Forty years ago I had an abortion to erase the result of a date rape.
My world felt unreal until the icy cold instruments entered my body.
I felt severe physical pain.
Told to be still, I was assured it wouldn’t take long.
Next, I heard the sound of a high-pitched vacuum cleaner that sucked out the contents of my womb.
As I saw the bottle next to my right foot fill up with blood, I wondered, “Is there a baby? Is there soul? Who sees what I’m doing?”
There was a moment when I experienced a sense of death and the reality of a soul.
I cried from the depths of my being.
There was no turning back…no reversing the contents of the bottle.
Deep inside I knew that what was happening was wrong.
Something was broken, and I could not fix it.
This realization was devastating, I wanted to die.
Immediately after the abortion, I was sedated. I hoped I would never wake up.
Told to leave the abortion facility, I boarded a bus.
As I saw myself in the window, I remember thinking, “I hate you. You will never be able to fix this!” Self-hatred took hold of me.
As time went on, I tried to start over to get away from the guilt, shame and depression.
I changed my name, address, job and friends.
I lived in a secretive prison of self-hatred, and condemnation.
Turning to alcohol, drugs and sexual affairs to numb the pain, I fell away from friends and family and became suicidal.
In desperation, I found a counselor who validated all my feelings and called my past actions what they were, sinful.
The truth gave me so much relief that I thought the abortion was behind me.
I married. Abortion again took front and centre.
Pregnancy, babies, doctors, being a mother became abortion connectors.
To eradicate the fears, I poured myself into my job.
In self-loathing, I starved myself and smoked profusely.
With every puff and drink of alcohol, I swallowed the painful memories of the abortion.
Sounds of vacuum cleaners and dentist drills sent me into emotional anguish.
I couldn’t conceive, and thought God was punishing me.
Healing began with an ectopic pregnancy, which took the life of our son.
Grieving his loss, I found courage to face the abortion.
The image of an aborted baby, unbottled my tears.
My first pregnancy was a person, Sarah Elizabeth.
I would grieve her loss, ask forgiveness from her, from God and from others, with the help of retreats, such as Rachel’s Vineyard and Entering Canaan, and a weekly post-abortion support group.
This past summer, when I hit the fortieth anniversary of Sarah’s death, I discovered once again that healing is an on-going journey. Nothing prepared me for the gut-wrenching grief triggered by family weddings at this point in our life cycle. Losing Sarah, her brother, Joseph Michael, our genealogy, and our family life is agonizing.
Abortion did not undo the date rape or the positive pregnancy test. Abortion eliminated my children and robbed me of future children. Now, forty years later, I regret my abortion and will be silent no more.