My Name is Mother Tabitha. I'm an Orthodox Christian nun from a monastery in northern California.
I had an abortion when I was 28. I was married for the second time and had two young children by my first marriage. My second marriage was ending, and we were in the process of parting ways when much to my surprise I found out I was pregnant. I don't really know why I told my husband I was pregnant, (Looking back I guess I thought it was the right thing to do). My husband’s reaction was very negative. He wanted nothing to do with this child. Though it wasn't a surprise that he said what he said, the reality of it hit me pretty hard. I had two young children and a full-time job and no family around who could help me care for this baby. In my mind there was no way I could keep this baby. Roe vs Wade was pretty new at that time, and quite frankly, I agreed with it. I had Kaiser Health insurance, so I called them to find out if they covered abortions. They covered the abortion procedure 100%, so I made an appointment to talk to their abortion clinic. It was very simple. No one tried to talk me out of it or give me other options. They did hand me a pamphlet to read, which I didn't, and then scheduled my abortion. It was a little bit of a wait, so I was quite nervous and scared. Finally, the morning came, and I told my supervisor I needed to leave early because of a doctor's appointment. When I arrived at the hospital to start the processing, much to my surprise my supervisor was there with his 17-year-old daughter, who was also having an abortion. It was an embarrassing moment for us both. The abortion went smoothly, and I woke up on a gurney being pushed by a nurse who said to me, "Oh, by the way your baby was a little girl." That made me sad, as I had wanted a girl.
Problem solved, right? But not really. It did affect me. Soon after I got my tubes tied, and I was very upset that my best friend was using abortion as birth control. I kept my abortion a deep dark secret, but God has a way of bringing things to light. I was not very religious most of my life, but I found myself searching for something that would sooth my tortured life. I felt so empty so lost. Trying different churches, I was about to give up on Christianity when I was introduced to a kind loving priest from the Orthodox church, who headed the Prison Ministry. I had so many questions and confusions about Christianity and God's love. Who was Jesus Christ anyway? Father Duane demystified this God that I had always assumed was wrathful and punishing. Father Duane showed me that truly God was loving and long suffering. Seeing this priest's example of love and compassion toward his flock of death row, and lifer convicts in super max prisons all over the world, I was convinced that I wanted to learn that kind of Christianity. Because of him I became an Orthodox Christian. This church’s stand on abortion soon became very clear to me, but in a loving, caring way. Hate the sin, love the sinner. As my eyes were opened, a flood of tears and repentance flowed from me like a river. Never having thought I would ever be worthy to enter a monastery, within about 5 years, through a conversation with the abbess from my future monastery, I discovered that many women who enter Orthodox monasteries enter them because of a great desire to repent. I have been a nun for 15 years. In that time, I have learned a lot about myself. But mostly I have been shown God's love and tender mercy. I know God has forgiven me for taking my little girl’s life, but I also know I will never completely forgive myself. My hope is that by exposing my deep dark secret to the world that somehow, through the grace of God, my words might touch at least one women's heart and change her mind about abortion and that is why I am silent no more.