Before I Had Time to Think
It was May 19, 1973. I was pregnant from a date rape. I had tried to hide it from my parents but of course they found out. Then the pressure started. "How are you going to go to college with a baby?" "How are you going to support it?" "It is only a blob of blood. It's not a baby yet." Before I had time to think about what I wanted, the abortion was over.
The abortion itself was like a living hell. I thought my guts were being pulled out. It was degrading and I was terrified. When it was over, something made me ask the doctor, "Was it a boy or a girl?" He answered, "I can't tell. It's in pieces." The counseling consisted of throwing some birth control pills at me.
Its so hard to put into words how the abortion affected me. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I realize that I was going through almost classic Post-Abortion Syndrome. I became a tramp and slept with anyone and everyone. I engaged in unprotected sex and each month when I wasn't pregnant I would go into a deep depression. I was rebellious. I wanted my parents to see what I had become. I dropped out of college. I tried suicide, but I didn't have the guts to slit my wrists or blow my brains out. I couldn't get my hands on sleeping pills, so I resorted to over the counter sleep aids and booze.
When that failed, I then tried to make relationships work with men, any man. I was driven with a need to have a child and knew if I was married my parents couldn't do anything about it. Then I married in 1975. While my husband and I are still together, we have had to work extra hard because I married him for all the wrong reasons.
Five months after we were married my first child was born. I was in heaven. I doted on that baby. In three months, I was pregnant again. But this time we lost our baby at 6 months. Then the depression that I had conquered came back full force. I can remember thinking: "I deserve this pain. I killed a baby and now God has taken one from me. I deserve it." The doctor felt that I had a weak cervix, a common aftereffect of abortion, and that the weight of the baby was too much for it and she just fell out. Four months later I was pregnant again.
It is hard to explain this need to keep having babies, but I did. From 1976 with the birth of my first living child, to 1985 at the birth of my fourth and final living child, I was pregnant a total of eight times. With the birth of my last child the doctor didn't leave me any choice but to quit having children if I wanted to live to see the ones I had grow up.
In trying to deal with the abortion, I had to face what I had done and beg forgiveness from my God. The hardest thing of all is trying to forgive myself. It is a daily struggle to accept the forgiveness I know the Lord has given me. And I will never forget it. Only now I don't want to forget it, because it keeps me from getting complacent. I know if it helps others, I can talk about it. It always makes me cry, but if it saves just one mom and baby the pain, it's worth it.
I joined our local Right to Life and crisis pregnancy center. I have also had to forgive my parents. I can still remember when I walked into my Mom's house and threw down a picture of an aborted fetus and snarled, "See what you made me do?" She has since become pro-life herself and has told me how sorry she is. I still have to fight against my anger at my Dad, because he still won't admit the abortion was wrong, at least for me.
Do all these things help? That's a hard one. Sometimes it does and sometimes the depression is too strong and time has to pass. Not a day goes by that the abortion doesn't cross my mind. It is a constant struggle trying to overcome my guilt and depression, even knowing I have been forgiven. I dread the day when I have to come face to face with my little child and explain to her why mamma took her life. But I also think I am a softer, more caring person than I might have been. If not for the abortion, I might have turned out "pro-choice."
Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 2(1),Winter 1993 Copyright 1993 Elliot Institute