From Shame to Victory
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I was raised with Christian morals and values’, always knowing abortion was wrong and would never be a choice for me, until I found myself unmarried and pregnant at the age of 19. When I moved away from home at 18, I was so naive to the fact that I was desperately seeking the affection and acceptance of a male. My father was a good man; he was a "give the shirt off his back" kind of person and always provided very well for us. Unfortunately, I did not realize until much later in life that what I truly needed was the emotional connection that our relationship lacked. I wanted more than anything, the acceptance and the love of my father. So, when I moved from Dallas to Houston I was beginning a journey of what I thought was freedom while trying to fill the hole in my heart in a relationship and living with a man 16 years my senior. When I left home, I was choosing him over my family because I knew my parents did not accept my decision. He was a different race, way too old and had already been married & divorced with two sons. Ultimately, I was starting over I felt...a new life the way I wanted and I thought I was exactly where I wanted to be.
That was until February of 1996 when I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend at the time told me it was not time for a baby and we could and would not have it. With those words, fear set in quickly. I was living in an unfamiliar city, completely estranged from my family and being controlled by a man who was an alcoholic/drug addict. I felt alone and thought if I did not follow through with what he wanted, I would lose all that I thought I had at the time. I could not lose the one person that I thought accepted and loved me for who I truly was. After a few weeks of hanging on his every word hoping he would change his mind, but of course he never did. Once I knew what I had to do, I was like a robot. I don’t remember feeling anything as I called the numbers in the phone book asking questions and making appointments. I had already made myself numb somehow…I knew if I was going to get through this, it was what I had to do. I never looked back, never argued, never stood up for what I wanted or knew was right, I just went through the motions up until the day I had an abortion in April of 1996. At the clinic, I was never told of the affects it would have on me emotionally, spiritually or physically. I was never given the opportunity to see an ultrasound or hear his heartbeat. What I was told was that I was nearly 18 wks along and I needed to go ahead and "do this" before it was too late. So, after pawning a few pieces of jewelry just to gather the money, I thought for sure now there was no turning back. I don't remember much of being at the clinic that day, but what I do is sounds and images that will forever be burned into my mind. It was routine, I was just another name on a chart, one more person to tell, "It will all be over soon and you will be fine to go on with your life!" One more girl lying on a cot in a room lined with others doing the same while they offered me cookies and juice…I had just had my child ripped from my womb and they were offering me cookies and juice! I don’t know how long I was in recovery before I was sent on my way to get on with my life, as if nothing had happened and this is also what my boyfriend thought I should do. After 3 days of missing work because of physical pain and depression that had already set in, his exact words to me were "You really need to get over it already!" On the outside that is exactly what I did, going into instant denial and pushing it so far down I thought it was just a nightmare, not reality. Yet inside I would never be the same because along with my baby, a part of me died that day.
The next year, I married that man who was already abusive and the abuse grew even worse. A year later, I along with my oldest daughter suffered the physical affects from my abortion when she was born premature at 23 weeks weighing 1lb 2oz and given less than a 10% change of surviving. Her premature birth was the result of my incompetent cervix caused from my abortion. Nobody knew, I lied on the medical forms, to the doctors and to my friends/family...nobody knew what I had done. I could have lost another child, she suffered the consequences of my actions....I lay in the hospital bed crying and asking God why?? I could understand why He was punishing me, but why her she didn't deserve it. I prayed she would live and spent every single day with her, but even after she came home and had made it through countess surgeries and infections I had bonding issues that I did not understand. I saw her as a reminder of my punishment...more guilt, more shame, what had I done?!
I was on complete bed rest with my second child, having a cervical cerclage at 13 wks as to not repeat a premature birth. During this pregnancy it was suggested that I not have any more children, as my cervix probably would not hold up for it. My second daughter was born at term and healthy. I bonded with her differently than my first, again more guilt, more questions, more not understanding how I could be such a horrible mother. The tears, crying myself to sleep...they continued and I felt I could never be redeemed. Not knowing at the time all of these were affects from my decision to abort, a decision based on ignorance that I thought was the answer at the time.
For 12 years after my abortion, I felt so unworthy. I continued to accept emotional and eventually physical abuse from my husband. Living in constant fear because of his control and the life he lived with drugs and alcohol. I was self-destructive, gained over 100 lbs, and felt that I deserved this life. I denied and actually believed that I had never had an abortion. Yet had night terrors, anxiety and the fear of someone finding out my secret was paralyzing.
11 years of tumultuous marriage ended in divorced leaving me to deal with the issues of my past. During the search to find myself and heal from my abusive marriage, I lost almost a whole person in weight and restored my relationship with God finding peace in a lot of ways, yet there was still something missing. I still cringed at the "A" word and felt like I had committed the only unforgiveable sin, I still carried my dark secret. I taught women’s bible studies and was the coordinator for our single moms group at church, but had resigned to the fact that I would live with the guilt and shame & that my relationship with God would never be as close as I truly desired. I felt that any time 'that word' was mentioned everyone in the room knew what I had done. The thought of any other person knowing what I had done terrified me to the core. After all, in some ways I was still that little girl looking for acceptance. So, the last thing I could dream of doing was telling people about something that would turn them away from me, make them judge me and not accept me. I feared losing my friends, my family and never finding anyone that could accept my past if they knew.
But God in His infinite wisdom, gentleness and grace led me to someone that I could trust… someone that had been there. I honestly didn’t think there was other people right there in my own church, normal people that had also had an abortion and healed from it. My new friend would help lead me on my healing journey through an abortion recovery Bible study. As I walked through each step, a little piece of the shame began to fall off and the weight became lighter. Going through the healing process I realized the importance of giving my child dignity and recognizing the life as one created by God that had purpose and value. I sought the Lord for my child’s name, I had always felt he was a boy and the Lord gave me his name Isaiah Nathaniel. Now I had a name to honor when thinking of my son. Toward the end of the study, I accepted God's forgiveness once and for all and realized that the blood He shed on the cross covered ALL sins including my abortion; finally I was truly set free. I also knew without a doubt that God was calling me to help others find the same healing and also to speak out for the unborn and the unspoken secret that thousands of men and women carry.
After the recovery study I was able to stop looking at my oldest daughter as a reminder and punishment of what I had done, but a true blessing that lights up this world with her presence. I was able to look at her and see the true value and sanctity of every life that God creates. The first time I held her in my arms and cried tears of true joy and felt a mother’s love was a day I will cherish forever. Although she does suffer with development delays that we expect may last her a lifetime she is a walking miracle and completely opposite of what we were told she would be, Praise God!
I was single for almost 3 years until God placed my best friend and soul mate in my life and I remarried in Jan 2009. I met my husband at the beginning of my healing journey and I told him of my past right away. Never had I felt such an incredible urging to tell someone my secret, but God was telling me it was time to break the silence. My fear of judgment was very real, but my desperate need to move forward was stronger and God had it all in control. My husband was completely accepting and loved me every step of the way. He continues to be my greatest support and he prays for God’s movement in our local area and the nation for the eradication of abortion and for awareness and recovery.
I have served in abortion recovery ministry since 2008 and my passion to reach those hurting from a past abortion continues to grow. God has called me to share my testimony, speak out for the unborn in honor of my own son and share the truth about abortion and the affects it has on every single one of us. In addition and more recently, the Lord has graciously given me back my childhood dream of being a dancer....but this time for Him! I am passionately pursing everything He has for me as a worship dance minister and learning what it means to worship Him wiith my whole being, in spirit and in truth!