When I was 13, I had an abortion. I was a victim of satanic rituals and sexual abuse from my uncle who was seven years older than me. Regardless of the fact that I was forced into my abortion, I still deal with the pain of remembering the loss of my son. Each year, during Lent, I get a little sad; this marks the time of many eventful memories regarding the abuse, and the conception of Ramon, my son.
I would have had him at Christmas time; December 22 was his due date, if I would have carried him the full nine months. But I did not get to do this. He was taken from me in the fourth month. I will never forget the fact that I was awake through it all. I was groggy from anesthetic, but I had to be awake because I was too young. My grandmother paid for it. She insisted to her gynecologist that this is what was best for me and the father; she would not even tell the doctor that the father was her son, my uncle.
I will never forget the excruciating pain and the sucking noises coming from the tubes which were coming out of my body. But first, before the vacuum, the doctor gave me some kind of drug to feel contractions, and anesthetic for pain. This happened before the idea of partial birth abortion was mentioned or understood. I remember seeing parts of my child in jars, and it was only then that I really began to understand what was going on.
I really did not understand what was happening to me before then. No one even explained what was going on. My grandmother, the doctor and the nurses only would say they would take care of my "problem," as if I didn’t even have a child in my womb; only a thing.
The doctor told me that I would be just fine. I remember holding the nurse’s hand and tears streaming down my face. I remember saying how much it hurt, and that I wanted the pain to stop, but the doctor never talked, he just kept working. I remember that I began to get a little hysterical, and they (two nurses and the doctor) pushed me back on the table in the middle of the "procedure." They secured me with straps to the table, with my legs in the stirrups. I started kicking my legs, which were also then confined. I began to scream, and the doctor told the nurse that was holding my hand to shut me up, and then she gave me something, probably more sedatives or anesthetic, through the IV, which they had started prior to the procedure.
It was very degrading, and it was my first actual experience at a gynecological clinic. I still have trouble to this day going to see a doctor for "womanly" needs. I still have to hold the nurse’s hand. I still end up with tears streaming down my face every time. I rarely go to the gynecologist; I know it is important for the sake of my physical health, but I just don’t like it.
I had a difficult time bearing my children later in life, because there was a lot of scarring in my uterine lining. I went through the pain of at least three miscarriages. When my third living child was born, the doctor asked me if I had ever had an abortion; I told him no. He said I was lying. My body still bore the marks of scarring from a badly done abortion ten years after it had happened.
With my son’s birth, I had to have an emergency c-section; they found cancerous cells in my uterus and the left side of my fallopian tube. I was told I had to have the left fallopian tube removed. The doctor tied off the other one and recommended that I do not have anymore children, and that each childbirth would get harder and harder, due to the scarring in my uterine lining.
I can’t help but wonder, now that my youngest child is ten years old, still, if it wasn’t from the abortion that I had so much difficulty. Ultimately, though, it was my three living children that have paid. I have had a very difficult time letting myself be the kind of mother I think I should have been. My maternal instincts were stolen from me. In contrast to many, it is a huge effort to hold my children. I am either extremely over-protective, or I have trouble with closeness. I love my children, and I would never harm them, but I am just not the mother they deserve.
Beyond that, I will never forget the child that I gave up to those glass jars. What they did with those glass jars, I do not want to know. I still have nightmares from the sexual abuse and the rituals performed, but I have nightmares about the abortion nearly everyday. I have not stopped confessing this since it happened and the guilt stays firmly embedded in my heart, even though I have been absolved of my sin over and over again. Accepting God’s grace even before I converted to Catholicism was a challenge. Until recently, only the priests I confessed to, my abusers, and I knew about the abortion. Once upon a time, I could not even say the "A" word outside a confessional.
Then I went on a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat; this opened the door to much healing and change of heart. I know I have the strength and the courage to share my pain with others now. It is because of the love and encouragement of the priest (Father Ramon Decaen) who sent me on retreat and my caring counselor and husband that I have this new-found strength.
I know I must share this story with others. I am working on a master’s degree in counseling, and I want to help others heal, and find courage in their own losses and stories. If we can stop other women from the pain I had to go through, then my life and my story and pain will have mattered. Women who were coerced into abortions have pain and guilt, too.