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A Father's Testimony: I was a coward

My wife and I had two children. We'd been having sexual difficulties. After a long period of sexual avoidance, we spontaneously and mysteriously enjoyed each other fully. Conception occurred at the time. Fearing that the new life would upset for good the long-awaited renewed intimacy, we "reluctantly" decided to have the abortion.

I accompanied my wife to the hospital and waited. I have very little memory of how I spent the hours waiting. I'm sure I've blocked it out. It's been over 11 years now.

My wife still maintains she did what she had to do at the time to preserve her mental health and so not have a child who might have been unwanted and grown up feeling those effects. While she seems matter-of-fact even now, I notice she gets uncomfortable when the facts about abortion come up and she often leaves the situation. She brushed aside any possibility of counseling for herself (for abortion) even though she looks chronically depressed ever since then, complains of always being tired despite many physical evaluations that disclose no objective illness. She often looks sad, restless and unsatisfied. (I know our marital relationship and also a serious injury to one of our children also adds to this). She gets angry when I admit we did something terribly wrong. She wondered whether, later on, God was punishing us in the injury of our child, for the earlier abortion. She has sought psychological counseling.

My reaction as Father: I think I have been far more in touch with my grief and deep sorrow for the life I helped to end. I think of my child that will never be on earth. I hate the self-deception and the falsehood I bought into. The pseudo - "enlightened" argument I groped for has actually proven to be the DARKEST moment of my life, filling me with unending ache and remorse. Hardly a day goes by that I don't shudder and almost weep again for the murder I helped to bring about. Quite often I even wake up in the morning thinking painfully of the undeniably selfish act I did over 11 years ago - STILL! I know I overrode in my core being my conscience (dulled at the time) and my Fatherhood instinct. No two ways about it: I acted - no, I was a coward. My action, despite my confession and repentance before my Creator - continues to rob much of the joy from my life. Were it not for my renewed faith in God's love and mercy toward me, my loathing for what I did would likely long ago have caused me to take my life - but that would only compound an already abominable sin. I would do anything (if God would accept the bargain) to reverse that fateful mistake. In all sincerity, I would ask God to take my life now in order to restore my unborn child's life on earth. Even though assured of God's forgiveness, I am still trying to forgive myself. The pre-existing problem with marital intimacy - far from getting better - has worsened over the years. The abortion has added a new twist, which is that my wife's body does not seem so inviting and nurturing and I also feel I don't have the "right" to enjoy the pleasure love-making once brought. The estrangement is hard to fix and my wife can't seem to share with me the horror and grief I still feel - She thinks I'm trying to instill guilt in her (but I wonder what she had done with her guilt feelings as a mother.) She refuses to attend even a Project Rachel meeting for women. I got her to see a clergyman with me which probably helped her toward some place, but difficulties remain.

I sought and received God's forgiveness, after which my faith re-awakened and deepened. Became active in a pro-life movement as volunteer and contributor in trying to save pre-born persons. I've become a less selfish person, giving my time and efforts to forgotten, marginal persons in our society because their lives DO have value.

. . . Plus, I am sadder, wiser, see myself more honestly and know more than ever that any good I do comes from my cooperation with God's action and grace in me. I know how radically selfish I'd be without God. I am more forgiving and merciful (I hope) only because God has treated me so kindly.

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