an After abortion

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Sunday, January 1, 2006

Thank you for warmly welcoming me to the blog. I am grateful that you have invited me to share my thoughts with you. The more I write about my abortion, the more I heal. I hope that you will heal along with me.

My abortion came in the second trimester of a very much wanted pregnancy. My baby boy was the result of two vasectomy reversals for my husband and extended fertility treatments for me. Those four and a half months of pregnancy were the happiest days of my life. After an amniocentesis, however, my husband and I discovered our baby would be born with a severe genetic defect. Facing such a sad reality, we agreed we would abort our baby if he wasn’t healthy. We were both pro-choice. My husband still is.

In the wildest of my card-carrying liberal imaginations, however, I never dreamed I would actually have to follow through on our agreement. Before the diagnosis, I believed I should allow people to make their own choices and never judge them for what they believed they needed to do. I just knew my baby would be perfect, and I would never be faced with a difficult choice. Of course, my baby was wondrously made. I didn’t want to give him up to die, but I abandoned a mother’s love and stood by my word: an agreement is an agreement, I thought.

A sexual abuse survivor, I have always had difficulty finding a voice to speak what I knew in my heart was right. I believed my husband would leave me—a revelation that dismayed him when we attended Rachel’s Vineyard together. I couldn’t bear the thought of being abandoned by the best man who’s ever been in my life. Yet, I still have a hard time dealing with my choosing my husband over my son. As I retrace my thoughts at the time, I also still have a hard time dealing with my husband’s role in my choice. After all, he didn’t stop me.

Caught in the confusion of an unexpected turn of events, I had to decide how to free my son from suffering. I made the wrong choice. Knowing the decision was ultimately mine is the hardest part of all. I remember clearly the impulse to run at the start of the abortion procedure. I even whispered, “No.” But I stayed on the table. No one strapped me there, and the world was reduced to me and my son. I abandoned him.

As I lay on the abortion table a few days after my baby’s diagnosis, I surprisingly screamed out from the depths of my soul, “God, help me. Please help me.” I had stopped calling on God years before.

God heard me then and kept me alive. God heard me a year later as I cried out, “Help me, please help me,” from the locked ward of a mental hospital, where I remained for three weeks. I was depressed—and delusional. I believed I was possessed at the least; at the worst, I believed I was the Antichrist. God saw fit not only for me to regain my sanity, but also for me to start worshipping again.

It took me nine years to return to the Catholic Church after seeking God in a number of Protestant denominations. Although I didn’t run from my abortion, I spent years running emotionally afterward. The Church helped me with an annulment of my first marriage, a Convalidation of my second marriage, and healing through the wise counsel of my priest, my spiritual director, and Rachel’s Vineyard. Christmas 2004, I received Holy Communion for the first time in almost 20 years. I am now involved as a team member in Rachel’s Vineyard and in Silent No More.

I plan to seek spiritual counsel as long as my spiritual director will see me. We talk often about my abortion and my post-abortive ministry. Most recently, we have discussed the depths of God’s compassion. Jesus revealed in his Incarnation that compassion is even more important than truth. So today, I pray for the compassion of God to help in healing all of us who have made not just difficult, but devastating, choices. It is the compassion of God we share with one another that can make us whole again, that can bring us new life. May we all know this compassion in the new year.

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