Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion

Accessories to Death: Why Abortion is Never Simply a Woman's "Private Health Care Decision."

Collateral damage 2

I was 16, and he was my first boyfriend. It was so easy to get caught up in the kissing and the touching and then quickly came the sex. He seemed to be so careful, using a condom every time.  It was New Year’s Eve, and we were drinking at a friend’s house. We slipped away to a bedroom, and I noticed he didn’t put a condom on. I asked him about it. He assured me that everything will be okay. But…it wasn’t.  Later, I was pregnant.

We went to different schools. He went to a small town school, and I went to a big powerhouse school. My goals were already set for college out of my hometown. He was planning on going to a community college nearby.  I was not letting anything stop me from going to college. I thought I was too smart to be pregnant at 16. It was embarrassing. I had to have an abortion. I thought it was my only option.

I told my boyfriend. He was not sure what to do. He was scared. He knew his parents would be so disappointed. Probably make him marry me. I certainly didn’t want to get married. No way! I loved him, but I didn’t want to end up in Small Town, USA. I wanted to leave Texas, I wanted to travel. So, I knew I had to end this pregnancy, even though this was against my religion. I was not letting anybody change my mind.

I did end up telling my oldest sister about my pregnancy. I wanted her to know what I was doing in case something went wrong; and I needed money. She told me she would not give me money, and I should tell my mom. I made her promise me not to tell my mom.  Well, she broke that promise and told my mom. My mom didn’t yell or get mad. She was just very sad.  Later, many, many years later, I find out she had an abortion, and she also was there for my older sister’s abortion. My mom did try to talk me out of it, but she knew I was not changing my mind.

As for the money…we needed $200 for the abortion. My boyfriend and I asked every friend we had for money. We asked for $5 or $10 until we got the money we needed. Little did they know to what they were contributing to…the death of our unborn child.  Better they didn’t know.

The day we went to the clinic is a bit of a blur. I remember bits and pieces of it very clearly and other parts are fuzzy. The first part I remember is the big orange chairs in the waiting room. My boyfriend and I sat next to each other and my mom sat across from me. We sat in silence. My boyfriend was on the verge of tears the whole time. It was early in the morning. We were the only ones in the room it seemed. I’m not really sure if we were. They called my name. I paid the $200 at the window and a nurse took me to another waiting room.

This time it was a small room with chairs all around the walls. Almost every chair was occupied. I found a seat and looked around and everyone seemed to be as sad as me. It seemed like I was waiting for so long.  I finally went into the procedure room. I undressed and put on a gown. I sat on the table until a nurse and doctor walked in. The doctor was talking to me, but he sounded like he was babbling. I couldn’t understand him. I felt numb. The nurse told me to lie down on the table.

She put my legs in the stirrups. The doctor was still talking. He turned on this big machine in the corner. He held up this white tube, and I felt it go inside me. It felt like suction. I turned my head to the right toward the huge machine. I felt like everything started to move in slow motion. I turned and saw two large glass jars attached to the side of this machine. I saw blood pouring into them. I saw the blood flowing through the clear tubes running from me to the jars. Then…the image I have burned into the deepest part of my soul…I saw white pieces of my baby’s body running through the tubes from my body into the jars. I turned my head back toward the ceiling. And that was when I began to have tears rolling out of my eyes. Tears for my baby. I knew right then and there that God would never forgive me. He would never love me again. I was a murderer. I had just killed my baby. I guess the nurse noticed. She grabbed my hand and said, “Everything will be okay.”  She was so terribly wrong.

The aftermath of my abortion rocked me to the core. After I left the clinic, I just put the whole experience away and didn’t think about it. My life went on, but it was never the same. I was hurting inside, and I didn’t know why. I did not show anyone that I was hurting inside.

I did not go away to college. I stayed in my hometown with my boyfriend and went to a local community college.   I still had desire to travel, so I joined the Air Force. My boyfriend and I stayed together for four more years, and got married.  We have four kids. I had put the memory of that horrific day so far away in my memory; I did not realize that was the reason for my sadness, depression, and anxiety. I did eventually show my husband the pain I was suffering. But we couldn’t figure out why I was so depressed. At that time, I was an officer in the Air Force. I always had to have a “game face” at work and when I would get home I would just collapse in exhaustion and depression.

It finally became too much to handle. I was admitted into the mental health ward of a hospital for a week. It was during this time, a sweet Chaplin told me about Project Rachel. I went through the healing program. Me and some other ladies who have also had abortions met for weeks going through activities that helped us progress through the healing process. I named my baby, received grace and forgiveness form God, but what I needed most…the beginning of forgiving myself. It was this program that led me to healing and helped me find God again.

Though I was able to find personal healing, my marriage was still suffering from the after effects of our abortion. My husband has never been able to speak of our baby, whose name is Matthew. I held on to this anger because my husband did not acknowledge our baby. I felt angry because he did not seem to suffer the way I did over the death of our first child.

I heard about Rachel’s Vineyard when I attended Project Rachel. Since then, 11 years ago, I have wanted to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. I finally found one, and I planned on going alone. I told my husband I was planning on going, and to my surprise just out of the blue, he said “I’ll go with you.” Needless to say, I was shocked, and I jumped on the opportunity. I knew it was the Holy Spirit working on us. So, I signed us up, and made sure he did not back out.

My husband and I signed up to go on a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in June 2015. It was a three hour drive for us to the retreat location. As we got closer to the site, my husband was getting very anxious about what was going to happen at the retreat. He wanted to know exactly what he was getting into. He said he was just going to support me. My prayer to God was that He would show Matthew to my husband.

The retreat was wonderful! It was more than I expected and especially valuable for my husband. On the very first night, our son spoke to my husband at 3 in the morning.My husband said the light around the door all of a sudden started to glow and get brighter and brighter as if it were daylight outside.   Then he heard a little boy’s voice say “Its okay daddy” and he knew it was our son. He began to cry uncontrollably for hours. He knew our son forgave him for not acknowledging him for 27 years. My husband now is going through his healing and fully acknowledges our son, Matthew.

I cannot say how grateful we are to Rachel’s Vineyard and the whole team who put it together. It was a top notch event. My husband and I look forward to helping other men and women in our home town who suffer from post abortion trauma and are discerning helping the Rachel’s Vineyard here. We are moving slowly as my husband naturally needs time to continue his healing and allow that grace to settle into his life.    But we are praying and are open to God’s will for our lives.