I'm sure that Emily has blogged about this before, but Susan Swander is a post-abortive friend of ours who started an email group, HealingVoices, for post-abortive women, especially those who have already begun the healing process, to share their thoughts and feelings or just read others' and just not feel so alone. Susan wrote,
One of the things that I’ve discovered is that not everyone is in the same place about sharing their stories. There are some folks that are struggling with the decision to tell family and friends and to speak out.Susan's recent experiences on Oct. 2 (Respect Life Sunday) touched me, and I thought it valuable to share with our readers, with Susan's permission:
Rather than share about my "speaking out" struggles on the email group Companions On the Journey list (to which I also belong: another absolutely wonderful part of my healing journey), I decided to start the HealingVoices email group (with some prompting from my friend, Leslie Graves). [UPDATE from Susan: "The email group Oaktrees mentioned here was re-named Companions On the Journey. The link that was given with the Oaktrees reference is actually for the RV Oaktrees email that goes out to post-retreat people. That's why we changed the name to COTJ - to avoid that confusion."]
This HealingVoices e-group is intended to be for ALL of us who are choosing to speak out about our abortions and our healing. This e-group will hopefully be a way that we can start to connect with and encourage each other.
On the suggestion of Leslie and some other friends, I am writing to invite you to join this email group to share with us. If you are interested, just send me an email at email@example.com and I will add you to the group.
I spoke briefly at all 4 of my parishes Masses. I also attended all 4 Masses, which is a record for me. It was amazing to participate in 4 Masses in 24 hours.
My priest introduced me by saying, "Now we'll hear some reflections on one aspect of Life." What a lovely introduction; I really like the word "reflections". He also gave a great homily on Life - very tough and honest.
Although I didn't go into a lot of detail, I did identify as being a post abortion mother who is healing from post-abortion syndrome (PAS). I asked everyone to pray for all those affected by abortion. During my talk, I knew God was with me and I knew my 4 kids were there with me, too. I could feel them all supporting and loving me.
My talk was very well received. I saw lots of kleenex come out. I had people hug me, thank me & tell me that they had never thought about the effect of abortion on the mother, father, families, etc. I had one woman tell me that her sister had an abortion 15 years ago, but they've never talked about it, and another one said that her family has been "touched" by abortion, but they've never dealt with it. I gave both ladies a Rachel's Vineyard pamphlet and the pamphlet that my buddy Suzie & I put together. Another woman asked me for the pamphlets but wouldn't look me in the eyes; I knew they were for her. I wanted to just grab her, hug her & tell her to go to a retreat - that there is healing. But she was so withdrawn and scared, I didn't. My prayers go with her.
So, all in all, it was a remarkable experience. And, then after the 12:30 Mass, we had a Life Chain on the main street of town. It was well-attended and the rain held off after one heavy spritz at the start. I carried my "I Regret My Abortion" sign. We got lots of honks & thumbs up, along with a few "middle fingers" and thumbs down. At least we were noticed!!!
So, all in all, it was a terrific Sunday. Thank you God.
Blessings to all,