October marks many anniversaries for me; the death of my best friend, the death of my sister’s brother-in-law, the death of the first boy who showed me around my new high school, and many others. Since 2011, it has also marked what I refer to as my own death; the time I figured out I was pregnant, the time I’d planned to kill myself on October 19th, and the time I pulled myself together as another person and lived. This month marks my anniversary of my abortion and learning to live afterward. For much of that time I spent holding the mentality, “You need to live your life because you just killed your baby.” While that mentality got me through the first year, I am not living my life because I deserve to. Because I have struggled. Because I have accomplished. Because I am here.
This last week, I spent some time at the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference to help network and share the work we do here at AbortionChat. While in line to get professional portraits done, I met a woman. She was beautiful, dark haired, and an enigma of energy. I mentioned I am a crisis counselor, and that I run AbortionChat. After making a joke about, “Well, I could certainly use your help,” we turned our backs to her friends and she told me a small part of her abortion story.
With the work we do here, it’s typical, and I find it encouraging that so many people come to us with their stories, verbally, written, tweeted. Yet, while many of those stories, like my own, continue to focus on healing and recovery, it is rare that I have to step back and realize that not everyone is recovering.
The woman in line with me confided that she had an abortion several years ago. Since that time, she gave birth to her first born who, hours later, died in her arms. She told me that she believes this is a direct result of the decision she had made so many years ago. She said her pastor or priest had also said a similar thing, and she believed it. She is a Catholic, and while she said God has forgiven her, she has yet to forgive herself.
So this post, this message is for you, the woman in line who shared her heartbreaking abortion story with me, if you come to the site. Here are all of the things I wish I could have told you:
As I told you, I also believe in God. I was also raised in the church, with a mixture of Catholicism and Pentecostal. The God I believe in, yes, can punish sinners as He sees fit. But I don’t focus on His punishment. I focus on the fact that the God I love, loves me. And He does not want me, or you, to suffer. You made a decision, a decision that is allowed by law, and allowed by the free will He granted us with when He created us. My God may not be your God, especially because as I’ve continued my journey, I’ve stepped away from organized churches that refuse to accept my decision, a decision that saved my life. But I truly believe that anyone or anything worth worshiping has a great capacity for love and forgiveness. Please, please, stop harboring the guilt and sadness inside yourself. You deserve to be happy. No matter what your pastor or priest has told you. Sometimes nature and God have other plans for our children and our lives. I am truly sorry for the loss of your child, but there is nothing in this world that you have done to cause the death.
Outside of how religion is involved. thank you for sharing your story with me. You’d mentioned that your story wasn’t one of the ones “with a good reason” I believe were your words. Here is what I took away from your story: You got pregnant. You did not want to be pregnant. You terminated the pregnancy. You don’t need to have a “good” reason, because after-all, what is a “good” reason to obtain an abortion? I’ll answer you: because you didn’t want to be pregnant, and that is OKAY. At that time, you made the decision you thought was best for you. It is okay that it might have been a wrong decision for you. It is okay that it might have been a right decision for you. There is nothing you can do to go back in time and change these things, a decision was made. Live right now. Be happy, right now. It is okay to make right and wrong decisions. You are human. We all make mistakes and choose options that sometimes are not the best for us.
You have so much more to offer this world than to be caught on one decision that you made so many years ago. You deserve to forgive yourself so that you can be a better person for yourself, for your family, and for the world. You deserve to be happy, because no one in this world deserves to be unhappy. Time is not a gift that we can take for granted. Time is finite, and we are not here long. You, right now, at this very moment, deserve happiness without judgement. You deserve peace without guilt. We all made decisions that we regret later. Don’t let it continue to eat you alive. Find a way to make peace, find a way to push through because you, a living, breathing, flawed, beautiful person, deserves all the light and happiness in the world.
And I truly, truly hope you find these things. If you would like to talk more with me, or with the AbortionChat group, please, please send us an email.
Anyone else reading this who is struggling, this message is also for you. You are loved. You are beautiful.