While this title may draw some new readers, I will warn you – I am a believer (Romans 10:9). I don’t just believe God exists. I believe that an Almighty God created our universe and all living things in 6 days (Genesis 1), that He literally breathed life into the human beings He created in His Own Image (Genesis 1:26-28). That He desires more than anything else to have a walking relationship – hand in hand, heart to heart – with each individual that has ever been or ever will be born (pretty much all of Scripture), but that because of our own sinful nature (Romans 3:23) we have been separated from our Holy God (Romans 6:23). He is not satisfied with that, so He sacrificed His Own Perfect Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16) – born thousands of years ago – to stand in our stead & pay for our sin with His Blood. Because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice and His willingness to cover the sin that would separate us from God, a way back to a walking hand in hand, heart to heart relationship with God was established. It is ONLY by faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8) that one can be restored to this rightful relationship with our Holy God, and it is ONLY by Christ’s power that we are able to have life eternal with Him (John 3:15).
That being said – If you have read my adoption story, you may have noticed or just glanced over the part where I mention having an abortion. I intentionally did not detail my abortion experience there – although it is a big part of my adoption experience – simply because I need to address it separately. While I will not detail my actual abortion here – I will share the events surrounding my abortion, and subsequent experiences.
I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant. It was shocking – it should not have been – but my pride gave me the idea that “that” would never happen to me. In a turbulent relationship with a guy that my parents vehemently disapproved, I selfishly pursued my own desires and found the consequences of my choices rather abruptly.
I grew up in church. I grew up with the Word of God in my heart and in my mouth – and it wasn’t just something my parents forced me to do. I sought the Lord out – I craved to know Him personally and intimately – and for many years I did so. Until it made me the odd girl out. Oh – it didn’t MAKE me the odd girl out. It was that pride thing that fed my attitude – “all the other kids” got to do stuff, go places, date people as they wanted and my parents were just old-fashioned and didn’t want me to have any fun… sigh.
So I let rebellion seep into my heart – I began to avoid quiet time with my Lord and when the wrong guy came along – that was it. Despite repeated warnings about his doubtful character, I pursued this relationship with an unwavering dogged spirit.
And then I discovered I was pregnant. I can remember the slow-motion feel of that day and how shaken I was. I was just a Junior in high school. I was pregnant by a boy that my parents despised and had forbidden me to see. What in the WORLD was I going to do.
I got a message to the boy and we agreed to meet to discuss it. He so casually said we’d just have an abortion.
WHAT? But abortion means killing our baby! That’s what I thought – but did not say.
And so I agreed to make an appointment, have an exam, and set up the time to have the abortion. The whole time – my heart was screaming – YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS – but I chose to ignore my heart (as I’d already been doing for months and years) and the still small voice that said, “you don’t have to do this.”
Using a completely fake name – I went through with it – although at one point I wanted to stop, but had already been administered some medication and was told it was too late. I will tell you that I came to consciousness screaming. I was anesthetized, but still felt the white hot pain of the actual procedure and can pinpoint the moment my child’s life was extinguished.
Groggily being taken back to a “recovery room” – which was a small room lined with cots – I slept for some time. I woke up and another girl was in the room – she was talkative and said she was having her 3rd abortion. I could hear another girl crying and yelling somewhere in the background, too, and the “doctor” telling her to stop yelling or he wouldn’t help her…
The next time I woke up, it was time to go. There was a glass of orange juice, an Oreo cookie, and a Chips Ahoy cookie next to me. The nurse told me I should eat that to help counteract the blood loss. The talkative girl was gone, but another girl was sleeping in a different cot. I got dressed at some point and went to the waiting room expecting to see my boyfriend. He was not there. (This was before cell phones, so I had no way of contacting him.) So I had to sit in the waiting room.
I felt like there must be some kind of mark on me somewhere – a flashing neon sign – telling the world what I’d just done. The shame was IMMEDIATE. The guilt was IMMEDIATE. I saw other girls coming in and out and I wanted to scream at them – DON’T DO THIS. It’s NOT what you think it is! But I could barely hold my head up, let alone speak to anyone about it. Eventually my boyfriend came sauntering in – I say sauntering because he had this swagger and was laughing. I just experienced the most horrific event of my life – and he’s laughing.
At that point, my vision was cleared. It was something like eating that fruit off that darn tree, just like Eve.
My vision was restored and I saw my selfishness for what it was. And I realized the gravity and magnitude of what I had just done. And when I saw my boyfriend laughing, it was as if I could see that old serpent laughing as he crawled away…
I made it home – was supposed to have bedrest for a couple of days – so I “faked” a stomach illness to my family and managed to rest as much as I could. Took most – but not all – of the prescribed antibiotic and pain med given to me as I left the clinic. I stopped taking it after a couple of days – I felt I deserved the pain and if I got an infection, it was my own fault.
So the self-punishment began almost immediately. This is all happening during a time when my mother was experiencing some physical symptoms that could not be explained. Until a week or two after my abortion. She had a brain tumor. (That was probably MY fault, I thought…)
After my mom’s surgery, she came home to a serious recovery – and I discovered I was pregnant again. Did I mention that not only was I sinful, but I was seriously STUPID? (And Yes, you can get pregnant after just one time…)
Then my grandma died. Now that HAD to be my fault – my sin was just destroying everyone around me. Nobody said this to me – nobody preached this to me – only my boyfriend knew about the abortion at this time. This was ME telling myself that my sin was causing all these other terrible things to happen around me.
This is where I can look back and see the first symptoms of PAS. They started in the waiting room after my abortion – but recognizing the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms I experienced for many years takes me back to this time where I was constantly reminding myself of what I’d done. And torturing myself.
I had nightmares. I had flashbacks. My periods changed to heavier, more painful periods. I was depressed. I was obsessed with the topic of abortion and wrote a term paper including graphic photos of abortion during my senior year.
And then I was pregnant again. And somehow through that pregnancy – I felt the hand of God reach down and pick me up and hold me. The overwhelming, encompassing grace of my Lord Jesus wrapped me up so tightly I could no longer be depressed. I wasn’t happy that I was pregnant again – I was scared. I knew one thing for sure – I would NEVER have an abortion again. And there was something redemptive about having this opportunity to make a DIFFERENT choice – it almost felt like a second chance to do it RIGHT.
Now – I am not saying that I did not face my consequences, or that I have not suffered emotional loss, pain, damage, etc., in my life because I gave birth to my second baby and gave him up for adoption. I am not saying that my sin held no consequence for me. It did. But the grace of our God goes beyond sin, and I felt Him again. I felt Him reaching for me. Despite what I had done. Despite my own self-loathing – God gave me love and grace and mercy.
That did not erase the resulting emotional trauma I experienced. I have had dark days. I have experienced many symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome(PAS) (anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, depression, mood swings, the list goes on) and I had moments where ending my life seemed the only option. And then the face of a beautiful little blonde boy with a smile like mine would flash before me – and I would think about the son I’d given birth to – who was no longer mine – but who lived because of me – and I would find peace. And God gives endless grace through these times…
I am still recovering. Over 20 years later, I still feel the effects of my abortion. I have had difficulty bonding with my girls. I’ve experienced post-partum depression. I have and have had mood swings, anger, bouts of depression & anxiety – these are all effects that haunt me still. I have also experienced great healing and restoration where my abortion is concerned. But there are scars.
And yet there is this young man who is living because I had an abortion and could not even consider aborting him. (Listen – I’m NO hero and I don’t deserve any applause for this. People have told me I was brave – but I wasn’t. I was desperately avoiding repeating a mistake that I regret.) Because of his life – I found so much grace and mercy, not solely in my relationship with my God – but also at the hands and through the heart of his mother, and that is why my adoption story appeared first. Because despite my struggles, there is so much more grace and love than I ever imagined.
I’m sharing this today because it is important that people step outside the abortion “debate” and see it beyond its “hot topic” nature. It goes beyond “rights” and debates. Real people are involved. Real suffering is involved. And Real Healing is available.
Here’s the clincher: If abortion had not been so readily available to me – I would not have this story to tell. I was not pregnant as the result of incest or rape, but this option was there, and I foolishly took it.
Visit Deanna’s blog for her story.
Visit Carla’s blog for her story.
Forgiven & Set Free
Do you want to know the REAL story behind Roe v. Wade? Go here.
For Quick Facts, Abortionists‘ stories, PAS, check the links provided.
UPDATE: 20+ years later, the lingering effects of my abortion are not as easily observed. There are a few issues – which motherhood itself raised to the surface of my emotions – and God is bringing more healing & grace to me. I sought out post-abortion healing & restoration through a church group who offered the study “Forgiven and Set Free” (see links above) and it profoundly affected my life for the better. Giving birth to my 2 daughters restored parts of my soul that were wounded in the destruction of my first child’s life. I am looking for ways to help at a local crisis pregnancy center or to reach other women & men who have suffered from their life choices. Scars remain but healing comes.
I welcome your thoughts, your feedback, your comments. I take editor’s rights to moderate – this story is shared with the SOLE purpose to help others.