I HAD AN ABORTION. Do I have your attention?
I have never openly spoken about this before. Mainly because I have been ashamed and I feared the way people would look at me if they knew.
But once I realized that speaking out about my abortion would do more good than harm – I decided I don’t care who knows anymore.
When I was 21 years old, I had an abortion. Yep, little ole me, from a middle class, good Christian family and already a mother to a 3-year-old. I didn’t have any medical issues that would’ve prevented me from having a healthy pregnancy. To my knowledge, my baby wasn’t at risk for any abnormalities. I wasn’t raped. I was simply… scared.
I am not saying that what I did was right and I am not saying that I am proud of my decision. Nor, do I want anyone to think I am boasting about it. At that time in my life, it was a choice that I made. And at that time, I thought I was making the best decision; as do most women when they make the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
If you are reading this, then you should know that I am not the only woman you know who has had an abortion. In fact, one in three women will terminate a pregnancy before the age of 40. That means you work with us. You go to church with us. Your kids have play dates with our kids. You are friends with us. We are your family. We are women you know. We are women you love.
I guarantee that anyone who has made the decision to end a pregnancy did not do it with ease. No one skips happily into a clinic and no one smiles walking out. It is something that we will live with for the rest of our lives. Something that we may never fully work through. Something that we will replay over and over again in our heads, questioning the “what ifs” and the “I wonders.” Something we will never forget as much as we wish we could.
Recently (in response to the upcoming election), I have seen and heard many speak badly on women who have chosen to have an abortion. They call us heartless. They call us repulsive. They call us evil. They even call us whores. But the reality is, none of those words describe us. Although, there is one word they could call us that would accurately fit our description – sinners. Then again, that word could accurately describe them too.
But guess what? I have repented. Because of that, I am forgiven by my all mighty and merciful God (Daniel 9:9). And so are the other women who have and will have an abortion. I want anyone who is struggling to make that choice (or anyone who has already made the choice) to know that I do not judge you – because I have been there. And maybe, just maybe, if more women who have experienced an abortion spoke up and shared their stories we could help those that are struggling.
It’s so easy for people to label a woman selfish because of a choice she made. But most women who decide to have an abortion are doing it for the exact opposite. The majority of abortions are done out of panic and anxiety on the mother’s part. They fear not being able to properly care for the child (physically, financially, emotionally, and/or mentally). The guilt, the hurt, and the shame that these women carry follow them for the rest of their lives. So many women feel they have to keep their abortion stories to themselves. They feel they must keep their regret, their torment, their sadness, their anguish, their tears, and their emptiness inside. I want to change that.
I know the confusion, the fear, the uncertainty, the doubt and the worry that comes with an unplanned pregnancy. I know the emotional damage, the grief, the shame, and the regret that follows an abortion. But I also know the magnitude of God’s forgiveness, His mercy, and His compassion. (Psalms 103:8)
I am writing to the women who have had an abortion, like me. I want to let you know that you are still beautiful. You are still worthy and no one has the right to judge your choice but the Man above. He is the only one you owe an explanation to. If you truly feel convicted for your actions, I encourage you to turn to Him and repent. He will wash away your mistake as if it were never there. He will forgive you and allow you to forgive yourself. (Acts 3:19)
I am writing to the ones who cannot relate and the ones who call us outside of our names. You, my friend, are no better than I. I will not stay silent while you judge us anymore. How easy it is for you to shout judgments when you have not personally been faced with this decision yourself. I pray you learn to show sympathy and compassion, instead of kicking others when they are down. (Matthew 7:1-5)
I am also writing to the women who are considering having an abortion. You are not alone, even though I know you feel like you are. I want to let you know the pain that follows is something that you don’t want. What if I told you how horrible it made me feel? What if I told you the pain from the actual procedure itself doesn’t even amount to a fraction of the emotional pain I felt? What if I told you I didn’t feel an ounce of relief? Instead, I couldn’t fathom the fact that I had actually ended the life of my own flesh and blood. What if I told you I couldn’t look a baby in the eye without feeling instant guilt? What if I told you I begged and pleaded to God to reverse the hands of time and give me another chance? What if I told you how often I think about my unborn, and what a wonderful person they would have turned out to be if only I gave them the chance of life? What if I told you, years later, when I became pregnant with my son that I lived in fear? Terrified that God may decide to take away the gift that I decided I was finally ready for. What if I told you it wasn’t worth it?
Although I know I have been forgiven and I have learned to forgive myself – I will never, ever be able to forget. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish someone would have talked to me about their personal experience. Maybe, just maybe, things would have been different.
But they weren’t. And I cannot go back and change my past. But what I can do is help change someone’s future.
I am taking it upon myself to speak up and speak out. And who better to do it than someone who has experienced it hands-on? I am very aware that me choosing to publicly share my abortion story leaves me open to judgment and critical opinions of others. No one has forced me to share these previously hidden details about my life. I realize I could have chosen to remain silent and continue to hide my truth, but then I wouldn’t be sharing the testimony of how forgiving my God is. Only He has given me the power and the strength to share this chapter of my life.
And even if I only help ONE woman. Even if I only save ONE life. Even if I only steer ONE person closer to God. Then to the judgments and harsh commentsI may receive… I’m ready to face it.
Margaret Fuller, a journalist and women’s right activist from the 1800s, once said, “If you have knowledge, let other’s light their candles in it.” Knowledge is power. Like many women, I have knowledge on both sides of the spectrum. I know what it’s like to deliver a child and I also know what it’s like to abort one. One of those decisions I am proud of, whereas the other I am not. And if I can be the fire that other women light their candles on, then let my flames shine bright.
If you are struggling with abortion, please know that you can safely and confidentially confide in me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While I am not a professional, I know what it’s like to feel alone & I would love to help you walk through your healing process. Please remember, you are not alone. Don’t lose hope and do not give up on yourself. And most importantly, pray.