Barbara’s Story

Hi, my name is Barbara and I’m from Idaho.  The year was 1985.  I was seventeen years old and I had just graduated from high school.  I had hopes and dreams to go on to college with a scholarship, to go to med school – pre-med and medical school.  And I just had this incredible hope for the future. 

Then one day I found out that I was pregnant.  And after really just thinking it over and looking at what I thought were all the options, I decided to have my baby.  I didn’t think my boyfriend would have a problem with it, but to my surprise the day I told him, all of that came crashing down.  He could not believe that I would even consider having the child.  After, you know, going through the discussion with him, and also my father who loved his daughter very much and knew that she had all of these hopes and dreams, he convinced me and my boyfriend that abortion was my best choice. 

So my mom one day drove me to the abortion clinic, and I can tell you for several months after that, that I can’t recall a single day – but that day is so vivid in my mind that I cannot forget it.  I laid on the table.  And I can tell you the nurse, she had blond hair, white lab coat.  The doctor, grey hair, grey beard, white lab coat.  And I laid there and I was shaking and I started to cry.  And I looked at the nurse and I said, “I don’t want to do this.  I changed my mind.”  The doctor got annoyed with me.  He said, “Oh, that’s normal; you’ll get over it.”  And then he said, “It’s too late.”  And we know that that’s a lie now.  It wasn’t too late.

After that I fell into this incredible despair.  I stepped into the abyss.  I turned to drugs, I turned to alcohol, to try to mask the pain that I was feeling and to escape from this incredible grief, because the day that I killed my daughter, I also killed myself.  That day, a part of me died.  My innocence and my hope was gone.  It took me eighteen years to come to a place to realize what my abortion had done to me.  It took two marriages, because I married twice, not because I was in love and I thought that I would be there for the rest of my life, but because I was trying to fill this incredible emptiness within me.  I was looking for a way, as so many women do to make my life make sense somehow, to make it better, because I didn’t know why I felt the way I did.  I didn’t know why my life was so different than I have ever imagined it would be.  I just knew that deep down something was incredibly wrong.

I’ve been blessed with four wonderful, beautiful children, absolutely wonderful.  My son is here tonight to witness this, and he now stands for life.  But I can tell you, after having two boys, I thought I was done.  As I approached my thirties, I began to yearn to have a daughter as well.  But I remember thinking within myself that I would never have a daughter because I had killed the one I was given originally.  I remember when I became pregnant with my third child after having a miscarriage.  I remember praying with all my heart and soul that God would grant me the grace of a daughter.  But deep within I didn’t feel that He would because I was waiting for that incredible punishment.  I was waiting to be punished, for Him to say, “No, you’ll never have a daughter, because you killed the one that I gave you.”  By the grace of God, He not only gave me one, He gave me two.  And now I have two beautiful girls.

In May of 2003, May tenth, to be exact – Mother’s day weekend, I attended the first Rachel’s Vineyard retreat that was held in our state.  I went as a helper, because when I saw the announcement looking for volunteers, I thought somehow in my head that I could help because I had had an abortion.  This was coming from a woman who had never admitted publicly or to anyone that she had an abortion.  So God got me there, in the guise of being a helper.  And I can tell you that weekend changed my life.  By the grace of God I came to know Christ once again in my life.  The separation for eighteen years that I had had from God was mended and bridged.  And I learned that Christ truly does forgive each and every one of us.  He just is calling us back; He wants His daughters back, He wants His sons back.  And He’s letting us know that now is the time: we need to be “silent no more.”