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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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Before They Are Born
Charlene
Arizona, United States

I had an abortion because I was told my son was sick at his 20-week ultrasound. I was told that he had what amounted to an inoperable problem with his brain. I was scared. I had seen my only cousin (the only other child in my family) live a life of torment because of brain-damage in-utero. I thought it would be kind to spare my child that suffering. I thought no one would love him or care about him. I also, selfishly, worried that my husband (who had been difficult to convince regarding children) would refuse to have any more children if we had an unhealthy child to care for in our family. I was afraid of the expense. I was uncertain that insurance would cover a child born with a health condition. I was afraid he wouldn't be able to get the care he needed because we didn't have tons of money to throw at his problem. I was out of my mind with fear.

I was told by family members to think of my "living children" or that "it wasn't the end of the world." I was told that keeping my sick son would be selfish on my part.

We had to travel out of state and stay with relatives. The procedure took two days to complete. First, they stuck a needle in my belly to stop my son's heart, then they stuck rods in to me to forcefully dilate the cervix. I spent that night in extreme pain, but the psychological pain was even greater than the physical pain. Because I knew my son was dead inside me and I had killed him. I knew I was carrying his corpse.

People said to me that this was no big deal. They said women lose babies all the time and carry them, dead, without even knowing it. But, I knew and this was different.

The next morning, we went to a mortuary. We made arrangements for our son to be cremated. This wasn't technically necessary (I'd been told), but I wanted his remains treated with respect.

I sat there in the office of the mortician, with my dead baby in my belly. We were out of state, so they would have to mail him to us. We picked out a container for his remains. I felt like I was slowly losing my mind. The mortician spoke of God's will. This wasn't God. This was the devil and I was in hell.

I doubt his remains were treated well, even though we did this. My husband went with me to the clinic. We sat in a waiting room filled with teenagers and other young women there for early abortions. Most were there with other women. I was visibly pregnant and there with my husband. I felt angry that there were so many and their babies were all probably healthy-but condemned to die anyway. Why? But, what made my abortion so much more "moral"? Who were we--teenage or otherwise--to say who has the right to be born and who doesn't?

They moved us to another waiting room for the late-term abortions. Another woman was there with her husband. We didn't speak. She was also visibly pregnant. They gave me something to put in my mouth to start contractions. The pain was unbearable. I had been through natural childbirth twice by this time. The pain was worse. It was an unnatural pain. It was hell.

Eventually, they gave me anesthesia and I was unconscious until I woke up in the recovery room in pain again. My stomach was flattened. I was dizzy and disoriented. My husband was waiting for me in another room. I asked to see my baby to say goodbye. They told me this would be too horrific, but the doctor gave me foot and hand-prints. I told the doctor this was how it had to be and thanked him. But deep down I knew I was wrong, and I missed my son, and I hated myself.

I hated myself more the more I looked at the prints. They were so tiny. He had been so precious. Even more so, because he was sick. He was sick and he needed my help and I threw him away. I didn't save him from suffering. I prevented him from living.

I sought out others who were grieving late-term abortion for poor prenatal diagnosis. We came up with excuses for each other. We said 98% of people who get this diagnosis do what we did. As if murder became moral by consensus. We were right to save our children from suffering, we told each other and ourselves. Ours were moral abortions because we weren't slutty, irresponsible teenagers.

And we were wrong. I was full of error. I drank heavily when my children were asleep at night to try and escape the pain. Someone told me about the Shrine of the Holy Innocents. It was the one comfort I had. They were the only place that would acknowledge my son had been alive and mattered. I felt some small shred of peace knowing that he was remembered and prayed over and that his name, Christopher, would be known somewhere other than my mind and heart.

I was an atheist at the time. My mother asked me where my son was. I told her he was a pile of ashes in a brown parcel marked human remains. She said he was with God and I'd done the right thing. I said I didn't believe in God and that my son was nothing but ashes because no one wanted him.
The Church of the Innocents sent me a certificate with his name and I placed it in his baby book, beside his footprints. And I decided to convert the family to Catholicism. I wanted my children to be with a family and community that cared about life and remembered their brother. I wanted them to avoid my error.

I gave up drinking. I attended RCIA (but didn't finish), and became very involved in the Church for a couple of years. Until the pastor talked about picketing abortion clinics. I felt personally picketed. I wanted to scream, "That's not what I meant. I made a mistake!" But, it didn't really matter what I meant by my actions, my son was still dead. I yelled at my former friends and even the pastor. I was so angry with them for not understanding.

Really, I was angry with them for understanding better than I wanted to admit. I left the Church and the only real friends I'd ever had. I left my family. Because, the Church was my real family. I felt so alone. I gave up. I spiraled down for a few months after that. I became suicidal and checked into a mental health clinic. Because of this, my other children tried to run away from home--thinking everything was a disaster and out of fear that Mommy had gone bonkers.

Because my children sneaked away one afternoon for 20 minutes and were, thankfully, found by a kind neighbor/the police at the side of the highway (a mile from our home), I was investigated by CPS for possible neglect as a result. I prided myself on my care of my children. Their welfare was/has been my life's goal and my purpose. And now I felt like trash because I'd failed them. I took them from the Church we loved and their friends and went insane and left them with nothing. I yelled at them and neglected my role as a mother because of my depression.

CPS eventually closed the investigation; deemed it unsubstantiated. But I'll never forget that I failed them during those weeks of depression. I pray God will allow me to make it up to them.

Later that year, I became pregnant with my fourth child. It was a difficult pregnancy and some relatives encouraged me, once again, to abort. I was frustrated at times, but once my last little son was born, every moment in the hospital was worth it. I've returned to the Catholic Church with my family. I'm now ready to complete RCIA because I'm ready to admit what I've done was wrong. I'm ready to see it for what it is, stop making excuses, and try to help others in doing so. God has been patient with me, and in time, I hope to feel forgiveness.

It has been a painful journey. I still miss Christopher. There is still a hole in our family that is Christopher-shaped. I sense it all the time. I know it will always be there.

I hope this story may help someone who is considering abortion for poor prenatal diagnosis. I hope you understand that it doesn't solve the problem and it isn't compassion to kill your child. I wish someone had told me that and that I would've believed it.

The doctors didn't know of a surgery to perform to heal my son at the time. But, people like me, aborting, ensure that they never will know of one. Without sick children and mothers willing to fight for those sick children, there isn't a reason for doctors to innovate. There is no reason to care for or worry about those sick babies--not in a world where the attitude is that they shouldn't have been born in the first place!

We women need to be strong for our children. We need to stand up for them when they can't and care for them when they are sick--even before they are born.

Christopher didn't stop being my son because I aborted. Christopher was a sick baby. He needed help to live. He died because of my choice. My abortion made me the mother of a dead baby. It didn't solve anything for me or my family.

Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking there is any such thing as a moral abortion. There is no such animal in existence. I have to live with that knowledge for the rest of my life.

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