For most of my childhood I had an absent birth father and a less than loving step-father. By the time I was a teenager my mother was divorced twice. I then had to pick up the slack at home with my younger siblings because of my now single mother’s work schedule. I guess I would call myself a ‘textbook case’. No father figure around, low self-esteem and looking for love in all the wrong places.
At the young age of sixteen, I moved out of my mother’s home and into an apartment with my older boyfriend. A few months later I found myself pregnant and no surprise, single. When I went to my mom and informed her of my situation, she actually kept quite calm and told me she would support me.
I had not even considered abortion until this point. After the initial shock wore off, my mother and grandmother proceeded to inform me that if I kept the baby I would have to ‘forget about college’. They said that ‘no man wants a woman with a child’ and that I would ‘struggle for years financially’. I think the worst thing that they said had to be that at that point in my pregnancy (six weeks), ‘it wasn’t really a baby yet, just a group of cells’.
This ever-growing list of cons was not followed by any pros, rather the phrase, ‘You decide.’ Well, being sixteen, scared to death, confused, and deceptively misguided, I was at a loss for what I should do. Everything inside me was telling me that abortion was wrong. However after numerous conversations and an ever-present pressure that abortion was the best thing to do, I gave in.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The clinic workers were so cold and the entire place was vacant of any morality. The doctor who murdered my baby even asked me at one point ‘why are you crying?’ I knew before I went that it wasn’t right, however when I walked into that frigid room I was literally debilitated. I felt like there was no turning back and no escape.
That day I went home in tears and cried for days. No talking, just crying. My mom swept the whole thing under the rug and never brought it up again. I was never able to speak to a counselor or support group. I suppressed these emotions for over five years. After I got married and started having children with my husband it all came flooding back, times ten.
WHAT HAD I DONE!
I spiraled downward into an abyss of sadness and pain. My depression worsened day by day and it became difficult to function. My husband was extremely supportive, however I felt very alone and confused. After a while I finally hit bottom and I found God waiting there for me with open arms.
I began to read the Bible and study God’s word. It took a few years before I realized that I was forgiven through the blood of Christ. As wonderful as that was, I still struggled to forgive myself and to figure out what I was supposed to do with all of it.
In the spring of 2009 my husband and I decided to do a charity bike ride for the Pro-Life action ministries. You see at this point in my healing God started to pull on my heart very hard to use what I had gone through to help others.
The morning of the ride my husband bought me a single rose to represent my baby. He fastened it to my bike and it went along the whole ride with me. When we finished the ride, we went to a beautiful park that had a stream which leads into Lake Superior in Duluth (my favorite place on Earth). We walked until we were alone and I sat by the water and I cried. I cried and I prayed. Then I apologized to God and to my baby for what I had done. Then, I let the rose go. It floated down the stream, over some small waterfalls and out of sight. This was so beautiful because I was finally able to say goodbye, forgive myself, and literally let God wash the guilt and pain away. I understood at that moment that I was unable to let go before because I wasn’t ready to. It is all in His timing and now I have a special place to go and remember my baby.
As soon as we got home I talked to my mother and grandmother about everything. I asked the questions that had gone unanswered for all those years. It was very hard to hear what they had to say. I couldn’t believe that they really didn’t know what they were doing. They really did believe that it wasn’t really a baby yet. All of the other things they said were just said in an effort to convince me abortion was the best option. My mother even admitted to me that she had no idea what they were going to do to me when I walked into that room. (wow!). She didn’t know until I told her years later. They both apologized and said that if they knew then what they know now they would never have told me to do it. The words ‘I’m Sorry’ made it suddenly so much easier to forgive them. That was when the light went on for me.
I needed to do whatever I could to educate others and hopefully stop people from making the same mistake that I did. We did another pro-life charity ride a few months later and then I found out about Forty Days for Life. The first day I went to pray in St. Cloud at the Planned Parenthood. I was TERRIFIED! Up until this point I had only told a few people about my abortion. This day I was going to stand in public holding a sign that said, ‘I REGRET MY ABORTION’. As I approached the other volunteers my heart was pounding in my chest and it became hard to breathe. When I opened my sign up, I was frozen with the fear of judgment.
Then to my complete surprise, I was met with love, hugs, and encouragement. That was a beautiful moment of empowerment for me! The second I turned around and showed my sign to the world everything was made clear to me. This was what I was supposed to be doing. I have gone every week and will continue to do so. My mother even went with me one week. There is nothing that will hold me back now and I will share my story with anyone. I can do that freely now because I understand that standing up for the unborn and the uneducated is not about my comfort. It’s about allowing God to use me, my mistake, my baby, and my journey for a greater purpose.
God is amazing and full of grace. After fourteen years of pain, Forty Days for Life helped me to discover the last piece of my healing. I will never ever forget, but I am and always will be free.
‘Behold, I make all things new…’ Rev. 21:5
With all my heart, in His Holy Name,