Alone with the memories

California,  United States

Good Morning! My name is Deborah.  I’m here to share the truth about abortion & how it negatively impacted my life.  I suffered emotionally, physically & spiritually from two abortions.  After years of suffering, by the Grace of God, I attended a post abortion healing retreat and my journey of healing, restoration and wholeness with myself, my aborted children and God began.

 My first abortion was in 1984. I was 19, living at home, attending college & working part-time.  I was not married and believed I was in a real crisis.  I was ashamed, afraid to tell my parents and felt I needed to protect them from any humiliation and disappointment.  My boyfriend encouraged me to keep the pregnancy a secret, which I did.  I believe his own fear, immaturity, ignorance and selfishness led him to say:  he wasn’t ready to become a father, he wouldn’t marry me, nor support me.  He also said: I would have to drop out of college, would end up struggling and on welfare and said: a child would ruin my life and his.  He wanted me to have an abortion.

 I reflected on his words and thought about my life.  I grew up in a divorced family and witnessed the loss and pain of not having my father in the home.  I made a vow that I never wanted to get divorced or have my children grow up without a father because I understood the pain of divorce.  The thought of dropping out of college and raising a child in similar circumstances like I had been raised was too hard to bear.  After all, I believed I was attending college to make a better life for myself.  Adoption was a fleeting thought.  I wasn’t aware of any agencies and didn’t know where to turn for help.  In my own ignorance, I believed adoption was a worse decision and the thought of giving my child up for adoption was too painful.  So, with much fear, hesitation and regret, I called Planned Parenthood to make an appointment to terminate my pregnancy – I couldn’t even say the word abortion!  I did not believe in abortion and it went against my Christian beliefs and morals. 

Two years later, we found ourselves in the same situation and I knew what was expected.  Regretfully, I underwent a second abortion.  The two abortions would turn out to be the worst decisions of my life.  I know recognize that I too was acting out of fear, immaturity, ignorance, selfishness and coercion.  On the day of the procedure, Planned Parenthood told me it was a blob of tissue and seemed more interested in collecting my $200 cash payment than my emotional well-being.  Planned Parenthood did not inform me of the developmental stage of my unborn child nor tell me that my child’s heart was beating.  They did not tell me they were going to kill the life of the unborn child growing inside me.  When they witnessed me crying, they didn’t encourage me to go home and really think about the decision I was making but rather said it was a simple procedure that would be over in a few minutes.  They didn’t tell me this decision would negatively impact the rest of my life, that I may regret it, that I may suffer shame, anger and grief and that my future fertility could be jeopardized.  They didn’t tell me any of this.

 I cried so many tears before, during and following the procedure.  After the procedure, it felt as if a part of me died.  I now realized how true these feelings were.  Two innocent lives were snuffed out at the hands of the doctors and now my soul was left in a terrible state to suffer the consequences.  Abortion did not make me unpregnant.  It made me the mother of children who died unnatural deaths.  There is a saying – Abortion: one dead, one wounded.  My children were dead and I was deeply wounded.

 I felt very much alone with the memories of my experience and trauma and tried for so long not to think or talk about it and suffered for years in silence.  In order to cope with everyday life, I had to pretend that everything was fine and so I buried the pain deep within me.  I had a secret I didn’t want anyone to know.  My relationship with God was greatly affected.  I could not forgive myself.  I believed that God could not forgive me and that I had committed the unforgiveable sin. 

Thirteen years ago, I was invited to attend a post abortion healing retreat through Rachel’s Vineyard.  It was one of the best decisions and greatest experiences of my life.  The invitation came at the perfect time.  I had been struggling and suffering deep sorrow for many years concerning infertility and this seemed to exacerbate my regret and remorse for my abortions.  Attending the retreat helped to heal the pain of the abortions and lessened some of the sorrow associated with not being able to conceive more children.  At Rachel’s Vineyard I learned that I could recover from the painful affects of abortion and find peace.  I was able to mourn the loss of my children, admit my personal responsibility, and forgive my boyfriend for his lack of support and strong influence and for the resentment I harbored because of my inability to conceive more children after I married.  It was necessary to work through my regret, anger and grief in order to find healing and to restore my relationship with the Lord.  God truly lifted me up and made me whole again.  I was finally able to forgive myself and now believed that God had forgiven me too. 

During the weekend, I had the opportunity to honor the lives of my 2 children.  I named them, lit candles in their memory, wrote & read a letter to them giving dignity to their lives and surrendered them into the loving care of God.  The retreat was a life-changing experience.   I was filled with God’s peace and my wounded heart and soul received the healing it so desperately needed.  I will never ever forget what happened, but the compassion, love and mercy of God has allowed the pain to subside and the pain has been replaced with peace, love, joy, and new life as I continue to journey forward in the knowledge, love and service of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God longs to redeem us from our sin and misery and only He can heal the most wounded broken parts of our hearts if we approach Him with sincere humility, openness, and repentance.  His mercy is far greater and more powerful than any of our wretchedness and no sin is too big for God to forgive. Today, I share my story and choose to be silent no more.  I give all glory and thanks to God for healing me of my pain.  Thank you for being here and God bless you.

Priests for Life