Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the guest author.
As I recently welcomed my first grand baby into the world, I was caught by surprise by contrasting emotions of exuberant joy over his birth, followed within weeks by an unearthing and re-cycling of grief related to a “choice” made over four decades ago. Turbulent emotions propelled me to an extended period of reflection, resulting in a deep, eruptive heart-cry for societal healing.
In the wake of the glorious overturn of Roe v. Wade, the divisions and battle lines have only intensified. As states are now afforded legal recourse to assert life or death, there is an increasingly vocal and aggressive uprise of those who proclaim abortion as health care, a woman’s right, and good for women. My plea is that voices of women impacted by abortion will strip the thick, hardened callouses off of human hearts. May dead rhetoric be excised through light shed.
My reflections are raw and real. For those impacted by a past abortion decision, may the sentiments expressed awaken personal reflection, and empower you to seek healing for all of your hurting places.
My motive in sharing is not to harm, but ultimately, to heal… to cut through confusion — to take back our heart of compassion as a society — to collectively cry our tears, grieve the millions lost, and RISE UP to protect life!
These are my reflections as a post-abortive woman.
Forty-two years, and the loss is still real. Forty-two years of missing out on the life I could have enjoyed. Forty-two years of silent whispers in the cavern of my soul. Reverberations of that choice remain.
Women grieve in the deep, subterranean places in their soul, far from the human eye, and often unacknowledged even by their own psyche. The mind can be surprisingly skilled at numbing out trauma through the mechanism of denial. Yet, for many, the consequences of our choice persistently nag at our conscience, begging to come out of hiding to be addressed. The reservoir of pain rumbles deep within, exerting pressure to surface.
We tamp down emotions, striving to fill the gaping emptiness of loss with our self-justifying dichotomous claim: Murdering our child enabled us to be a “better mother” for future children. We tout how careers were “saved,” and yet our babies’ lives weren’t. We become experts at the strenuous mental gymnastics needed to justify the act.
Our “choice” creates a drivenness, compelling us to endless efforts to cram the gaps in our justifications with trinkets, trophies, accomplishments, you name it… ANYTHING to defend that our decision to abort was “worth it” and the “right thing to do.” For many of us, the mirage fades, the ground of self-justification crumbles, as we tumble into symptoms of our trauma — an endless morass of guilt, shame, substance abuse, addictions, and other self-destructive behaviors.
Some of us were forced to abort against our wishes. Fearfully, we succumbed to the coercion unleashed against us by boyfriends, parents, or pimps. The violent act of abortion was committed against the victims of both mother AND child.
We bury memories, but never physically buried our children. We never allowed ourselves to grieve, because that would force acknowledgement of our baby’s personhood. We bought the lie they were a “product of conception,” a “clump of cells,” in order to ease our troubled, aching consciences. Yet NOTHING drowns out the voice of our choice.
We allowed intrusion and violation of the inner sanctum of our womb. We experienced death within the very place designed to harbor life.
Society acknowledges the adage of the “mama bear”: “Don’t mess with my children, or I will rip you to pieces!” and yet, that is what we allowed to happen to the fragile life within us. We allowed our most basic instinct to protect our offspring to be suffocated by rhetoric and lies. Some of us swallowed pills that made us expel our babies. In agonizing pain, isolation, with lack of medical care, we aborted our child… alone. Some of us were horrified as we became eye witnesses to the undeniable form of our little baby’s tiny, lifeless body.
We try to go about our lives, yet cannot seem to escape the deep inner “gnawing” of “knowing.” To cope, we often succumb to the use of drugs, alcohol, or other self-destructive choices to numb the pain.
We experience torturous twinges when a later “wanted” baby is growing inside of us. Our mind struggles to rectify the disparity: We celebrate every stage of our current baby’s development, yet denied that beautiful process in the life we previously snuffed out. We feel a cruel despair if we suffer later infertility issues, as we deal with the realization that very possibly, the only opportunity we had to carry life has been lost forever.
We experience the jab of loss when babies and reminders of babies come our way: Birth announcements. Baby Showers. Birthday parties — all reminders of the babies we lost.
We become a grandmother, and watch our daughter or daughter-in-law’s belly grow. We push down thoughts of the baby we refused to carry.
We find ourselves strangely “out of sorts,” — sometimes never putting two and two together — as we mysteriously “feel blue,” irritated, or agitated, around the anniversary month of our baby’s death. We ride unexpected, choppy emotional waters as we navigate the anniversary month our child would have been born. Family celebrations unearth subterranean shockwaves in the fault lines of our soul. Campouts, cookouts, vacations — all carry a subconscious awareness of our child’s absence. There is a vacant spot around our holiday table.
So many reminders we shove to those deep places and spaces. We desperately need help carving away the thick callous of denial resting on our hearts. We need other women to share their experience and pain, so we may have the courage to explore and express ours.
We were never meant to be passive, manipulated, coerced, or deceived… We are designed to nurture, comfort, restore, and heal… to cradle bodies and minds with our tenderness.
How did we allow ourselves as a people to become so brash and brutal as it pertains to the treatment of the most vulnerable among us? Our collective humanity needs to be restored to a right mind and a right heart. Killing an innocent life is never the solution. We desperately need to collectively grieve the millions of babies we have lost due to “choice,” and rise up to protect the pre-born.
With safe haven laws in all 50 states, adoption as a loving option, as well as the myriad of pregnancy resource centers offering compassionate, free, life affirming options — we as a culture can come back to our senses, loving mothers and babies, and affirming the dignity and worth of all lives. Now is the time for each state to arise!
We must stop our collective pain and promote life.
Authors Note: Tragically, 1 out of every 5 pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion. Thirty percent of women have reportedly had an abortion by the age of 45. Fathers are impacted as well. For any who struggle with painful emotions regarding a past abortion, there IS help and hope. (see resources below)
Editor’s Note: This guest author has chosen to remain anonymous.