In approximately May of 1979 my girlfriend and I found ourselves expecting a baby. After several years of sexual activity, the inevitable occurred; we were expecting our first child. I was surprised when my girlfriend coupled her announcement of the pregnancy with a further announcement, a couple of weeks later, that she was going to have an abortion. Actually, in retrospect, I should not have been surprised. My alcoholism, which was in full bloom at that time, painted a picture for her which depicted insecurity, no support, and fragility. My actions and inactions suggested that I was incapable of handling such a responsibility and consequently moved her to free me of the stress that would potentially bring. In her concern for my tenuous condition, she opted for the abortion.
I never accompanied her to the abortion clinic. Being deemed unfit and unable to be a father at that time, it seemed obvious that I was also incapable of traveling to the abortion clinic to deal with the issue. I agreed with that decision with resignation and hung my head as she left for the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota.
When she returned she was silent. Nothing was said about where she went or what happened. We resignedly returned to living life, attempting to ignore the great loss we had felt incapable of avoiding.
I started drinking deliberately rather than casually at this time, hoping the awareness of the life we had conceived would disappear like the pregnancy had. But it did not. It never went away. I finally had to face the fact that my lifestyle, my actions, and my inactions had contributed to the loss of my child. I became very depressed and eventually went to see a priest who I confessed the abortion to. He assured me of God’s forgiveness and I was started on my healing journey.
Rachael’s Vineyard helped me deepen that healing and become aware of what women went through who had abortions. Eventually, I reached out to my now ex-girlfriend and asked her to forgive me for the situation that I put her in. She asked me to forgive her and to forgive myself. I cried when she said that and felt released from a 38 year burden.
I don’t want others to have to carry their burden that long. That is why I am Silent No More.