. In my darkest hours, which still
come, I so often long for another child, even now.
It is also obvious to me that all women do not feel as I about their abortions.
Those blessed feelings of relief following the decision and the actual procedure
can last for years, but I firmly believe that eventually all women will have to
face themselves and deal with their denial and their action. It may take months
or it may take years, but I believe it has to happen.
An abortion is a deeply personal moment, and mine have made me an even stronger
woman than I was before. Perhaps it is guilt, but my experiences have made me
more acutely aware of the problems represented by legalized abortion, and I have
since dedicated myself to fighting in some small way for the cause of life.
I'm not one to preach on street corners, but if my writing profession can make
the difference in even one woman's decision to seek an alternative to abortion,
then I will feel I have accomplished something else worthwhile from my own
experiences. Because I have always had a very positive self image and have the
strength and openness to feel and speak about my emotional conflict, I also
believe I can reach others who may be struggling. My Pro-Life work will
hopefully be my personal vehicle.