Testimonies

I am free to feel that grief and acknowledge the remorse of my "choice".

Melanie
       
I was around twenty and in college.  It was a time of darkness, depression and confusion in my life.  When I found out I was pregnant, I "heard" my mother's voice of instruction about the proper order of things (college, career, marriage, house, children).  I must have felt that the pregnancy would disappoint my parents because I didn't tell them about it until years later. I remember thinking I wished I hadn't been brought into the world so why bring someone else into the world.  

I had been through a series of broken relationships.  I did not want another relationship but still wanted to have sex.  Although I had 2 or 3 partners during this time period, I was "pretty sure" who the father was. I didn't tell anyone about the pregnancy except my older sister and this young man.  I remember my sister saying my life was over... it would no longer be my own.  I realize now that is because from her perspective she had missed out on career and was raising 4 children and living a bit vicariously through me.  I remember the young man seeming relieved when I told him I wanted to get an abortion.  

When I indicated I did not want to have the baby, my sister helped me call and set up the appointment at the abortion clinic in campus town.  She also advised me to drink a bottle of wine and smoke some weed to deal with cramping that I would have afterwards. She offered this advice from the perspective of having an abortion herself. 

I do remember seeing the doctor, maybe a few days or a week before the procedure.  He indicated I was very early along. I wanted to schedule the procedure right away because I was afraid, if I waited, that I wouldn't go through with it. I remember the probable father went with me for the procedure but I do not remember him being in the "counseling" session with the nurse prior to the procedure.  It was during that session that I remember asking the nurse if the baby would feel anything.  She responded, "Oh, honey it's just a blood clot the size of a peanut" and assured me it wouldn't feel anything.  I found out, years later, through an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry that this information was not accurate.    

I remember the monetary cost of the abortion was about $300 at this time.  I was not aware, until later, of the additional "cost" (psychological, physiological, etc.) of having an abortion.  The day of the procedure, the probable father and I went to the office and paid cash in advance.  It is still difficult to talk about the procedure, as it was quite traumatic.  I remember it seemed to take forever, even though it was probably all done within an hour.  I remember crying from the onset... silently at first but building to openly weeping.  I remember they couldn't get me to dilate and they were trying to calm me so they offered me some type of intravenous Valium.  I remember feeling something deep inside screaming "noooooo" but I tried to stifle it and make myself go through with the process.  Whether that cry was God, the baby or my inner self I do not know but I wish I would have listened and I wonder if they would have stopped the procedure if I had made that cry vocal.  But I did not.  So they got me dilated enough to suction out from my womb the "blood clot the size of a peanut" which would have most likely been my first born child.  

After the abortion procedure was complete, I was shuffled to the recovery room.  Before long, I was at my apartment, taking my sister's advice about weed and wine.  I tried not to allow myself to feel anything and would stuff it anytime it tried to come into my thoughts.  I used lots of drugs and alcohol to numb feelings.  That led to getting mixed up with a not so great group of people and I ended up dropping out of college anyway.  I ended up moving back to my hometown and getting involved in another relationship. I tried marrying that one and when we tried to get pregnant, it never happened.  My periods were all messed up.  I kept thinking I was pregnant because I would be 2 or 3 months late on my period but tests kept coming back negative.  Doctorss tried to say it was just my body getting regulated from going off the pill but after missing period for 6 months with negative pregnancy tests, I was referred to an OB/GYN.  They diagnosed PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome).  Prior to my abortion, I had never had problems with my period or experienced any of the other symptoms of PCOS that I have since become acquainted with.  My husband and I divorced. He made a baby with another woman.  

During this time, God re-initiated my childhood faith and I returned to the church.  Somehow, I heard about a bible study for woman who have had an abortion being done in a town nearby and I got plugged in with this group of about 5 women, found forgiveness and began healing.  The healing process has been a long process considering the abortion was such a short procedure.  At 40, I conceived and birthed my first child.  At 42, my second child was born.  After twenty years of infertility, both children were miracles, without medical intervention for conception.  Healing is a process.  

I had a miscarriage a few years ago as well.  I have noted a real difference in how people respond to miscarriage vs. abortion.  It's as if society allows women to grieve the loss of their children through miscarriage but not so with abortion.  People offer sympathy to women who have had miscarriages but not so to women who have had abortions.  While it is not deemed illegal and thereby deemed acceptable, we are not supposed to talk about it... that is deemed unacceptable and people act real uncomfortable if one acknowledges it.  At least that has been my experience and that of other women who have had an abortions that I have talked to.  It's crazy.  Society will allow you to take the life of your own child but does not allow you to grieve the loss of that child's life.  Grief is a natural response to death.   

There are always days when I find myself calculating how old that child would be if he or she had lived. I would probably be a grandmother by now.  Instead, I am an old mother trying to rear young children.  I thank God for His mercy, grace and second chances.  But having the children I have now and experiencing motherhood with them makes me wonder, at times, what life and memories were missed as a result of this earlier decision.  

Sin has consequences. Taking someone's life is a sin.  Forgiveness removes the guilt and shame that are natural consequences of sin. But forgiveness doesn't necessarily remove remorse.  Allowing oneself to feel remorse is actually what leads to forgiveness.  Remorse for wrongdoing keeps us humble enough to choose right-doing. I believe I have received the forgiveness I requested from God, my child and myself. But one of the consequences I have to live with is that I will always grieve the loss of the experiences of mothering that child.  

Because of forgiveness, I am free to feel that grief and acknowledge the remorse of my "choice".  This acknowledgement means I no longer have to deny or hide that remorse.  It means I no longer have to deny or numb that grief.  See it is because of that forgiveness that this remorse is without shame.  I can stand forgiven, in Jesus Name!  It is because of this forgiveness that I am silent no more!  

I want other women who have had abortions to experience this freedom in forgiveness.  If you have had an abortion and have not found this freedom, please seek out some help to find it. Help for healing is available! If you are pregnant and considering having an abortion, please choose life.  Even when things seem crazy, dark and dangerous in the world, life is ALWAYS the best choice!  God is good and ALL life is valuable to Him.  If you choose to value what God values, He will be faithful to provide EVERYTHING you need to walk out that choice.  Trust God.  Trust God to guide you into right choices. Trust God to provide for your needs.  Trust God to forgive, heal and restore.  Whatever is going on in your life today, trust God over it all.  God is good and loves us ALL more than we may ever be able to fully comprehend!  Trust in that LOVE!     


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