I had an abortion when I was 16 because I felt like I was capable of making an adult decision. I had already decided upon abortion if I ever got pregnant. Looking back, I realize how I was groomed by my high school and by the free clinic (not Planned Parenthood) where I went for contraceptives. Abortion was just another birth control option, according to the way they presented the facts. I already was a believer in Christ as a teen. I believed that God would forgive me for what I was about to do, because I knew it was wrong at the time, but I did it anyway. I kept thinking, "If I just don't think about what I am doing, and I just go ahead and do it, it will all be over and I can forget about it." What I did not understand were the grave spiritual and emotional consequences that I would have to face for years because of my decision.
I never saw the abortion doctor until just before the procedure. I was reluctant to let him go in with the instruments. He said, jokingly, "Just spread your legs like a cheerleader." I did not laugh. The nurse who promised she would hold my hand was very warm and kind until they turned on the suction. Then her hand went limp, like she did not want to touch me. I pray for her sometimes. I cried when it was done, but I was so out of touch from blocking my feelings about it, that I really don't know what I was crying about. I don't remember any pain. I do remember the blank faces of all the women in the recovery room. They looked deflated.
I was very depressed after the abortion. I knew my boyfriend was going to break up with me, even before the abortion, and he did break up with me. I was very upset, and I thought I was depressed over him. I began having night terrors on a regular basis. I started using drugs for a few months, and I made a half-hearted attempt to kill myself. I felt invisible, and I wanted someone to understand me. I was not a very loveable person at the time.
I lived the usual life of a suburban baby-boomer. I went to college, had a bunch of relationships, got married, had a child, got divorced.
God led me out of the emotional prison of abortion aftermath 29 years later. You may think it's strange, but I actually believe that that's a fair sentence for a sixteen year old that commits murder. It was when I saw my decision and my actions through God's eyes that I could really repent of my sin. And it took years of God working in my life for my eyes to be opened.
I believe that God wanted me to be able to trust Him before I could go back and face that pain. When I brought my suffering over the abortion to Him, He healed me. I mean it. I am free.
I found help and forgiveness through the Catholic Church, through counseling, and through a Rachel's Vineyard retreat. And I still get teary when I think about how my (current) husband treated me with such tenderness and compassion while I was healing. I sometimes contemplate the many other husbands that are out there trying to console their wives' inconsolable grief. A husband's presence and care can be so important to the healing process.
I still regret my abortion, and I grieve the loss of my baby. She should have been named Rose, after my mother. I look forward to meeting her someday.
However, I have been forgiven and healed by God. That really gives me a different kind of freedom that I am still getting used to. Praise God!