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I am a mother

I was non-Catholic, 19 years old, sort-of engaged to a non-practicing Catholic man older than me, who said he could have a previous marriage annulled quickly (not true) to marry me. Although abortion was illegal [at the time], society frowned on unwed mothers and on less than full-term birth after marriage. Someone at work arranged for it. My "fiance" did not approve, but did not strenuously object. He did not participate.

It was in 3d month. Performed by a black Dr. in DC in his apartment. It was by iodine or something inserted into the womb. Somewhat painful. (There was not yet movement, and I had no realization this was a child, but rather a problem. There was guilt, more for the clandestine nature and secrecy than for taking a life. I was rather ignorant about many things, had been sheltered growing up.)

The shame I felt was more pronounced when I became Catholic at age 25. I would confess that sin, (for I knew then it was sin) over and over, until a priest told me I need not do that. Still it haunted me until at last I accepted God's forgiveness and finally forgave myself.

Just in the last year, I reached age 50 and realized I would probably never marry. Have been disappointed in men and never really trusted them after that. After telling a friend about it, I finally mourned the loss of my child and realized that I am a mother and I rejected my child.

There has been a sense of guilt and shame ever since, whether for moral reasons or other. To realize one has taken a life is hard to live with, even when one feels forgiven. There is an underlying sense that if one you love knew about it, they would condemn you. I am glad to be Catholic and to have the Sacrament of Penance and am sorry for those who do not yet realize that abortion is killing a live baby at whatever stage of development as we now know it.

I think a sense of strong remorse will always be with me, perhaps less a punishment and more a consequence of sin.

Priests for Life
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