It has been 50 years since I had an abortion and even after all these years I regret what I did. I snuffed out the life of my child because the father of my baby refused to marry me. My unplanned pregnancy happened in a time when being pregnant outside of marriage was looked on as a disgraceful thing, a reason for shunning both the mother and child, and I was more concerned about my reputation than I was about my baby’s life.
I knew abortion was wrong, but somehow the reality that I was pregnant seemed like it wasn’t real, that one morning I would wake up and realize it was all a bad dream. Needless to say that didn’t happen. I felt like I had no other choice, so I went along with my boyfriend’s wishes.
A part of me died the day my baby died. I did not grieve or feel angry. I just felt numb, cold, empty, and a deep sadness. I felt disassociated, somehow disconnected from it all. I decided that day that, for as long as I lived, I would never tell anyone about this and that I would go on with my life as though nothing had happened. I went into a state of denial.
Right after the abortion I started having trouble sleeping. I became very anxious about insignificant things, had anxiety attacks and became progressively more depressed. Self- esteem and poor self-image, which had been problems from early childhood, became worse. My faith had always been a very big part of my life, but at this point I turned away from God because I believed that I could not be forgiven for what I had done.
For 14 years after the abortion, I lived in denial and became more and more of an emotional wreck. I became addicted to tranquillizers and sleeping pills, and I often added alcohol to the mix. On the outside, to family and friends, at work, I was able to maintain an image of normal life. But there came a day where I knew I needed to do something about the way I was living. I knew I had to return to my spiritual roots, and so I went to see a priest. For the first time I told someone that I had had an abortion. And I experienced God’s mercy in a very powerful way that day.
I knew that God had forgiven me, but it took many more years of searching for healing to come to a place where I could forgive myself. That search ended when I finally came to the awareness that all my problems were connected to the abortion. In April of 2007, I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat. Through this retreat I was able to acknowledge and grieve the loss of my son and to finally let go of all the shame and guilt and I was finally able to forgive myself.
Now I will be silent no more because others who are hurting as I was hurting need to hear the truth and need to know that there is help and healing available. My hope is that, by speaking out about my experience, others will find healing too or, better still, will choose life for their child.