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Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion
 

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Do You Regret Your Abortion or Your Lost Fatherhood? By filling in the form below you can add your expression of regret to our list. All information remains confidential and is presented anonymously


 
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The Cost
Toni
Virginia, United States

My abortion was 36 years ago and yet sometimes it seems like yesterday. To this day, I have small, quiet anniversary reactions which are God's way of reminding me of the unthinkable. My husband and I had been married for 12 years, had two wonderful and healthy children, and were in the midst of very busy years of family and our own family business.

The pregnancy was not planned but was conceived in love. It was I who was shocked by the news of the unplanned conception, and it was I who began to stack my deck by going to liberal family members and friends who would tell me what I wanted to hear.
 
When I went to my own obstetrician, he confirmed the pregnancy and the next sentence was, "You can have an abortion if you want to. Half of the people you know are doing it." I immediately asked him if there could be any negative psychological effects from an abortion and he said "Oh, no. I've never heard of anything like that happening." For years, I blamed him for suggesting such a thing but in the end, it was really my weakness and not standing up for myself that led me to my 'choice'. During the 1970's I had bought into the Women's Liberation Movement after having been a very conservative and traditional young girl, and eventually a wife and mother. This is where the severe disconnect happened. Roe vs. Wade had become legal in 1973, and I bought into the lie of the times. I was Pro-Choice until I made the wrong choice for myself. My way of trying to 'fix' my broken heart resulted in two more children, one the year after the abortion and the next two years after that. By the time our 4th child was born I was so shut down and closed off from reality that I felt nothing for that infant, and she nearly died as a 'failure to thrive' infant.

Looking back, I see "women's lib" and the resulting sexual revolution as being a cultural failure because it ignores basic human connections, instincts, and needs. To make a very, very long and sad story short, the net result of my choice played out like a violent and tragic movie: What began as a trickle of tears four days after the abortion, escalated into a 10 year long torrent of wailing, sobbing, screaming and yelling at my husband and four children. Sleep was impossible, debilitating insomnia and nightmares destroying night after night. As my rage grew, my husband suggested that I needed help, to which I replied, "No, I don't.”  He was right and exactly ten years after my abortion, I snapped. In one second I went from being okay at a business event to being unable to speak. A friend called my husband who took me to the ER, and they sent me to a locked unit in Philadelphia. Of the 10 women on that locked floor, as we shared in group, 7 of the 11 had had abortions. After I was stabilized on antidepressants for a few weeks, I went home and began the brutal journey to sanity. After a few weeks of appointments, my first psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Wiley, MD, in Allentown, PA said to me: “Toni, say you have 5 children.”  I told her in a little voice: "Dr.Wiley, I can't say that.' She said again "Toni, say you have 5 children" Again, I stayed in denial and said, "I can't say that" to which she replied; "Toni, if you don't say that, you will never get well." And so we started uncovering the layers. My treatment was based on the death of a child by my own hand since that is how I perceived it and carried it in my broken heart.

That long, difficult and very painful journey took about 15 years, involving many different therapists, Project Rachel and Rachel's Vineyard which my husband and I attended together. The tragic ending to my story is that in 1998, my husband announced he was leaving the family and did just that. No goodbyes, no “I am so sorry.”  He up and walked away and divorced me against my will. Nothing's changed and that's where it is now in March of 2015. No closure, just an untreated post-abortive dad with depression and PTSD, remarried and limping along in that state. I am in recovery from very serious childhood abuse and growing up in an alcoholic family system. Our four adult children are also in recovery from our family-wide PTSD trauma that cascaded over our entire family and affected their lives in very serious ways. They have forgiven me for being an abusive and emotionally absent mom during their own childhoods. God's mercy and grace is bigger still. Recovery has been a worthwhile trip but the cost was enormous: a child, enormous financial costs and losses, divorce and loss of good family times which we are just now beginning to enjoy again.


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