In 2010, I began my own healing journey for my abortions when my only living child, my daughter Grace, was 11 years old. As she was growing up, I cannot tell you how many times she would ask me, “Mama, are you ever going to have any more children?” Or, “Mom, I wish I had a sister or a brother. I wish I wasn’t the only child.” And each time I heard my daughter say these things to me, my heart would break, for I was harboring the painful secret and the deep shame, regret, and remorse of my abortions. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer and began my own healing journey. I attended the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat and then participated in a post-abortion healing Bible Study.
After experiencing God’s healing, I became a pro-life advocate and activist and began working for PATH, Post Abortion Treatment & Healing, in Atlanta. I knew at some point I was going to have to tell Grace the truth about her siblings lost to abortion, but I didn’t know when. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to begin preparing both of us and to let me know when the right time would be for Grace to hear the painful, shocking truth—that she had two sisters and one brother in Heaven.
On Mother’s Day 2016, after the family’s festivities were over, Grace and I were alone in the family room, and I truly felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to tell Grace about my abortions. Grace was 17 years old and a junior in high school. I talked to her about the story of Saul and what kind of person he was before he started living for God. He was not a very good person; he killed and persecuted many innocent people before having an overwhelming conversion experience and becoming one of the best apostles of Jesus who ever lived. What a powerful testament of how powerful Jesus’s healing and forgiveness is! Grace knew I worked for PATH – that we minister to women and men who have been negatively affected from their abortion experience. I asked her if she thought I was using book knowledge or experience as I ministered to these people in PATH. She just stared at me and looked away with unbelief, shock, and horror. She asked me, “Mom, did you have an abortion?” I answered her, “Yes, I did.” Tears began rolling down her cheeks. My heart was breaking, but I was also feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit to tell her the WHOLE truth—that I had had three abortions, not just one. So I told her the WHOLE truth and told her of my deep regret, sadness, and sorrow for what I had done. Yet, just like God forgave Paul, God forgave me! And, as a result of this overwhelming forgiveness and mercy, I wanted to help lead others to God’s healing, too. I told her I didn’t want to keep family secrets. Additionally, I NEVER wanted her to ever have to go through what I had experienced, but I did want her to know the TRUTH about abortion and its aftermath.
I told her that she may begin to feel and experience many different emotions now that she knows the truth about my abortions, such as sadness, fear, anger, survivor’s guilt, among many other feelings. I offered her people from PATH she could talk to that would understand if she ever needed to talk about it.
The following January (2017), when Grace was a senior in high school, she and I marched together for the first time at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. As we marched, Grace boldly carried a sign that said, “I Mourn the Loss of my Aborted Sibling”, and I carried my sign that said, “I Regret My Abortion.” And she was there when I shared my post-abortion healing testimony for Silent No More at the United States Supreme Court. It was a powerful day for us both.
During summer 2017, Grace had just graduated high school and was going away to college in the fall. As a family, we went up to Chattanooga, TN and had a memorial Mass for our three babies in Heaven and then went to the National Memorial for the Unborn to honor these babies. We had a brass name plate made for each one of them with their names and a special message on it. Then Grace placed each name plate on the Wall of Names. This was a very special day.
“I’ve been through a lot of pain and stuff and I just wonder what it would have been like if they were here to help me through it,” says Grace. The shockwaves of abortion run deep. In October 2018, Grace continued her healing journey by attending the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, where she was able to grieve the loss of her siblings in Heaven.
Grace is a sophomore in college now and has encountered many opportunities to defend LIFE. She says she “will always fight for her siblings and be a voice for them.” She has become quite the pro-life advocate and activist and has even debated in class about the devastation and shockwaves of abortion, admitting her own experience with being the sibling of three children lost to abortion. She has also expressed an interest with getting involved with Students for Life Ministry on her college campus. I am so proud of her, and I know her two sisters and brother in heaven are proud of her too!