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November 6, 2018 (Priests for Life) – As a young boy, I used to lie in bed at night and wonder...God, why me?
I grew up an only child adopted at birth. When I was 8 years old, my father almost died in a car accident, leaving him totally disabled. My mother was diagnosed schizophrenic and had several mental breakdowns and suicide attempts. Verbal and physical conflicts were an everyday occurrence in my home. My father committed adultery when I was 9 with a family friend who used to have us over for dinner and card games.
When I was age eleven, my parents divorced and my mother bought a tavern. By the age of 15, I saw everything a child should not see. My father moved back in with us right before we bought the business and continued his alcoholic and gambling ways. My mother focused 90% of her time working at the tavern, and eventually found a boyfriend even though my father was still living with us. There was constant jealousy between the two as they played their relationships against each other. I felt abandoned and alone most of my childhood.
There were times when my feelings would surface as I struggled to express my pain and anger. This led to angry exchanges with my mother.
She would hold a gun to my head or chest as she threatened to shoot me. Sadly, this type of trauma was the norm for my family. After each incident, I just went about my business not thinking anything was wrong with my mother almost shooting me.
I held intense shame about my parents' actions and our overall family dysfunction. Having friends over to play or hanging out was never an option. Most holidays I kept to myself or went over to friend's houses. It was strange seeing "normal families" who loved each other and spent quality time together.
In my teenage years, I was considered a good looking guy and was successful at sports – which got me lots of female attention. For an insecure young man from a dysfunctional family, starving for love and affection, this was powerful stuff.
Young Love...and My First Abortion
In high school, I met a wonderful girl and fell into that intoxicating and immature love of youth. We soon began having pre-marital sex and faced an unplanned pregnancy. We felt our parents would kill us and friends disown us.
The decision was made after a 20-minute conversation. A friend of my girlfriend offered to drive her to the abortionist and the problem would go away. We both agreed and I offered to pay for the procedure.
Two weeks later my girlfriend had the abortion. One evening, I called her house not knowing that her mother had learned about the procedure. My girlfriend answered the phone and told me never to speak with her again or her mother would tell her father, and he would surely kill me.
I was so ashamed that her mother was aware of the abortion! Shame led to anxiety and depression. I had no one to talk to and nowhere to turn. How do you tell your friends that you helped kill your own child? Who can handle that type of drama? As a result, I kept everything inside and eventually became numb.
A Second Chance
In college, I met an amazing young woman and fell in love. We dated for one and a half years in a serious relationship. As the relationship deepened, we began having unprotected pre-marital sex.
I remember experiencing joy when she told me of our pregnancy. I felt God had forgiven me for the first abortion. I told her how excited I was to be a father and that I would marry her.
Her response to the pregnancy:
"This is not going to happen! We are not having this child! I'm almost 12 weeks pregnant, and I am getting an abortion."
I tried negotiating and offered many suggestions for solutions that would save the life of our child. She had no interest in anything I had to suggest. With my back against the wall, I offered to tell her family and the police that I got her drunk and raped her, thinking this might persuade her. I was willing to lie and go to jail to save our child.
Being an adopted child, I couldn't understand why she wouldn't consider placing the baby for adoption. She was usually the most loving, caring and a very spiritual person, and was from a loving family.
Now she seemed cold and calculated with no sense of empathy for the child or me. She explained that her parents would kill her, and her friends would disown her. She offered me no other choice but to man up, drive her to the Planned Parenthood and pay for the abortion. She called and set the appointment for the following week.
The time in between was hell for me. I slept very little and was an emotional mess. While I hardly ever prayed to God, now I was praying and pleading for him to help me.
When the day came, I drove her to the center and paid for the abortion. I remember the long drive was in total silence. After we parked the car, I begged her one last time not to have the abortion. I remember holding her hands and sharing what was on my heart. She kept saying no!
Back in the day, I knew very little about Planned Parenthood. However, because the name was Planned Parenthood, I was hoping they would counsel us and help us reason things out. Instead, I was directed to go to the back of the clinic to sign paperwork and pay. A person dressed as a nurse asked us if we wanted to donate the body parts for research. In my confused emotional state, I signed those evil forms.
I remember freaking out in my mind and panicking thinking this can't be happening. I wanted out! I felt like crying but did not want to hurt my girlfriend. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs stop as she went into the room, but nothing that I had to say mattered. As I sat there alone, my feelings went away, and once again I became numb.
The Descent into Hell
When she came out of the procedure, I'll never forget how she looked at me with such contempt and pain. I was tortured after the procedure feeling I did not fight hard enough for my child's life. This would exact a heavy toll on me in the days and years ahead.
I did not fully understand the powerful connection of abortion and my childhood wounds until I read a book by Kevin Burke called Tears of the Fisherman.
Kevin writes about men who experienced divorce, abuse and neglect as children and later have abortions:
When men experience neglect, abuse and abandonment from their fathers this rejection leaves the child with the experience of being emotionally aborted. A man who felt emotionally aborted as a child and later participates in the death of his unborn child magnifies an already deep and complex wound. He has the experience of being both innocent victim of childhood abuse and later a perpetrator by participating in the abuse/death of his innocent unborn child (or victimized again by being powerless to prevent his child's death.) The abortion experience connects in a very toxic way with that wounded child resulting in deep rage, depression, anxiety and acting out this complicated grief in destructive and self-destructive ways.
I suffered from major depression and attempted suicide after the first abortion. I tried overdosing on pain pills from a sports injury. All I wanted to do was stop the pain, but no amount of pills would help me. Over time, I developed delayed PTSD and OCD thinking about my lost children 24/7.
I had two vivid dreams in the aftermath of the abortions where I entered into a dark and empty cavern of despair. I felt the dreams were revealing my eternal destiny as a soul condemned to hell. I saw God at that time as a stern judge who already sentenced me to hell, as I was beyond redemption. I lost all hope and was filled with self-loathing for many years. How could I kill two beautiful children and hurt two people that I dearly loved?
For years, I was unable to put words to feelings. If someone asked me how I was doing, I would say "I'm fine." Faking happiness one day at a time was my mantra. I learned to trust no one, especially anyone who tried to get close to my heart. The only feelings I had were anger, self-hatred, and a strong belief that God also hated me. I suffered in silence too ashamed of myself to tell anyone about the abortions.
I tried filling the dark void by sleeping around with other women. However, nothing could fill the emptiness inside of me. As time went on, my depression got worse, and I was fighting it daily and by the hour. I felt this way for many years, unable put feelings to words.
I tried not to think about my aborted children because it was too painful. The emotions were too strong to handle. Seeing a pregnant woman or a newborn baby would depress me. I was unable to go to children's stores or baby section of a store without crying. I developed irregular sleeping patterns frequently waking up in the calmness of dawn going into the living room to cry my eyes out grieving the loss of my two children. I struggled with overcoming the numbness inside.
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