The Post-Abortion Review
Case Study: Carolyn "Allen"
I was 24 years old, and had recently had sex for the first time—outside
of marriage. I had grown up in a Christian home and was already ashamed
and ambivalent about my sexual relationship. Then I got pregnant
right off the bat.
I had a pregnancy test at my ob./gyn. and she told me she didn't think
I was pregnant. She thought I might have a tumor, because my uterus
was enlarged. I "prayed" for cancer. But I turned out to be
pregnant; I found out the next day.
I was panic stricken. I couldn't believe I was pregnant.
I immediately blurted out, "I have to have an abortion." I had never
even thought about it before, but that was the first thing that came to
mind. I told my boyfriend I was pregnant, but we didn't discuss what
to do. I left him just assuming I would have the baby.
I told no one else. I had asked my doctor for sleeping pills until
I could have the abortion four days later; I don't think they worked.
I didn't want to think; I just wanted to get it over with.
I wondered if my baby knew what I was planning. I talked to my
baby and apologized. But mainly I just wanted it to be over.
I thought I could cover my sin, erase the past few months, break off my
relationship with the father, and start over—just as though none of it
had ever happened.
My abortion was a cowardly, selfish decision. I saw it as my whole
life being "over" if I stayed pregnant. I didn't even consider any
other options. I chose myself over the baby.
I had a D&C abortion at a women's hospital in Washington, D.C.,
under general anesthesia. I was scared and upset, and when they came
to put an IV in my arm I told them I didn't want to be put to sleep until
I had seen my doctor. They told me it was just vitamins, but then
put the anesthesia in anyway. So I don't know to this day whether
my own doctor (a woman) did the abortion, or one of the men who was standing
there as I went to sleep. I just remember feeling the stuff in my
arm, calling out "No!" and then I was out. I don't mean this to say
I was going to change my mind about the abortion. I wasn't.
When I woke up in recovery, I asked if they would just tell me if it
was a boy or a girl. A nurse harshly responded, "It's just tissue.
There's no way to tell."
I took a cab to the hospital and took one home. I wanted to do
it all by myself, so no one would know. I felt so alone.
I felt a huge, gaping hole, an emptiness, right away. I also felt
terrible guilt. I turned away from God completely, because I could
not face Him with my abortion. I felt I had passed the point of no
return—just gone too far. That was an unforgivable sin. And
I had gone into it knowing that. It was sort of like I sold my soul.
I immediately began a pretense. I went back to work ("I was just
a little under the weather last week," etc.) I tried hard not to
think about it.
I did have to tell the baby's father. He was very hurt and upset,
but he said he understood and he still wanted to marry me. I had
planned to break it off, but now I thought that no one else would ever
want me, and I had hurt him so much. So I married him.
My wedding was three days after my baby's due date. I pasted a
smile on my face and pretended to be a happy bride, but I was thinking
about my baby.
I began to drink a lot to be able to get to sleep, to not think.
My relationship with my husband went downhill immediately. I now
understand the rage and hurt he must have felt over my aborting his child
without even telling him first. But I was just so wrapped up in my
own hurts I didn't think about that then. We never talked about it.
He was abusive, and I accepted it. I would hear in my mind, "So
what's your problem? At least he didn't kill you. You killed
I wanted to die, but I was afraid of hell. I even felt guilty
about not committing suicide: "You didn't have any problem killing your
baby. Why get cold feet now? You deserve to die! You're
not only a murderer, you're a coward!" I wanted to be in a coma.
I guess I thought I could wake up in 50 years or so and be able to deal
with it then.
Six years later, we were divorced. I had been stuffing my feelings
down or anesthetizing them with alcohol so long, and wearing a mask and
pretending for so long, that I felt numb. I remember getting out
of the car to go into a grocery store one day and thinking, "I'm even just
pretending to go to the store. I don't even exist." I felt
like a zombie.
The abortion changed me in every way. I went from being an outgoing
person who loved friends to being a hermit, not wanting to be close to
anyone. I thought they would hate me if they really knew me.
I became a heavy drinker—probably bordered on becoming an alcoholic.
I ran from God and hated myself. I accepted abuse and felt humiliated
over that, and all the while I had this gnawing emptiness. For 12
years I was in a state of non-growth—just existing.
I became a Christian while I was separated, shortly before my divorce.
At that time, I asked God to forgive me for my abortion, but I still felt
so numb. I didn't cry about my baby or anything. I felt hard-hearted
and unable to really confess. I wondered if I was really sorry, or
just regretted what had happened to me.
I told a pastor about my abortion, but just in a list of things wrong.
He didn't mention it again and neither did I. Then I saw a Christian
counselor who tried to convince me that I was abused as a child (I wasn't)
and we didn't deal with the abortion at all.
Three and a half years ago, I went through a support group that used
Women in Ramah, a Bible study by Linda Cochran. I was finally
able to face my abortion. I found God's promise to "take away my
heart of stone and give me a living heart of flesh." I asked Him
to do that for me and He did.
I finally was able to get over myself and think about my baby, come
to love my baby, and then grieve for my baby. And I was really able
to understand God's forgiveness—that all my self-punishment and misery
could not atone for my abortion, that there was nothing I could do to pay
for it, that Jesus died on the cross for my abortion and all my other sins,
and paid for my sins in full. God not only forgave all my sins, He
brought me peace and joy. Real joy!
My baby's name is Callie Anna. Anna is the name God gave me, and
it means grace. Now, when the "accuser" attacks, even my baby's name
reminds me of God's grace and forgiveness. Doing the Bible study
was the best thing I ever did for myself and I thank God for it.
Now that I have found healing and forgiveness, I am once more developing
friends, and am able to serve God however He chooses to use me. I
know God works everything for good, and I have seen Him use me to help
others now. After working through my abortion, and seeing how very
much God values each one of His creation, I am less critical of others,
and tend to see all people as precious in God's sight.
Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 7(4) Oct. - Dec. 1999.
Copyright 1999 Elliot Institute.