Recently I shared that I am a post-abortive woman on a newspaper website. I knew I would be attacked, but I was unprepared for the viciousness of that attack. I have decided to share my story with you because I believe women are being intimidated into silence and it is time for us to be true feminists and be silent, no more.
I was a typical Catholic school kid that fell into the trap of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It was the 1980's and cocaine was king, fashions were loud and girls were told that being able to sleep with whomever we wanted, whenever we wanted was the hallmark of true independence. By the time I was in my early 20's, I was an alcoholic drug addict.
I never meant to get pregnant. Honest. I didn't. I tried taking those pills or using that diaphragm but when you are drunk and loaded it is hard to live responsibly. The first time I got pregnant, I was so shocked and ashamed I did not tell anyone. I just wanted 'it' to go away and I can barely remember the procedure, other than I know I was three sheets to the wind when I got there. The counselor had to have smelled the booze on me but no one said a word.
Immediately after the abortion, I felt numb. I felt sick. I hurt. I bled. I had horrific cramps. I went home and sobbed. As time went on, I pushed the memory back as far as I could and vowed never to think about it or go through that again.
However, leading the lifestyle I was leading does not lend itself to kept promises. By the time I was 26 years old I had been to the abortionist three more times. My last trip was under the threat of a beating from the baby's father.
I had gone from an ambitious, loving young girl, confirmed in her faith and loving The Church to an empty shell of a woman.
In 1987 I married a wonderful man. I stopped drinking. I got pregnant. I was going to have a wonderful life - and four months later I stood in a hospital room next to my husband's body. He had drowned, and our child had lost his life when I had tried to save his father. I was convinced, at that moment, that God hated me and that my life would never be anything by pain and shame.
In 1992 I found my way to Alcoholics Anonymous. I found sobriety and began walking back to Holy Mother Church. Two years later, at the urging of a wonderful sober priest, I went through the Rachel's Vineyard program. Today I am the mother of five children, all of whom pray for me every day because they stand before the throne of Jesus.
The hardest fight I have is against those who think people like me need to just shut up, that we are not religious fanatics who want women to stay barefoot and pregnant. I respond to them without hatred but from a position of strength. I speak out today because I want women to recognize the lies they are being told.
We were told that if we treated our bodies and our sexuality with disdain and disrespect that somehow that would make us free. Instead, I have found a new freedom and a new happiness. My dark past has become my greatest asset for with it I can divert others from pain and hardship. But most of all, I am grateful to have been relieved of the bondage of my own selfishness and fear.
I am grateful to be silent no more.