My journey out of darkness and pain

  Andrea
Virginia,  United States
 
  I was 18 years old when I became pregnant.  All kinds of feelings came over me.  I was scared, confused about my future, and did not want to tell my parents because I felt I had disappointed them.  And then there was the father of my child. How was he going to respond to this news?  How was this going to affect our relationship?  When I finally got the courage to tell him, he revealed to me that he was not ready to be a father; he did not want any part of a baby.  I was devastated.  This was someone I loved, and he expressed his love for me on many occasion, so how could he not want our child?  

In my despair I went to a local Planned Parenthood for information and advice.  What Planned Parenthood did was take advantage of my distress, and I believed them in what I now know were a web of lies.  There was no counseling, no discussion.  I was led to believe I had no other choice. I left the facility with a quickly made appointment for an abortion, never being told of the consequences I would face… And within a couple days the father of my child and I were sitting in the waiting room of an abortion facility.

In my heart I did not want to be there.  I did not want to do this.  I wanted to get up and run out the door to a group of men and women praying.  But I was unable to move from my chair, as though the weight of true evil was holding me bound, not able to be free.  Then when my name was called I slowly entered through the doors to a room where my child’s life would end.

I would never meet the person about to take the life of my child; he just entered the room prepared for his mission of destruction and with no explanation of what was going to occur to me, he began the execution.

The procedure was painful physically.  It felt exactly like what was happening.  A suction which I read is 29 times stronger than a vacuum cleaner ripped my baby from my womb.  All I could do was stare at the wall biting my lip trying to get through it.  When the abortion was complete I was directed to a room with several other women recovering from the same procedure.
 
We laid on hospital type gurneys lined up against a wall, no one made eye contact, some were weeping while others remained silent and dazed as though they were disconnected.  During this time no staff member ever came to ask how we were doing or offer any comfort.  The only contact made was when it was time to send us home.

In the days and months following my abortion, I would relive that procedure.  I would vividly remember (and still do) the sounds of the suction, the physical pain, the coldness of the room and the other women’s vacant stares.  The full impact of my decision and its consequences were starting to evolve.  My relationship with the baby’s father dissolved quickly.  I became depressed and both my physical and emotional pain grew.

Alcohol and drugs became my comfort and escape from the pain.  I developed a promiscuous lifestyle, to experience the feeling of being wanted again, yet deep inside bitterness grew, and I became indifferent toward men.  I found myself growing distant from the ones who loved and cared for me the most, my family and especially God.
 
I hated myself and I became numb to my feelings. This was the darkness I lived for several years.  During this horrific cycle of drinking, drugs, and sexual sin, I had two more abortions.
I became so self-destructive that my mother and my sister started traveling to many churches, all over in state – out of state asking clergy and prayer groups to pray for me.  Both my mother and sister spent many sleepless nights in prayer.  Yes, there were those moments where I felt God’s presence and the desire to return to him.  But I refused.  I was ashamed of what I had done, and I thought “How could God ever forgive me?” Look what I have done--look at the life I am living.

At what I considered the lowest point of my life, I felt lost and that there was nothing left.  I felt as I had no one to talk to, this was a difficult secret to bear alone.  The thoughts of ending my life became more frequent.  I knew if I did not seek help those thoughts would soon be reality.  I decided to go back to where the seeds of faith were plated in my youth.  I went to a church. 

As I sat crying and begging God to help, a priest entered the church and, by God’s grace, I
gained the strength to seek help.  
 
He sat with me for a long time and our conversation gave me the hope I needed to begin to pull my life back together.  He became my spiritual guide for the beginning of a long journey that I was about to take.  He later revealed to me that I had answered his prayers because he prays for women who have had abortions to come back to the church, to find healing and peace.

My journey out of darkness and pain has been a long process.  Conversion and healing did not happen overnight, but I decided to put my trust in God and let him work in me.  Through spiritual direction and a healing program I became aware of God’s healing touches, and during this time, I felt a call to become active in the Pro Life cause.  I wanted to let people know the truth about abortion.  I wanted to prevent young women from making the same mistake, I wanted to reach out and help those who were hurting.
  
It was at a March for Life where I met women speaking about their abortions and became friends with several in the area.  After serious prayer I had chosen to become involved with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.   Through the years and being a part of this family I realized that even though the circumstances were different, we experienced so much of the same emotional, physical, and spiritual pain and difficulties. We were truly interwoven.

Being involved in SNM and speaking has also been healing, but there was still something missing… there was still feelings of grief and unforgiveness.  I realized that there were still some unresolved feelings.   I never had the opportunity to grieve the loss of my children.  My friends encouraged me to take a Rachel’s vineyard retreat. This is where I truly experienced God’s Mercy and forgiveness, and I had come to forgive myself and left the retreat no longer bound to my past sinful actions.  I reconnected even more with my faith and I was finally able to grieve my children John Michael, George Stephen, and Mary Elizabeth.
   
   
Priests for Life
www.priestsforlife.org