I must admit, sometimes in this abortion debate I feel like I am floating on the periphery, looking on, while the world dissects and argues about abortion, and concerning the unborn and the women who have them.
For me, as a post-abortive mother, it is much more personal. It is about reclaiming my child.
It is about relationships, family, and my son, who is now “living in the Lord” (Gospel of Life, JPII).
At seventeen years old, I hid my pregnancy from my parents for over four months. When I finally told them, I was asked to leave the house and forget that I was their daughter. Coming from a Catholic family, it was the one scenario I had not played out in my head.
Staying temporarily at a friend’s, the pressures to abort began: I fought with the baby’s father, and my own father began having my sister call me telling me to have an abortion. With no job, no money and no place go, in the end, I gave in to his demands — like many other women, it was not because of free choice, it was because I felt I had no choice.
The trauma of that day is still vivid in my mind, with no one telling me the development of my son or anything about the procedure I was about to undergo. I had a saline abortion in a hospital room by myself. After many hours of labor, I gave birth to a dead baby boy. To this day over thirty-five years later, I can still see him clearly and remember thinking, “How can this be legal?”, but it is.
I know some people reading this will say I have no right to claim my son having aborted him, and, they are right. I am a sinner deserving of nothing but eternal damnation. But, thank God, His ways are not our ways.
God desires for those of us who are post abortive to reclaim our children, because it is in doing so that I have found His peace. He gave my son to me. I may have rejected this wonderful gift of life, but it is STILL His desire that I claim my son. He is the God of second chances, and third chances, and on, and on, and on.
How do I know this? Because He has used this very son whose life I participated in ending through abortion, to bring me to Himself. He has used this unborn baby to show me the depths of His love and compassion for me, a sinner, and to teach me true love. He has shown me His desire to forgive me and have me united to Him in heaven.
It took years to find healing. First I had to develop a relationship with Christ, for it was only in knowing Him and His love and forgiveness that I was able to look at my abortion honestly so that I could heal. I also had to learn about the psychological aspects of abortion, and why I reacted to certain things the way I did. For instance, I struggled for years with the issue of abandonment. Lastly, I needed to learn to forgive those involved, including myself, and to reclaim my son.
My healing came one night as I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom crying and in deep pain. In my anguish, I finally trusted Christ enough to climb on the Cross with Him and surrender my abortion. In this act, instead of the pain I imagined would come, Christ immersed me in His mercy and love. It was as if it poured over me, and I knew in that instant, I was healed of my abortion. I recognized fully that healing from my abortion was not about me and what I had done, but about Christ and what He had done; He died for my sins, even my sin of abortion.
Recently, someone I have known and cared about for many years made a statement about post-abortive women. A stanch pro-lifer, she did not think the mothers should be part of the abortion debate, the focus should only be on the baby. She went so far as to say that abortion continues because the pro-life movement has placed some of the focus on the women. She is wrong. Ending abortion is not just about the babies, it is about sanctifying families and teaching them how precious each life is, even the life of the mom who may have an abortion, for He came to draw all men to Himself.
It makes me sad when I hear this judgment. My sadness however, is not for myself, but for those who judge. In my acknowledgment of my terrible sin, and my need for God’s mercy, I have come to know Him, who is mercy Himself — mercy we are all in need of, no matter what our sin may be, and mercy that He has for each one of us, because of His great love for us.
It is this knowledge that allows me to do the work I do and not be moved by judgments I may receive and hear. My faith and trust is in God because I know Mercy.
So, although the judgments of others may be true, it is in acknowledging the truth of those judgments in the light of God’s love and mercy, that I am forgiven. Christ brought Himself to me through my son whom He has always desired me to claim as my own, both before and after my abortion.
Praise God for His Mercy!