My Abortion: Then and Now
It may be hard for some to believe, but it is comforting for me to know that Moses, King David, and St. Paul all started out as murderers. You can call me Jane. That's not my real name. Extreme shame keeps me anonymous.
I had an abortion when I was 19 years old, single, a college freshman. That was 15 years ago. It has been a long journey to healing. My first reaction to the abortion was complete relief. I was ashamed to be single and pregnant. I had to do something quick. For 10 years following the abortion, I was in denial. I did not let my abortion experience bother me. I told myself it was okay, I had a good reason (so I thought). I pushed it out of my thoughts. It was my body. It was legal so I wouldn't be breaking the law. These were the thoughts that I used to justify my “choice”.
Around the time when I wanted to have kids, I began to have a moral problem with abortion and my “choice”. Friends would try to comfort me when I would confide in them about the abortion. “Stop beating yourself up” they would say. “Move on” or “it's okay, you had a good reason”. Their efforts to console me were unsuccessful. I became angry, but I did not know why I was angry. I took my anger out on my best friend. She was safe. On occassion I would yell at her for no apparent reason. Even I thought my outbursts toward her were irrational but I couldn't fully see that I was angry and I couldn't stop it. Through Reachout Healing Ministry, I learned that anger is one of the stages of the grieving process. My friends unintentionally denied my need to grieve which actually prolonged my grief and made it worse.
I have now learned that the pain from abortion manifests itself in different ways: denial, anger, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, drug or alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, loss of pleasure or aversion to intimacy, low self esteem, guilt, flashbacks. For me, it was anger and some of my friendships suffered because of it. No matter how many good deeds I did, I could not take away the guilt. I went to confession, but I just didn't "feel" forgiven. So, the anger remained. Finally, I had to admit I needed help to heal. Through Reachout Healing Ministry, I came to know my God, my healer.
Of course, facing my abortion “choice” was bittersweet because I had to experience sorrow and mourn the loss of my baby, Tabitha, before I could experience joy and peace.
God did not abandon me during the sorrow and mourning. I felt an incredible closeness to God throughout the counseling sessions at Reachout. It was actually a relief to talk about my abortion experience, like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I could finally tell someone who really understood my sorrow and did not deny or excuse it.
I praise God for he has turned my tears into dancing. Through the Reachout Healing Ministry I received the gift of peace, the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). I no longer feel guilt. I am no longer angry. And now I know God will use my abortion experience for his good purpose because “we know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
We thank God for what he is doing for individuals who want help. And we praise God for the blessings He bestows on each and every person we see.
If you know of anyone hurting from abortion, please refer them to Reachout Healing Ministry at (520) 321-4300 for free and confidential counseling.