By Malindia Lentz
My friend “Anna” was pregnant. She was filled with joy and asked me to be the Godmother to her unborn child. Deeply honored, I said yes.
Anna had been pregnant once before, a pregnancy that was very difficult. She became violently ill and spent time in the hospital on several occasions. Her baby was born premature…and died in her arms the next day. Anna was devastated. She visited her baby’s grave frequently over the next few years. Tears would well up in her eyes every time she spoke about it.
The second pregnancy started out well, but Anna’s health started to decline shortly after she asked me to be the godmother. She had bouts of violent, almost constant morning sickness—something she was all too familiar with. Fear began to creep up – Anna felt this pregnancy was going to end the same way as the first. The morning sickness wouldn’t let up and her fear and anxiety rose each day at the same time her body was getting weaker. Emotionally, there was no way she could handle having another baby die in her arms. Anna began to feel that the only way to stop her violent sickness and to stop the baby from suffering was to end the pregnancy—-to have an abortion.
At the time (mid 1990’s) I was a bit ambivalent about it. I felt abortion was wrong and I couldn’t see myself having one—but I also saw the tremendous fear in my friend’s eyes and I didn’t want to see her go through the pain of having a baby die in her arms again. At the time we both probably felt it was just “tissue” as many people at that time thought.
I had been away from the church for 20+ years, so I wasn’t much help to her from a faith perspective. I basically thought, “she needs to do what she feels is best.” I didn’t try to talk her out of it. I felt it was something only she could decide.
Anna had the abortion on a Friday. She took the day off work and was back to work on Monday. She didn’t tell the father about it (I don’t quite remember – he may not have known she was pregnant). Anna didn’t talk about it after that.
A year or so after the abortion she began to suffer from depression and started having thoughts of suicide. A doctor gave her medication and that seemed to take the edge off. I don’t know if she ever connected that with the abortion experience. At the time I didn’t make the connection. Life just kind of went on for both of us. Sadly we have lost contact over the years.
The company I worked for closed the local manufacturing plant. The last few months of that year I spent traveling between Connecticut, Michigan and Indiana to prepare for the closure and transfer of tasks to other sites. I accumulated thousands of frequent flyer miles.
The following year I was reading a book called “Heaven on Earth” by Danny Seo. This book speaks of small things you can do to change the world. One of them was to donate frequent flyer miles to help provide transportation for children with medical needs. I called the number and donated the miles I had—36,000. A little while later I broke down in tears thinking I may have just saved the life of a child—-and all it took was one phone call.
That was a turning point in my life, the beginning of my journey back to my Catholic faith.
I didn’t see Anna very much during this time, but there were a couple of incidents that occurred that in hindsight were undeniably “God-incidents”, timed specifically to protect Anna or comfort her in a time of danger. Those incidents showed me that someone was watching over her, and guiding me to be there at the moment she needed someone.
My next job was with the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT in the Family Life/Respect Life Office. While there, I became involved in the Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry. Part of that ministry was to attend a retreat. Even though I am not post-abortive, I grieved the loss of my god-child lost to abortion, and felt guilty that I hadn’t done anything to save her life. It was very healing to me to go through that process.
The retreat center for the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats was in a building next to the Catholic Center. With the help of some volunteers, I was able to paint and decorate the rooms of the retreat center, which had been very plain. I wanted to do something to help the women and men on the retreat feel welcomed and loved. Each room is named for a Saint and they are decorated appropriately (roses in Mary’s room, wood in St. Joseph’s room, etc.). That experience helped me gain a better knowledge of the Saints and also showed me how the Saints work in our lives. There were several instances where someone donated a decorative item or image of a Saint (after the rooms were painted) that matched the decor perfectly!
The Unborn Children as Intercessors
A priest friend of mine at that time said that he believes that the children lost to abortion become intercessors for their parent’s salvation. It makes perfect sense to me when you think of the “Communion of Saints” and Saint John Paul II words of consolation in Evangelium Vitae:
The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.
The children of today are the modern version of the “Holy Innocents”. My God-child has been praying for me and her parents.
As I enter another transition period in my life I continue to try and discern God’s will. I was on a silent retreat last year and felt a calling in my heart to “help the children.” I have come to believe that this means I am to help the children lost to abortion intercede/help their parents come to know the love of Christ.
A couple of months ago I was in a church in southern Michigan that had an image of Divine Mercy in the adoration chapel. It was different than any other I had seen – Jesus looked like he had been crying. I felt the Lord was calling me to serve him in helping to “stop the tears”, and to reach out with his love and mercy and help stop the tears of those who have been hurt by abortion (and in turn help stop the tears of Jesus). I wasn’t clear how this would unfold, but I have faith that God will show me in His time.
Recently a friend gave me a handmade bar of soap that has the scent of baby powder. I found out a couple of days later that my god-child’s paternal grandfather died the day I was given the bar of soap. I had tears of joy, thinking my god-child was now in the arms of her grandfather. Perhaps that bar of soap was her way of letting me know things were good!
I haven’t seen or talked to Anna in a long time (I moved to a different state), and I have been unable to contact her. But I pray each day that she is ok and will find healing in her relationship with the Lord and her child.
In the meantime, I believe my calling to “help the children” and “stop the tears” begins with telling this story. I pray that all those affected by abortion will find healing through the love of Christ, Mary, His mother, and all the Angels and Saints.