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Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion
 

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Never Forgotten
Paul
Illinois, United States

To see the video of Paul's testimony, click HERE

My name is Paul Deitche and both my wife, Maureen, and I have unfortunately lost one of our own children to abortion. Know that we truly regret ever having committed what we consider to be a heinous crime against a helpless, unborn, human being, let alone our own child. With both of us growing in our faith throughout the years, we are also well aware that we should have never put ourselves into the position of becoming pregnant without the bonds of marriage.

Many years ago, I was an 18 year old senior in high school, and Maureen a 14 year old freshmen. We found ourselves in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy. I can’t say an unwanted pregnancy because, in Maureen’s heart, she really did not want to terminate the pregnancy. But like most women, she felt she had no other choice.

I, on the other hand, when suspecting that Maureen was pregnant, was more worried about the legal ramifications of already achieving the age of 18. I knew Maureen’s parents could very well have me arrested. Marriage did not seem like an option either, considering Maureen’s age. And her parents would probably not allow that option even if it was a possibility.

When the pregnancy was confirmed, we were already at an abortion clinic. The only reason we went to this clinic is because they offered free and discreet pregnancy testing. Pregnancy test kits did not exist in the mid 1970’s like they do today. When the worker at the clinic told us that the test was positive, we walked out of the clinic which was located in a Chicago high-rise building.

It was at the elevators that Maureen broke down and started crying for fear of telling her parents, who were quite strict, hot-tempered, and clueless to the fact that their very young daughter was sexually active.

One of the workers at the abortion clinic came out to the elevator area and coaxed us to come back in. Maureen explained that she was terrified to tell her parents. The abortion worker told Maureen that her parents need never find out and that abortion was affordable and readily available without parental consent. Though abortion was never discussed between Maureen and I when suspecting she was pregnant, it now seemed like an easy out for the two of us. We scheduled the abortion for a day or two later.

Personally, at that time, I did not see anything wrong with abortion. First of all, it was legal. If it was something bad or unsafe, the government would surely not allow it. I also believed that it was not an actual baby or human being early on in a pregnancy. I figured it was just a bunch of cells that had not taken any human form yet. I had no idea that our child had any human form let alone a beating heart.

Maureen, on the other hand, at least understood the fact that she was about to lose a child. When she wrote her testimony many years later, she recalled having spoken to our unborn baby the night before the scheduled abortion and telling our baby that she wished she could have kept him or her. In fact, right after the abortion, Maureen was found crying in the recovery area because of her loss. The abortion worker told her that she was the only one crying and that she could have other children someday.

On the way home after the abortion, I felt relief while Maureen was feeling loss with a little bit of relief that her parents would never know anything of the ordeal she had just experienced. In the months to come, Maureen expressed her feelings of sadness.  I figured it was a temporary emotion and that she would get over it in time.

You also would have thought we would have learned from our past mistakes, but we found ourselves pregnant again less than a year later. This time Maureen, who was now 15 years of age, would not even consider having another abortion. She reached out to Illinois Right to Life which ran an ad in the newspaper under abortion alternatives. They helped Maureen break the news to her parents. Things were crazy and tumultuous for months to come, but Maureen’s parents allowed us to marry on Maureen’s 16th birthday, which was less than a month before her due date. We also moved into an apartment that her grandmother owned while awaiting the birth of our child.

We were blessed with a precious baby girl in August of 1976. I was amazed at her beauty and tiny little features. I truly felt that God had given us a wonderful gift. Maureen was also very happy but shared an incident that occurred when she was alone in the hospital room and holding our newborn baby. She began to weep because Maureen realized that she had taken a life of something just as precious. In her young years, she already realized that she was a mother of two. One child was alive and the other dead.

We took to married life and parenthood, although still in our teens, quite well. I worked and Maureen stayed at home with our daughter. My wife, though very young, was a born mother. Everyone remarked about how well she cared for our baby. However, Maureen started to have nightmares, which is not uncommon in post-abortive women. She would dream that something bad was going to happen to our infant daughter and that we might be punished for having had an abortion. I assured her that God was not out to punish us. Thankfully, we met with a wonderful and understanding priest and received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priest assured us that God had truly forgiven us, especially considering how sorry we were.

My wife and I eventually bought a home of our own and went on to have three more children. We were active in our faith and things seemed to be going relatively well. We very rarely spoke of our abortion experience because it seemed behind us. Little did I know that Maureen was going to experience trauma from the abortion more than ten years down the line.

After our fourth-born child, Maureen experienced post-partum depression. She became quite anxious and was worried that she might be a possible danger to our infant daughter. The anxiety grew to the point that she was worried that she could be a possible danger to all of our children. I had assured her that she would never harm any of our children. She sought out counseling and was told the same.

Even though my wife was experiencing this internal suffering on and off for years, she continued to care for her family in the most loving manner. Maureen was often plagued with the most terrible thoughts. Even though most people in the mental health field might chalk this up to simply an emotional or psychological illness, we feel that the devil played his part in it as well. Every time Maureen told herself that she would never hurt her children, she could feel the response that she had killed one of them already, pointing back to the abortion.

Thanks be to God, a friend put Maureen in touch with a priest that specializes in post-abortive healing. Through several sessions with this priest, Maureen was able to find the healing she desperately needed. At the last session, we asked God to put into our hearts and minds the gender of our child. Believing it to be a little girl, we gave her the name, Mary Catherine. We also have a memorial brick which was laid on the prayer walk at Marytown, in Libertyville. It reads “in memory of our aborted child.” It was the only tangible thing we had to mark her existence.

In the past year, before coming involved in “Silent No More,” we were asked to take part in a healing retreat weekend called “Rachel’s Peace.” We were able to spend time with other post-abortive parents and share our stories. We were able to take the time and reflect on the loss of our child which included the writing of a letter to her. We were also given a little angel to remind us of the child that we look forward to meeting in heaven one day. Though Mary Catherine lived for only eight short weeks, she will never be forgotten. For a child is a child no matter how small.

I only hope that my testimony, and my many years of involvement in the pro-life movement past, present and future can help change the hearts and minds of people who are pro-death, a more honest term for pro-choice since we are speaking of the life of an innocent and helpless human being. And I also want to speak out to those who are lukewarm when it comes to this issue as well.  I believe abortion is one of the worse evils imaginable. We cannot, in good conscience, sit back and ignore the plight of these innocent children who die by the thousands each and every day, for we will all be judged one day for what we have done and for what we have failed to do.

Please pray for the sanctity of all human life and for the conversion of those who do not hold the value of human life in high esteem, especially many of our elected officials and those who work in the abortion industry. May God encourage and empower each of us to stand up and protect human life from conception to natural death.

In memory of my Mary Catherine, I thank you for allowing me to share my story with you today and for all that you do to defend and protect the gift of life. God bless each of you.


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