Monday, July 25, 2011

Undiscussed Truths of 'Choice'

There is certainly no shortage of opinions on abortion. For some it’s based on their moral or religious beliefs, or rights of the unborn. For others it’s about freedom of choice; a woman’s right to make choices concerning her own body. This blog is not intended to manipulate vulnerable women about whether abortion itself is right or wrong. If that were the case I believe my words would evaporate into the abyss we call the abortion debate. My intent is to provide support for women who may be faced with one of the most difficult choices of their lives – as I once was – by blowing through the rhetoric and sharing with them what I’d found to be the “undiscussed truths.”

Simply put, I am here to share my personal experiences with abortions in the hope that they will help educate women in a pro-choice society that professes personal freedom but fails to freely share all the information we need to make that choice. If I am able to help just one woman, I’ll feel this has all been worthwhile. But I also now feel driven to speak out and in some small way help mend a broken support structure and perhaps influence an all-to-often hypocritical society that failed me and continues to fail women today. As women, we owe it to each other to acknowledge that a pro-choice society hiding behind the ideals of feminism and choice, without the courage to reveal the “undiscussed truths,” is a failure unto ourselves. Yes, I had the right to choose an abortion. What I did not have was the ability to become fully educated on the true irreparable psychological damage that is so often associated with abortion and how alone I would be in my suffering.

Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS)….ever heard of it? It’s a very real condition that affects a large number of women, and even their partners, after an abortion. These women are met with a wide range of emotional symptoms they weren’t anticipating and suddenly find it difficult to cope with their decision. They can struggle with depression, self-doubt, suicide, cutting. Some find it difficult to care for their existing children, often feeling unworthy; and others struggle just to go about their day to day routine. PASS is very real and society needs to become educated on it!

Many pro-choice activists have been sweeping PASS under the rug, implying that it’s simply a myth made up by pro-life advocates as a scare tactic. How could they otherwise account for the limited pro-choice post abortion support groups? They did ultimately open Emerge in 2006. Don’t get me wrong, prior to that there were support groups, but the vast majority were lead by religious pro life organizations. Ironic, don’t you think? The very people rallying behind a woman’s right to choose ignore us when we‘re falling victims to the emotional aftermath of an abortion.

So what are the motives behind so many of these pro-choice activists? Is it really about women and their right to choose? That being the case, I would expect they would want to depict a clear truth of what that ‘choice’ entails. Pregnancy, unplanned or planned, is a life-altering event; one which carries with it a life-long decision. No one should make an uneducated choice about proceeding with or terminating their pregnancy without fully weighing their options and thinking through the consequences. And I just don’t feel that women today are given the opportunity to make a truly educated choice. We’re failing them in one of their most desperate hours by offering idealism rather that the facts – the “undiscussed truths.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

My First Angel

This month my little Aaron would be turning 10 years old. The thought has brought a lot of grief and tears, more than I‘ve had in a while. I’m not sure if it’s because 10 years old is such a milestone or if it’s simply because I’m realizing how much time has elapsed since my little angel was once alive and a part of me. I think maybe it’s a little of both.

I remember so clearly how excited I was for my 10th birthday and finally turning double digits. I often think about my Aaron and how excited he (or she) would be for his big day. And then I imagine the 10 years that I’ve missed of his little life - getting his first tooth, learning to walk, saying ‘mama’ for the first time, walking hand in hand to his first day at kindergarten, Christmas mornings, birthdays, visits from the tooth fairy, bedtime stories, trips to Disney World…life. I‘ve missed out on so many amazing memories and I’ve caused him to miss out on living.

It’s been over a decade since I carried my little Aaron inside me. Time has definitely helped me heal and move forward with life and yet ironically I seem to be fighting time. It’s a struggle for me as the years pass and separate me from the time when my angels were safe and living just under my heart. Nevertheless, I know I will carry them around forever in my heart but it just doesn’t change the fact that I miss them terribly!!

Happy Birthday my beautiful angel! I love you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Journey to Healing - a Man's Perspective

Many of us really have no idea how a man copes with an abortion. I‘ve recently had the pleasure to hear from one man as he goes through his Journey to Healing. His blog gives a look into a man’s heart in the aftermath of an abortion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Emotional Stess After My Abortions

My own shame mixed with the fear of judgment and disapproving opinions caused me to bottle up my emotions, allowing them to continue to build and fester inside me until I was ready to explode. I had become a ticking time bomb. Trying to find some way to defuse my emotions I turned to alcohol and drugs.

For a short time in between my on-again off-again relationship with my long-term boyfriend I began dating a drug dealer. He dealt mostly with ecstasy so that became my drug of choice, quickly working up to 3 or more pills a night, rolling roughly 4 times a week. It gave me what I had lost after my abortion: energy, emotional highs…peace. And one of the best factors, it kept me awake. I’d fall asleep eventually but the longer I could prolong the vivid, excruciating nightmares, the better. The come down, however, was horrible. Mixed with my already irritable and depressed state I was useless when I wasn’t rolling. To numb my senses during the day I smoked weed or drank myself into a stupor. And the longer I continued in the drug world, the more I experimented - candy flipping, meth, you name it and I was doing it.

Just a couple nights before I found out I was pregnant the second time a couple friends and I finished an eight ball of coke in one night. Imagine my surprise and fear when I discovered the pregnancy and knew I wanted to keep the baby. At that time I hoped with all that was in me that there was a God and He could help deliver me from my drug abuse to save my baby. I didn’t touch another drug my entire pregnancy but after my son was born the depression began to wash over me again. The more I loved my son the more I hurt for the child I had given up. This caused me to eventually turn away from my son and back to drugs. There is very little I remember during this time of my life and what I do remember seems like a bad dream. I recall a few mornings when he’d wake up early, only a couple hours after I had finally passed out. I’d stumble to get him out of his crib and bring him in my room leaving him to crawl around alone while I tried to continue sleeping. He’d inevitably begin crying for me to get up, throwing himself against the bottom of the bed eager for attention from his mommy. But I couldn’t move. Instead I‘d lay there listening to him while my heart broke…I just wanted to give him the love he deserved.

In the process of my second abortion, after hitting my lowest point, I realized I wanted to change. I had bound myself as a slave to depression, drugs and alcohol and I wanted freedom. Freedom, however, came at a cost. First I had to make it past the road to sobriety and that only came by the grace of God. And second, being sober meant I no longer had the drugs and alcohol to numb the longing I carried for my babies. Daily I heard demons screaming from within telling me I was a monster and unworthy of my son. It was a constant battle but I eventually found a post abortion support group and the realization that I wasn’t alone carried so much comfort. Now instead of turning to drugs that only numbed my pain I was able to turn to women who could empathize with me and help me overcome my pain.

Support and compassion are vital after an abortion; no one should feel they need to fight this emotional battle alone. Long term emotional stress is very real after an abortion! Not only are we often faced with the pain of losing a child but the pain of knowing we made that choice, which can carry immense guilt for many of us. Reaching out and talking with others helped me realize my abortions didn’t define who I was and didn’t make me a monster. They made me like every flawed human being who made a mistake and could be forgiven, I just carried a heavier burden!

Monday, July 18, 2011

From Pro Choice to Pro Life

When I was younger I was never really for or against abortions. It was never going to happen to me so who was I to stand in the way of a woman’s right to choose.  However, when I was faced with my own unplanned pregnancy my fear quickly turned me into a pro choice advocate.  What I have since learned is how easy it is to form an opinion on an issue based on a lack of true insight and understanding. After having 2 abortions, you might assume that I remain very much a pro choice advocate, right?  Wrong!  After 10 years of soul-searching I can now state without hesitation and with true insight into my opinion, I am a pro life advocate.  I realize, of course, that some will say this makes me a hypocrite.  To those people I respond…it makes me an honest and true survivor. 

Initially I rationalized my decisions and based on a belief that it was not the right time for me to bring a baby into my life, I continued on with my life.  But as I “continued on with my life” I also crawled through the emotional trenches, suffered through the nightmares, and longed for the babies I lost. I anguished over the idea that I allowed myself to be influenced into believing that my babies were not in fact babies, but just a lump of cells or tissue. My heart knows the truth now.  It knows the emptiness that will forever remain until someday I meet my little angels. I don’t want ANYONE to suffer the way I did. I don’t want anyone to be fooled into thinking an abortion is a quick relief.  By its very nature abortion necessitates a very quick and often hasty decision – presumably delivering a very quick solution.  But as you are forced to make this enormous decision during this very brief and highly emotional period it is rarely understood that you are making a life long decision that can have damaging effects on your emotional well being, regardless of the crap that Planned Parenthood shovels out saying emotional problems after an abortion are uncommon.

In my ’Social Disgrace’ blog I spoke about the boisterous radicals and their deafening chants against abortion. I’ve witnessed first hand as people have held up signs reading ‘Baby Killers’ and ‘You’re Going to Hell.’ I’ve watched as people have screamed obscenities to women leaving abortion clinics, and cringed with utter disbelief hearing of the unspeakable violence and murder that has taken place at these clinics carried out by those very people who at the top of their lungs profess to cherish life.  It disgusts me.  And despite their efforts to make women like me who have had an abortion feel like worthless filthy lepers, my eyes are now opened to the truth of those who are the true social disgrace!

As my healing progressed I knew I wanted to stand up and speak out against abortion but I wasn’t about to join the ranks with such extremists. One day, however, I asked some friends from my church support group to join me at a march against abortion. We didn’t talk the entire time we marched; instead we simply prayed, remembered, and cried. From there I met other pro life advocates and was pleasantly surprised by their compassion; they weren’t extremists like I had seen before. While some had gone to silent protests at clinics, I could see that they truly held no judgment, only sympathy for what any woman must be feeling as she faces an abortion decision. This group of people gave me hope. Hope, that someday as we work together through outreach and prayer that people like us will suppress the in-your-face, hateful acts of pro-life radicals and our message of compassion and understanding will rise up and triumph over hatred and judgment.  And I will continue praying that one day I will see an end to the damaging effects of abortion.

Friday, July 15, 2011

PASS - Amazing Post Abortion Support

Recently I’ve come across a message board at  It’s a site created for men and women who are seriously grieving their abortion. After just a couple of weeks there I’ve come leaps and bounds in my continued healing. The compassion is overwhelming! It’s a safe place for anyone touched by an abortion (even family and friends) to speak out about how it’s effected them. There is no judgment, no shame, just a great deal of understanding. Everyone has a unique story but a common bond that allows empathy and comfort in knowing you’re not alone. There‘s men and women in all different stages of their recovery, some just went through their abortion and are feeling so many raw emotions they weren't expecting while others have traveled the road through healing and are there to offer their support. So if you or anyone you know needs a safe place to talk about your feelings or simply to realize that the roller coaster of emotions you feel are completely normal, check it out. You’ll find so many people wanting to lift you up and help you see you’re not alone!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Abortion: Social Disgrace you hear it?? It’s not the cries of those of us who are struggling to survive with our own personal abortion decisions. Nor is it the sound of compassion reaching out to those of us who made such decisions. No... any such voices have been caustically muted as the very personal issue of abortion has become very public fodder for political pundits and as self-appointed morality judges take to the pulpit. Their thunderous and overwhelming public displays effectively silence women such as me who fear the disapproving glares and harsh judgment.

For 10 years I’ve been nearly silent as I carried the grief and overwhelming shame of my abortion alone. Yet during these same 10 years I have sadly joined friends and family a number of times to grieve beside an expectant mother who just suffered a miscarriage. Each time I mourn with her, but with a secret empathy and a nagging sadness...there was no one to mourn the loss of my babies with me. Regardless of the circumstances, I deeply mourned my loss, but I did so alone. Not even during my follow up visits to Planned Parenthood, where my abortions were performed, did anyone seem to understand my sense of loss. I was left feeling isolated and confused when they told me that my grief seemed extreme. It was at that point I decided maybe I needed to accept that I made a choice (a choice I came to despise) and by having made this choice I apparently was not entitled to any sense of loss. “ You made your bed, now lie in it.”

During the past couple years, I slowly began to break my silence. As I began to reach out and find others who had experienced abortions I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in my deep and unrelenting emotions, I'm not alone in my regret and guilt. The more people I talk with the more apparent it becomes that there are powerful emotions and heavy burdens associated with abortions.  And while it is a “freeing” experience to meet these people with whom I can share a true sense of empathy, I feel like we’re in some underground secret society. Most of us still don’t feel comfortable talking to those closest to us in our lives – those whose love we cherish and whose opinions we value. It’s sad... really. We live in an educated society, filled with people who believe it is wrong to judge – that is unless they are doing the judging.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Forever With Me

For years I have been dealing with the grueling impact my two abortions have had on my life. I’ve cried a lot and felt more pain than I wish to ever feel again. And while I knew how real my abortions were even then, it was important for me to carry some distance in order to not be completely overpowered by the realness of it all. I think that’s why when my first son was born I struggled so much more. I saw what comes from that little life and I experienced the possibilities of what could have been.

It took a long time but I finally began to find healing and with that healing I found hope - hope that I could forgive myself without letting go of what happened and what I once had, because I believe that the precious gifts I once had were real, once alive and existing inside me. I no longer wanted to remember them simply as my first abortion or second abortion, I wanted to give them an existence forever in my heart and in this world. I wanted to give them names.

My beautiful first baby, Aaron (EDD July 2001), meaning shining light. My little light that shines hope on the fact that one day I will hold you in my arms as I’ve longed to do for so long.
To my special third child, David (EDD May 2004), meaning beloved. I tried to deny you my love 8 years ago but never will another day go by where I will not think about how much I love you.

Healing After my Abortions

I know that not everyone has great remorse after having an abortion but I’d have to say that the number of those cases must be few. I’ve had the chance to talk with a lot of post abortion women (and men) and I have yet to meet one who was completely satisfied with their decision. Not to say that some aren’t, but I just haven’t met one. But that’s really a blog for another time. For those of us who do regret our decision the road to healing can be long and difficult but when we do finally escape from our hell there is usually something or someone that helped get us out. For me, it was God!

Growing up I remember Sunday mornings in church and saying the Lord’s prayer with my parents at night. I considered myself a Christian but at some point in high school I decided to follow my own ways. Sure I’d pray to God when I thought it might benefit me - like when I was pregnant with my son and was concerned for both our health. And when my son was born and my doctor told me what a miracle baby he was I did consider that maybe the big guy in the sky really did exist. But I wasn’t ready to face Him. Especially after my second abortion when I had hit my lowest of lows. I had already condemned myself to a lifetime of hell, I didn’t need to fear an eternity of it.

Still, after moving back with my parents I found myself at a church. I had started going not because of God but because of the singles group. I needed to meet some people and I had heard this church had a huge singles ministry. But one Saturday night at that church changed my life. There was a giant cross on the stage that night and the pastor was talking about Jesus dying for our sins. He said that Jesus died on that cross for each of one us and that nailed on that cross with Him were all of our sins. I started crying. Though I knew I never really belonged in that church I suddenly had an overwhelming desire to run. My sins were unforgivable. I know everyone lies or steals at least a pencil in their life but I was a monster. The pastor continued talking and said that no matter how great our sin, God is greater. Somehow I believed him. We were each given a piece of paper and asked to write down one sin in our life that we wanted to lay at the foot of the cross to symbolize the washing of our sin. I wrote my angel babies and walked up and laid them at the feet of Jesus.

It’s been 7 years since then and while I’d like to say that I’ve never struggled with my decisions ever again, I can’t. I found true forgiveness that night but I continued to carry around the heavy burden that came with my decisions. It’s only been in the last month that I’ve begun to lighten my burden but I know the day will come when I really do find rest.

“Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Medicated Abortion

It’s been really hard to reflect back on this pregnancy. After my first abortion I had never found a way to cope and so it continued to eat away at me until I was nearly dead inside. I had no real relationship with my son and I cared for drugs more than I cared about either of us. So when I discovered I was pregnant all I felt was disgust…at me, at the baby, at the world. I didn’t feel any desire to protect it like I had with my first pregnancy. All I wanted was to rid myself of this, this ’thing’ inside of me.

I knew I didn’t want to go through the surgical abortion again and have to listen to that awful suctioning noise; instead, I opted for the abortion pill, it sounded so easy. So I popped the first pill at Planned Parenthood and then at home I took the second medicine, misoprostol. I had received a prescription for anti-nausea medication because apparently the misoprostol could make me pretty sick. But I figured since the medicated abortion was supposed to be more like a natural miscarriage I could handle it and considered not filling my prescription. My roommate was the one who convinced me to get it filled ‘just in case.’ On my way to the drug store it hit! A wave of nausea that caused me to open my car door while driving and throw up as I was pulling over. It was the worst nausea I’ve ever experienced. I knew I needed that prescription now so I made it to the drug store and spent the entire time in the bathroom throwing up. I still don’t know how I made it home.

The cramping became almost intolerable shortly after I got home. I decided to climb in the bathtub and try to relieve some of the pain. As I was in there I remember hearing stories of people seeing their baby after they passed it. For the first time this abortion I suddenly felt true remorse. What the hell had I just done? This wasn’t just some ‘thing,’ this was my baby! And the thought that I could be lying in the bathtub with my dead baby was more than I could handle.

That was it…I hit rock bottom. Lying in the bathtub I began seeing my life for what it was - void of any real meaning. I had become addicted to drugs and alcohol once again. I didn’t even know my own son, most of the time I left him with people I didn’t know or when I knew them I knew all too well that they’d be too high to watch him. And then I thought about what I was doing right then, lying in a bathtub full of my own blood while aborting another child.

It was all too much. I hated the monster I had become and all I wanted was to die. The only thing I had was my son and he’d be better off without me. My parents would raise him and he’d have a much better life than I would ever give him, he’d finally have someone to love him like he deserved. Then, as if on cue, my son began crying. The sound of his voice seemed to knock life back into me. How could I ever leave my son? I had made so many selfish choices since he had been born but I knew I wanted to change. I wanted to be the mother he deserved.

Since I was still in so much pain I called for my roommate to bring him back to my room. I climbed out of the bathtub and we laid on my bed, both of us crying. I wanted so badly to start fresh with him right then but the truth was I was still having an abortion and I slowly I began to realize that something wasn’t right. I could hardly move and I was loosing a lot of blood - too much blood. It been hours now since I had started heavy bleeding and instead of slowing down it seemed to be increasing. So I was taken to the emergency room and had to watch as a doctor tried to hide his judgment.

A month after my second abortion I was packing up to move back with my parents. I was really broken from my 2 abortions and not sure how I would ever forgive myself but I knew I couldn‘t stay in the life I was leading. My dad came and helped us move just before Thanksgiving and best of all, we were going to be home for my son’s first birthday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Another Unplanned Pregnancy

At 10:15 AM I was holding my little miracle in my arms. He was perfect - 10 fingers, 10 toes, beautiful blue eyes and the most kissable chubby cheeks. I was in love! One month went by and then another. My little guy was growing up and beginning to smile. My heart soared every time I saw those gums but I also ached inside. My son was missing his older sibling. My first baby would’ve been a year and a half old now - walking, talking jibberish, and probably intrigued with the new baby. They were supposed to grow up together - share a room and fight over toys, cheer each other on in sports and challenge each other at games. My son wasn’t supposed to be alone.

I never really talked to anyone about my feelings. I felt completely alone, as though no one could understand; after all, it had been over two years since my abortion. I figured I was overreacting and needed to stop thinking so much about it. But I couldn’t. I felt so numb inside, as if I had died. My parents saw it and tried so hard to reach out to me but I kept pulling away. I began calling my ex and he convinced me to move back with him. Without much thought I packed up my 6 month old and moved. To this day I can’t imagine why but I needed something and I kept hoping to find it in him.

My boyfriend and I began fighting right away and only one month after we got there I discovered what a mistake I had made. I was holding my son when we got into an argument and my boyfriend let loose on me. Our neighbor called the police and my boyfriend ran off when he heard the sirens. I still remember the look in their eyes when the police officer’s told me I needed to leave to protect my little one. Why had it come to this? I felt so stupid that I had put my baby in that kind of situation. I got out and moved in with a friend that night.

The tears wouldn’t stop. I so wanted to call my parents and go home but I was too embarrassed. They had done so much for me, even moving across country just trying to help. All they wanted was to love me and I wouldn’t let them. How could I? I felt like a monster and couldn’t imagine anyone loving someone like me. So I stayed where I was and fell into a meaningless relationship only to wind up pregnant once again.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pregnant Again

So here I am again, pregnant. Only this time I didn’t find myself playing 20 questions, I simply put on my big girl panties and said let’s do this! I was 20 years old and about to experience motherhood.

When I visited my obstetrician for the first time, though, everything changed. She went through a long list of possible risks for a baby born to a mother with a drug habit. She also wanted me to contact my psychiatrist and ask her about the anti-depressants I was taking. My psychiatrist told me the medications significantly increased the chances of serious birth defects but that stopping the meds could be catastrophic to my mental stability. But what else could I do? Nothing could be more catastrophic to me than having another abortion.

I felt completely hopeless. I remember wrapping my arms around my belly and wanting so badly to protect the little one inside of me. And then I found myself on my knees. I began praying to a God that I hadn’t spoken to in years. Did I even believe in God? And let’s say there is an all-powerful God in Heaven, why would He listen to me? But none of that mattered, I couldn’t have stopped myself if I tried. I needed a miracle.

That day I stopped taking all my medications and I didn’t touch another drug for the rest of my pregnancy. I also talked with my parents and we agreed that for my safety and the safety of the baby I needed to move far away from my boyfriend. So without any doubt they packed up their lives and moved with me across country so I could have a new beginning.

Since I was considered high risk I got to have more sonograms than most. It was absolutely awesome watching this little life grow inside me. But around 18 weeks my mom and I went for another sonogram and this one had me nervous. Up until now all the tests had come back negative, showing a perfectly healthy little baby. This time, though, the doctor wanted to take a close look at my baby’s back to rule out Spina Bifida. My mom sat holding my hand while we watched the doctor take picture after picture, measuring every inch of my baby. And then He gave me the news I’ll never forget. My baby looked perfect!

To celebrate, my mom and I went out and bought some clothes for my son. My son! I still couldn’t believe that in just a few months I was going to have a little boy to hold. But as exciting as it was it all made me miss my first baby so much more. It was an actual physical pain. Mothers are put on this earth to protect their children and I never even gave my first a chance.

A week before my due date I woke up at 3AM in labor. The contractions weren’t painful but they were consistent so after a few I got up and took a shower. It wasn’t really until I woke up my parents that the realization dawned on me…I was about to have a baby!!!