Abortion always Kills. God will always Forgive.
This is my story of abortion, denial and finally through the mercy of God, healing and forgiveness.
All the stories of women who have suffered from abortion (although each different in their own way) all have the same vein running through them, including mine. That we felt unable to stand up for our children and ourselves, the word that keeps coming to my mind is ‘frozen’. I felt compelled, pushed, forced, coerced and at the same time….cowardly, for not turning around and saying NO, this is my child, this is my body and my error in judgment was compounded by taking the life of my child, when I knew it was wrong.
My first abortion my mother (God rest her soul) believed was the only solution to the dilemma of a daughter that had stepped out of line. I refused to marry the man that ‘may’ have been the father. You see I wasn’t sure who the father was, I had been dating and sleeping with two different men. One man was honorable and the other was not. The honorable one wanted to marry me and give his child life. The other refused to acknowledge that he could be the father. I decided to have this baby on my own and when I told my mother that…she exploded. How could I do that to the family? What would their church think of us? My dad was trying to become a ‘deacon’ in their church and that would not happen if his children where not upstanding citizens in the church. What about the effect of this on my brothers? I was selfish and spoiled to even think of having this baby, much less keeping ‘it’. I began to feel the pressure and I also became very afraid when I realized that my own mother was not willing to help me through this. She made the appointment for the abortion. She made the decision for the abortion and because I was uncertain, afraid and most of all a coward, I allowed her to maneuver me into that abortion. My abortion was a 2 day process as well and yes the money had to be paid up front. The first day my mother drove me to the clinic (in Eugene Oregon) that was February 24, 1974 (1 year 1 month & 2 days after Roe v Wade). They inserted the laminara and told me to go home, they gave me 2 valium to take, 1 for that night and 1 for in the morning I was to take the 2nd pill. My mother picked me up and drove me there. I don’t remember too much more other than I was scared, I asked if I could change my mind and the doctor said that since the laminaria had already been inserted that the fetus was already dead. They where just going to do something similar to a D&C…no problem, not to worry, the fetus was dead wouldn’t feel a thing. They covered the two bell jars with a small cloth and began the suctioning…the cover slipped off the jar and I saw the color red…that’s all I remember. I remember walking out and being told to go out this other door; I didn’t get to go out the same door I came in.
I remember being numb…totally numb and my mom taking me to some restaurant to feed me. Funny, I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t angry, I didn’t cry….I just sat there and my mom said…’it’s for the best, honey, now you can get on with your life.’ Right…I could go on living, so over the next 3 years I did what most of us do after something like that. Deny it! Forget it…try to get up every morning like it matters. What ever you do….NEVER talk about it…if I tried my mother would say “Honey, you just have to forget about ‘IT’. Don’t be so melodramatic…grow up, life goes on.” Melodramatic, a word I heard often over the next few years. I hate that word, it is used so poorly.
I met a man in January 1977, he was 36 and I was 23 and moved in with him on Feb 2, 1977. Yeah…not married, not attending any church, drinking a lot and thinking that this man loves me…right. He was going through a tough divorce and I knew I was just what he needed and he was just what I needed. He was kind, debonair, good looking and he had children, 2 that where his own and 2 that where his ex-wife’s that he helped raise. The perfect family. As soon as his divorce was final we where to be married and we where going to have 1 child of our own, it was ideal. He lied, when the divorce came through he had decided that he wasn’t ready to get married. The end of June he decided to have a vasectomy and told me that he didn’t want more children, he had plenty. In July I found out I was pregnant and he was furious. I could have this child and I would be o! on my own, no help emotional or financial….or I could have an abortion. I would help him raise his children as my own and they were already here and needed him. I was numb, I had even told him early on that I had an abortion; he was sympathic and wanted to give me a child, now it was different. He didn’t want to have another child and he made it perfectly clear..him or the baby, his children already living or the baby. My mother had earlier made it clear that abortion was an option and okay. I fought him, I begged him and I cried to no avail. I made the appointment, I drove myself there on day 1 (insert laminaria) and on day 2 he drove me in and waited outside as I went into that dr. office, alone. When I came out he didn’t ask me how I was. This was our weekend for his kids and we drove directly there from the doctor’s office. 150 miles, then turned around and drove 150 miles home. I cooked, I cleaned and I cared for his children that weekend….dying all the time inside. No time for weeping, no one to talk to and wanting to die every step I took and too scared to take my own life as much as I wanted to. But, I kept picturing how the children would feel and I couldn’t do that to them, I was already packing enough guilt for all of us. We never spoke of that abortion…ever. He never asked how I was or if I was okay, I never went in for a ‘follow up’ with that doctor. I shoved all of those feelings and pain so far away. I smoked marijuana daily from August 1977 till October 1987, I got sober and I got a good job and I had an affair with my boss the end of 1987 and left Glenn for 2 months. He called and begged me to come home and I did. I missed Jack & Sadie (his children). In 1989 I took another job and my boss was the same man I had an affair with in 1987. He made me feel special when no one else did. So I started up with him after I left Glenn for good on August 7, 1990. The hardest part was telling Sadie & Jack and they where angry that I was leaving their dad. I haven’t heard from them since I left and as of today it has been almost 14 years. I came to my senses in January 1991 and ended the affair with my boss.
I still hadn’t talked with anyone about my abortions and I didn’t think about them anymore either. I avoided pregnant women whenever possible.
On April 1, 1991 I called up an old friend Bruce Marcy, I had 2 tickets to the soroptomist ball and asked him to go with me. He thought it was a joke (it was April fools day) and when I told him it wasn’t and that I wasn’t going to ask him again, it had taken me 4 hang ups before I finally had the courage. He said yes and we have been together ever since. He supports me in every endeavor and encourages me as well.
We made a decision to marry and on October 10, 1991 we became husband and wife. We also began looking into having his vasectomy reversed. He had been married before and had two lovely daughters Nancy 23 and Lesa 18. Lesa had given birth to a son on April 14 1991 and I became an instant grandma! What a joy. Nancy was still working on getting pregnant…that would come later. Bruce and I found out that it was not an inexpensive surgery to have his vasectomy reversed and decided that we would first purchase a home and then save up the money required for the reversal.
In March 1993 I was awakened in the night by a ‘funny’ feeling…I threw back the covers stood up and realized that there was blood all over me and the bedding and some of it was on Bruce. I was hemorrhaging. My immediate thought was to clean everything up, before Bruce woke up and was shocked. (My husband is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran with a severe case of PTSD) While I was in the bathroom cleaning myself up Bruce stumbled in and asked what was wrong. I told him that I was okay but I was bleeding a little more than normal (still trying to make everything okay…that’s me the fixer), he soon discovered that everything was not just a ‘little’ more than normal and he demanded that we contact the doctor. We went in to see the doctor and after an exam and a long discussion (where I finally told someone other than Bruce about the 2 abortions), that is when my doctor told me that he would have to perform a hysterectomy. My uterus, ovaries and bladder where all involved…one big black blob was all I could see on the screen. It was the end of my dreams of motherhood. I didn’t have any choice in this matter at all, I had used my choices up.
This is when I realized that I needed more in my life and I began my journey to God. Yes I and my husband are the prodigal children from the bible and Thanks be to God we were welcomed with open arms, a True Feast and rejoicing the likes I’ve never experienced and my husband was just as moved and welcomed. We were not raised Catholic, as a matter of fact my husband was raised Mormon and I was raised in sometimes Sunday go to meeting church. I had a friend that asked me to attend church with her one Sunday (she said, “It is a Catholic Church and I said sure, why not”), we went and I witnessed the True Presence of Christ. I was overjoyed and filled with such awe, that not only did Jesus Christ die on the cross for me; He also came to me at every Mass! How do I get to partake of this, was my next question and that my friends is how I and my husband started RCIA in the fall of 1996. But before I could begin the classes I knew that I had to speak with Fr. Terry, I had to know if God (and the Church) would welcome someone that had ‘killed’ their own children. That was the longest walk I have ever made and when I arrived at rectory for my appointment and began to ask him if I could join the Catholic Church, I chickened out and only told him about the first abortion. I could not get the words out that I had 2 children that I had ‘aborted’. Once again I was a coward; fortunately God knew and made my confession whole, even though I couldn’t get the entire story out. Fr. Terry was saddened that I would think that I wasn’t worthy to be a child of God. Reconciliation was the first step in a long journey to healing and thanks be to God I took that first step and Fr. Terry was there to welcome me. My husband and I started this journey together and the journey has been one of the most joy filled times in my life.
On June 13, 1997 my mother died of brain cancer, but before she died we had a long talk about our life together. She needed to ask me to forgive her for “pushing” me into an abortion that I didn’t want and that she knew how that decision had led me to make a second bad “choice”. My mother died with not only my forgiveness but also by forgiving me for my anger toward her. I know that our Heavenly Father loved my mother and also forgave her . . . long before she knew to ask. She is reunited with her grandchildren in heaven and they are all waiting for my arrival, when we will be rejoicing together.
My beloved husband Bruce has gone one step further in helping me to be a peace with God, myself and my two children. He built a ‘Children’s Garden’ in our back yard, he built this garden not only for my 2 children but also for ‘all’ children that victims of abortion and for their mothers. What a loving act to do, not only for me but for all women like me that suffer the painful effects of ‘poor choice’. It was at that time that I prayed and asked God to help me name my children. The first name that came to mind was ‘Sarah’. While praying I had a picture in my mind of a guardian and then “Michael” popped into my head. My husband asked me if he could give them his last name, I was more than ‘overwhelmed’, I wept and in writing this I still do. So he spiritually adopted Sarah and Michael in 2001 when he (sort of) finished work on the Children’s garden. On July 4, 2002 Father Karl along with many friends from Cursillo came to our house for a barbeque and to witness the ‘blessing’ of the ‘Children’s Garden’. Father Karl said the most beautiful prayer for my children and for all children of abortion and then prayed for all the women that had lost their children to abortion.
With the help, support, and love of my husband, his daughters and our friends, God & I began sharing my story. It’s been a long time in coming. I have a long way to go, even yet. In the sharing one of my daughters by marriage decided that when she was pregnant with our twin granddaughters, to include me in the doctor visits where I actually saw them moving and heard their heartbeats. Both of “our” daughters included me at the moment of birth and try as I might I can’t tell you if seeing and hearing them in the womb or holding them at birth was better but I can tell you that I witnessed grace.
I have joined Silent No More and on January 22, 2003 I stood in the State Capitol building in Salem Oregon and shared my story (abbreviated of course) along with 11 other women, and in 2004 I also stood outside of the Capitol building with Silent No More and Oregon Right to Life. I have shared my story during Respect Life Sunday (weekend before and weekend after) I was able to speak at Holy Redeemer, Holy Trinity and St. John’s Catholic church. Prayerfully speaking out and telling the truth about abortion will keep someone else from making the same ‘poor choice’, but better yet change the vision of what a ‘women’s rights’ really are meant to be. The right to bear children in a safe and loving and welcoming environment, not be forced to ‘choose’ between the ‘wants & needs’ of someone who demands it and the life of her child.
It has been 30 years since my first abortion and 27 years since my second, there hasn’t been a day that goes by that I haven’t thought about either of my children Sarah and Michael. It is in their memory and for them that I prayerfully offer ‘our’ story of love and forgiveness. For isn’t that what Jesus teaches us, to love one another and forgive each other and ourselves. By loving one another comes forgiveness and in forgiveness we find our healing and in healing we ‘remember’ our children with love not shame.
Please feel free to share this with others, my prayer is that those that read my testimony/witness to the truth will finally understand that it isn’t just the babies that are killed by abortion, but a part of us that have taken that path…dies. But there is hope….Hope in the Name of God.
Jesus I Trust In You,