Forgiving Yourself

Rhode Island,  United States

In 1968 I was divorced with a three year old child.  I started dating and soon after became pregnant.  Being unmarried and pregnant was not something you could be open about in the sixties, abortion wasn't either.  I was terrified.  I was sure my ex-husband would sue for sole custody of our child because I was an unfit mother - immoral.  My boy friend didn't want to become a father.  He told me he had a friend who worked for a pharmacist, who knew a doctor.  I felt totally alone, frightened and embarrassed.

I agreed to go.  We went to his office after hours and he gave me an injection.  I didn't know what it was, I didn't ask, I didn't want to know.  I returned the following evening for another injection.  The following day I went into labor, the pain was unbearable, so much worse than when I was delivering my child.  After about five or six hours I aborted...on the toilet...I remember screaming at the horror of what I had done.  Then I went numb - no feelings, nothing.

I bled for days and finally went to see my doctor.  I told him I had a miscarriage.  He asked if I had taken anything to abort...I said no.  He sent me to the hospital.  Being prepped for the D&C I was asked again did you take anything to abort.  I said no.  All of a sudden my abortion became my miscarriage and for over forty years I believed it.

A little over a year ago I was jolted into reality by a dream.  It was a nice dream until I realized something was baby.  I couldn't find her.  I couldn't remember where she was.  How could I have left her somewhere and not remembered?  My panic became overwhelming when I couldn't remember her name!

When I woke I could not catch my breath.  I was screaming I killed my baby.  It took months before I could let myself face it again.  I started to pray.  I went to confession and was told "God has forgiven you, now you have to forgive yourself.”   I thought I could never do that.

A few weeks later at a church function, a woman (I didn't know her very well) asked me if I would like to go with her to a Silent No More meeting.  I thought "How could she know?"  It was at that meeting that I learned of Rachael's Vineyard Retreats.  I went on a weekend retreat which filled me with such hope that I was able to start my journey toward healing, forgiveness, and purpose. 


Priests for Life