I got pregnant in 1979 with my boyfriend’s child while I was attending nursing school. My mother was proud of the career path I was on. I know she wanted her daughters to do well in the world. She wanted to make sure that we were financially independent. I always knew I had to go to college, and there was no questioning that. I was a smart young girl, and I always excelled in my schooling. I was not necessarily choosing to be a nurse, but I went to nursing school because I knew I would do well and becoming a nurse would insure my financial security.
When I got pregnant, I know my mother was mortified, but I did tell her right away, because I told her everything! She suggested I got an abortion, gently. But I knew I had no other option in her mind. It was an unspoken thing. She never told my father. I believe he would have looked at the situation differently. My mother thought that I would lose all that I had worked for if I didn’t. I knew that was what she was thinking. Or maybe she actually said it. But, again, it was a given that I always did what I thought my mother wanted me to do. This was the one time in my life I was tempted to cry out "No, I feel like a mother now, and I think I already love this baby"! But like always I just did what everyone thought I should do.
I had my abortion. I was in a state of shock right before and for a while after. I felt like the wind was taken out of me in a way. I felt no more joy, and I knew for a long time after my abortion that something was wrong with me. I cried myself to sleep at night for a very long time.
I quit my nursing program and nursing school two months short of getting my degree and nursing certificate to qualify for the RN licensure exam. In 1980 I met my husband, and I went on with my life. I got married in 1981. I had a baby girl in 1982 and then a son in 1985. Once I had my son, it hit me. What did I do? I knew my first born, my unborn child, had been a baby boy, too. My heart knew.
Time went by. I was a busy mom. I had to stuff all those feelings. I had no time to figure out what was wrong with me. But I still had that dark cloud hanging over me. Here I had a husband and two very beautiful children, and I still felt like something was missing. During my son's very early years I realized that I was having a repetitive dream. It was always about losing my son, Chris. I was so afraid of losing him and was extra protective of him. I was too protective. Actually, I was overprotective with both my children!
I heard about counseling available in the next town for post abortion syndrome. I looked into the signs of PTSD and post-abortion syndrome. Then I knew that was the root of my sadness and other problems I was having in coping. The nightmares I was having about losing my son was a sure sign that I needed healing from my abortion and my losing a child. At the crisis pregnancy center, I attended one on one counseling sessions using the booklet to recall my abortion experience and about how God sees me and the sin of abortion. I was forced painfully to relive my experience, and this brought all of it to the surface. Many of the details around that time I had stuffed down very deep. When the counseling was over, I was left on my own to deal with my feelings. I actually had a time where I was huddled in the corner, and I felt I was reliving my abortion procedure! As time went on, with God's forgiveness and healing mercy I felt better. My children are grown and this is my time.
In 2016 I attended a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA. I always wanted to attend a RV Retreat. I have never been in a place where I felt more love and compassion. I attended this retreat because I still thought that I was having a problem with totally forgiving my mother, and mostly because I knew I was having a problem with forgiving myself. Now I attend retreats at the shrine to volunteer and to attend reunions. I have met so many post abortive woman and men. I continue to go to the Shrine and because the many new connections I have made helps me in my continued journey of healing.