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Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion
 

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My Journey to Healing
Tamah Warren
Tennessee, United States

It was a day full of sunshine in the late spring of 1973.  That was 38 years ago.  As human nature goes, I was in love, sixteen and I became pregnant.  To my knowledge we were to marry and live happily ever after.  As time progressed when I was eleven weeks and six days along, I was awakened during the night and asked to come downstairs.  I was informed that I would not be having my baby and that an abortion was scheduled for 9:00 am the next morning.  Everything had been taken care of.  You don't have to have a baby before getting married.  I was told that everyone who knew of my pregnancy (3 people) were in agreement and had made the decision for me.  It was the best thing.  I tried to offer other solutions; I begged to be sent away to family out of town, a home for unwed mothers and even to give my child up for adoption.  These were denied.  It was only hours that I had left to hold on to the life growing inside me.  I felt like I was condemned and my sin had condemned the child within me.

That morning I was taken downtown, it was agonizing as we drove along like any other day knowing that I was going to lose my baby.  Oh Jesus, please help me I cried.  When I arrived at the clinic I was not spoken to nor did anyone tell me about what was going to happen.  I was taken into a small room and asked to put on a gown.  There were three nurses and a doctor that entered the room.  There was no sedation or anesthesia to endure the pain.  As they began two of the nurses held me down and the other assisted the doctor.  I was horrified over what was happening to me and more over what was happening to my baby.  As the pain became so strong I began to cry out and one of the nurses held up a washcloth and asked me to bite down on it, that it would make it easier for me.  My screams were stifled.  It was a violent, terrifying and humiliating act.  Afterwards I could not get up and they allowed me to rest.  Later I was led to a room with other women and seated in a recliner.  I began to cry and the pain was so awful.   The nausea and vomiting started, my blood pressure was low and I could not leave for a long time.  It was dark by the time we got home.  Now I was told, the problem was solved and that we would never speak of it again.  However, the trauma from the abortion, the shame and guilt were just beginning.

After the abortion I let go of any dreams or goals that I had for my life.  My spirit was broken.  Depression, anger, fear, sadness and shame were my companions.  I was numb.  Decisions that I made were irrational ones so I just let everyone else make them for me.  I would learn to live with my secret and I began to block out the abortion.  This secret I guarded well and I was loyal to myself.  It was not long after that I began to have bizarre night behavior.  I would scream out hysterically during the night, waking the whole house.  I would sit up in bed and most of the time jump out of bed horrified like someone was after me.  This continued from 16 till into my early 30's.  However God was so good to me, I never had any memory of screaming out and never had a bad dream.  I only would know from what my family told me that I would do.  It became a common occurrence at our home.  Next I developed an eating disorder.  That was my second secret that I kept hidden.

Then as the years went by the emotional anguish began to make its way to the surface.  It interfered with my relationships, work and all areas of my life.   I created many unhealthy relationships and promiscuity.  For the next ten years I suffered great emotional trauma.  I had to take many leave of absences from work, to be hospitalized several times for emotional trauma and output programs as well.  During all that time, I never once told anyone trying to help me that I had an abortion.  I lied when ever I was asked.  I could trust no one.  I could not speak of it, I was too ashamed.

As time went by, I began to cope a little better.  My first marriage had failed and divorced.  I continued to reach out for healing but could never open up.  The shame and wounds were too deep.  About twelve years ago I come back to church.  I came across a pamphlet about a healing program for post abortion women.  I couldn’t go out of state to the retreat because of the night disturbances I had and the panic attacks that would occur.  So I began to pray for a way to get there.  I began counseling with a faith based LCSW at our church and through God's mercy I began to feel secure and allowed a ray of light to shine into my darkness.  After three years of counseling, I was facing my shame and wounds, breaking down barriers and learning God’s love and forgiveness and how to forgive myself. You can only imagine how thrilled I was when I saw the article that this healing ministry was coming to Nashville and would be held across the river from my home.  God had answered my prayers.  I attended the retreat.  I was nurtured by others who gave me love which strengthened me to open up and not cover my pain, shame and suffering and taught me the love of God and His forgiveness.

I have been in the desert for almost forty years now and I no longer live with the guilt and pain.  I do not fear the dark and am surrounded by a great light from God.  I am whole again.  My life is full, and God has blessed me with so much love that my cup runs over.  God has taken my brokenness and created something beautiful out of this horror.    Therefore, I am Silent No More.


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