To those of my friends that have read my prior post, I have something to say here that I hope you will hear. Because of so much conversation I’ve had with many friends and family over the last couple days. I’m going to be very honest and vulnerable, and it is only because I have deeply hurt some people with what I have said. I can say, I should have known this could happen, because of the topic, but I truly was coming from a place of love. In this post though, it has been FOOLISH on my part to think that all that is in my heart, and on my mind could be summed up in a short post. If you know me well you know my intentions were out of love. Please, please read until the end. And if you think this doesn’t affect you I promise you it does.
I hope this will be read, and received and understood. I think people don’t appreciate a long post anymore so I will do my best to be clear without going to long. I’m not a writer so forgive me as I attempt explaining. It will most likely be too long.
I spoke at an event on September 24, 2019, to hundreds of men and women about abortion. I shared my own traumatic experience and how it impacted my life very openly and honestly. The impact it all had on me however, would have to be heard and spoken of face to face to even come close to understanding, just like everyones story. I spoke up, after over 30 years of sickening, suffocation silence. I spoke, because I wanted to break through the shame women and men experience, help find healing, and bring awareness of the impact of hate and what is being said to women about abortion. I wanted to stand up for those who are being silenced and hurt. I spoke to give hope and speak life to women who had abortions for one reason or another.
I have talked with women that come from every scenario you can imagine. I have friends that became pregnant at a very young age, and had an abortion alone, with no one by their side, out of fear that their parents would find out, and it would wreak havoc on their lives. Some of those procedures went well, and others were complicated, painful and scaring. Then, there are those who went with a friend or boyfriend, feeling pressured and wanting to back out, to keep their baby and find another way, but didn’t, and couldn’t, and live with regret, anxiety and the fear of anyone finding out what they had done. I have a friend who chose to have an abortion in medical school because it just couldn’t interfere with her countless years of hard work and discipline and her parents would never forgive her. She chose to go through with it, and went on with her life thinking it was a wise decision. She then found 10 years later that she would have to explain to her husband, that she was most certain the reason they were unable to have children, because of the abortion that left excessive scaring on her uterus. She wasn’t certain, but it haunted her. She felt responsible and guilty. I also have a friend who’s family chose to have her abort after being raped. Can you imagine? Of course I would want to do the same. I had been violently raped and understood. Who would say otherwise? All of these lovely, strong amazing women and young girls, made decisions that impacted their lives in ways you will never ever understand, unless you yourself have had an abortion.
I do know, that there are many women that have had abortions that felt it was the best decision at the time, and they are thankful for the outcome. Most that I have spoken with though, still live with shame. Most women can’t speak of it, or even find help or counseling, because they are living with fears of judgment and ridicule from their husbands or children that don’t know, their parents that wouldn’t understand, the church that would most certainly condemn them, the public, who may do God knows what to them, out of hatred or a prideful stance in religion or politics. Most women stay silent. The thing is, this silence whether they feel they did the right thing, or wish they took a different route, only causes anxiety, fears and depression in the mind and heart of a person who should not feel anything but love and understanding. Ultimately there is no room for judgment by anyone. It is not so simple, and this I did not communicate in my post, I wrote quickly and clicked on “done”. It’s never done and simple.
I have been told that I have come across judgmental in my post, and I am writing to respond not out of pride. (if you truly know me, and fb people don’t totally—you will know I am not that person) I had many friends text or write me thanking me for speaking up and feeling I was their voice. Many friends have thanked me, because they can’t speak their minds for fear of losing their job for being pro life, or possibly tipping a friend or family member off, to question or think maybe they had an abortion. (that fear still lingers) I have friends thanking me for saying what I posted, lovingly and yet strongly. It’s a topic that they can’t speak of because the world in many ways silences them.
It will surprise you, but all but a few of the women who are grateful for this post and that I am standing up for, are the very women that have had abortions who still carry the weight and shame of their decision. They wish they had done things another way. They have regret, but can’t speak for fear of shame, and that shame mostly comes from family, the Pro life community and Churches. Isn’t that backwards?
Religious groups, and close-minded people show hate and not love. They point fingers and silence people to live with something so serious, emotional and traumatizing, while pretending to care, or walk about saying they are doing what is right. These women go without counseling, understanding or healing, and the ability to open their mouths and talk and cry and express their feelings about the whole situation. Many of these women live with PTSD and anxiety that no one would ever know about. They are your mother, sister and girlfriends. 1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Look around. They are silenced. These women teach your children in school and show up at the PTA meeting. They work with you at your company and walk along side you through life. But they are silenced. You will never know their story. It is because of people, like you ASSUMED I am, that women live this life with an unseen sign on their backs saying WORTHLESS, SHAME, UGLY. It’s real and it’s painful and you will never know it.
There is also another side, that was not addressed and if left without acknowledgment. If not acknowledged it will only lead to further sadness, shame and anger. And for this I am so sorry. This is truly why I am writing this post. I didn’t address it, because I thought that my stance would be known. But with my short post, it couldn’t possibly be known. I was assuming I would be heard as loving women that have suffered or will suffer in some way, because of one decision that would forever change their lives. But, my word usage was harsh in one post, and the interpretation was left open to believe I am one of those awful judgmental people, or worse, a heartless hypocritical Christian. And there are many out there, I know. There are many that are NOT that way, but yes, sadly there are those who are beyond hypocritical. But those people don’t represent me, or anyone who truly follows Jesus.
I have to apologize to the thousands of women that have had to abort their babies for medical reasons beyond their control. They have had to face a terrible procedure that they did not want, nor want to agree with. I know them personally. And as well, a friend wrote me yesterday to tell my privately of someone dear to them that my post hurt. This makes me so sad. These women, had to wrestle and fight for the life of their unborn baby until there was no other answer. They have faced similar shame and guilt and have been silenced in so many ways. They not only live with heart break and sadness that is not comprehended unless you have carried a child in your womb, but the pain of silence because of the judgment floating around so freely. Whether someone has been pregnant and forced to abort, or birthed their child that did not survive because of complications, we will never understand the loss of a child by a mother fully wanting and preparing for the miracle of her precious baby to arrive. We won’t. I will never because that is not what I have experienced, so I won’t even begin to say I can understand in any way. It’s heartbreaking to even imagine.
Recently, I was with a group of amazing friends, and shockingly learned of their own stories, and others, of losing their baby because of complications during their pregnancies. Losing them not to abortion, but miscarriages. Their stories were heart wrenching and just unbelievable. It terrified me to think of their circumstances and how vulnerable we all are as women, to go through something as difficult as losing your baby at 4, 6 or 8 months gestation, or 2 months after birth. I couldn’t believe after hearing their stories, how strong and courageous, happy and kind they still were after all they had been through. Well I can really, because women are amazing and STRONG. I sat there ashamed and sick to my stomach, as I listened as well, from the place in me that faced my own nightmare 30 + years ago. I worried that they cold see right through me and would judge me intensely. The silence crept in again, even after speaking with hundreds of women about breaking the silence. What I saw also, was the pain that these women still lived in, yet found comfort speaking with someone who could understand. They had healing on a new level right there in that car, that if kept silent wouldn’t be allowed to take the course of letting go, and moving into a new light. I was so thankful to be a part of that moment. To see the freedom of speaking and healing in a safe place.
Stay with me, please. See, this is so complex. It’s more complex than you realize. Or maybe you do.
I have a friend who is here, because her mom refused to listen to the doctors who gave her every medical reason to abort. Doctor after doctor gave her mom fact after fact that she wouldn’t be born alive, or would be born with severe birth defects or worse. Her mom decided to take the risk that was thought to be dangerous and unwise. Well, thank God Rachel is here and making a difference in this world in incredible ways. And, she is perfectly healthy. So when I am talking with her, and look her in the eyes, I see a miracle. When I hug Rachel, and hold her to my heart, I feel a miracle. I have been touched by her in more ways than she will ever know. Mostly, because she shows the TRUE love of God. She counsels women about abortion and shares with them that there is another way. Not on FB, not behind a screen, but she speaks at various women’s clinics, on the sidewalks, at public events, on tv, through writing and more. She speaks though, of hope and options like adoption and more. She literally saves lives. Lives that you can hold and touch and know. She also speaks with the young girls and women that have chosen an abortion over these options, even after meeting with her, and she embraces them with love and shares with them the love they deserve with NO JUDGEMENT. She encourages them and still offers help and hope. She is my hero.
I also have a friend that I met at an event who was there to talk with women about abortion. She was gang raped by 6 men. I think that says it all. It’s horrifying and our worst nightmare as women. After sharing her gruesome story, I thought for sure I would comfort her and support her decision in every way. Then, she pulled out a picture of her little beautiful 3 year old girl. Her daughter who was born by the conception of a violent rape. We sat and shared stories about her sweet girl, just as I talk about my children we spoke of hers. There was a difference of course in her mind, and memory or the trauma that will forever be with her. But we talked mostly instead about the similarities and family genetics that were amazing and as unique and beautiful as any child. She told me that it was the worst and hardest decision she could ever face. But she said it was the best. Obviously it was. She simply said, I knew she was a part of me, and that made her my child and so I kept her. I was floored by her strength and courage and ability to face all he negative affects as well that she would have to heal from, as you can imagine. She became my hero as well.
These two stories are ones of thousands we know right? These stories are not “stories” though. They are personal, real, deep, life changing moments that are impossible to understand without walking through ourselves.
My story however, radically changed a year ago, and my thinking morphed into something different after 50 years of believing one way. Time and wisdom, age and circumstances do that. My story is personal and too long to share. But, I can say that I felt my entire life, that every woman has her right to her body and her decisions. I felt that at the end of the day, it is not and could not ever be my decision or any court, to say what another women can or can’t do. It is her God given right. There is a but, and I know we all hate a but… Yet ,this I have to share in hopes that at least you understand where I am coming from whether you agree or not. This is also my weakness in life, my downfall, that I want to be understood. In this case though, I really do. It matters for women that read this or hear of this, not me.
January 7, 2019, I had a massive shift in my reality. I really do want to keep this short. Obviously I am failing at this. I could write and write and that too would be for my healing and benefit, I’m sure. I had been speaking with my birth father for the first time in my life, for about a month, when we had a real, honest talk about what had happened in the past that lead to my adoption. I can’t go into it all here, but what I learned rocked my world. See, I thought because of what I read in my adoption papers early in life, that my birth parents dated for some time, accidentally conceived me, and for some reason realized it was in everyones best interest that I would be placed for adoption. I was okay with that to some extent, and filled in the blanks as a young girl would, as to what happened. What I didn’t know, or could ever have imagined or considered, was what I suddenly found out that day over the phone. After my birth mom realized she couldn’t go to her parents, or face the shame in her community, and a series of difficult events occurred she was faced with an option that would take care of her dilemma. She was taken by car, out of state, to a place that would perform an illegal abortion. This was 1968 and abortion was illegal. This procedure was dangerous for my birth mom, frightening for her, and there was too much uncertainty of a dangerous outcome. They quickly decided not to go through with the abortion, drove home and put that idea behind them. I was obviously put up for adoption (in a secretive shameful way) The moment I heard this my heart skipped and felt like it stopped. I was silenced. I was shocked. I was sick to my stomach. I said words and thought things I don’t entirely remember in the moment of disbelief. I felt my mind spinning and circling around beliefs I had held in my mind, about decisions I had made and decisions I agreed to. I felt awful and in ways I can’t explain. I of course, thought my birth father in that moment was brave and bold and honest and good. I heard his tone and words to be understood from a man who was not the man he was 50 years ago. I didn’t even know him, but I knew him in that second to be someone I could trust and respect. He was breaking silence for himself and for me. It was odd and awful, good and healing all in one. I forgave him because he asked for forgiveness. I didn’t really think he needed to ask, but it was for him ( and for myself I now know) for healing. I hung up the phone, walked straight outside and walked circles around my neighborhood. I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t see straight. Tears were flowing down my face and the ache in my heart was surreal and new. It was overwhelming my soul and every thought I had. I wanted to scream. I wanted to speak with someone. I just didn’t know what to do with what I was feeling. I sat and cried and wept like never before. I did so for many reasons that were pulsing through my mind. I did so because suddenly everything I thought of and believed shifted. I felt like a hypocrite. I felt confused. See, for the first time this was personal. I was that baby. I was in the room about to be aborted. It was me. I was floored that I felt what I felt. This part is personal. This part no one would understand. I was living because I was moment from being taken by abortion. But I wasn’t. And in that realization, I thought of my children Roddy, Keala, Liam and Grace that would NOT be here. I had obviously thought that before….I thought the thought of “What if I had been aborted” But it was distant, didn’t happen, and not my reality. But this, this changed that they would not exist. Which in turn changes the lives of thousands of people in our family and beyond. It changed everything. It was like being in a movie where they show what would happen if one thing were altered by a life not being lived. My life mattered for their lives. My children would not be here. I wouldn’t be here. You could simply say, yes, and life would have carried on differently and it all would have been fine. I guess you could take that stance certainly. But, say that to every person that has been touched by their lives, and there is purpose and beauty in it, and you would know that their lives matter. I don’t really say my life, because my whole life, honestly I grew up believing it didn’t matter. Really. No lie. I thought that until I had my children.
I didn’t instantly change my mind on abortion that day. My heart, soul and spirit were changed. I realized the implications of abortion and I felt guilt for my past on a level that I will never on this earth be able to explain. Guilt also that it took it to be ME, and me being so selfish to not realize that the life was a life that mattered. I thought months later, that I should speak out. I wanted to speak honestly and openly, so that if there were one woman living, as I had been living in silence and ashamed, that she would find comfort and a voice to express her sadness and regret. I wanted to help women know that there was counseling and healing available in so many ways. I also wanted to give hope to the women that were not wanting to go through with an abortion, but feeling lost or helpless, to know there are many options and many people wanting to come along side them with love and support. I wanted to stand up for life and acknowledge life from conception. Life with a heartbeat. Life that cannot defend itself. Life that deserves a chance.
I haven’t overlooked the struggle woman and young girls face. I have talked with them. Some of whom still chose an abortion. And I LOVE them and chose to encourage them to live without regret and to embrace how worthy, brave and lovely they still are. Abortion doesn’t define you. It hurts you, affects you deeply in ways people never understand no matter what your circumstance. I don’t know the answers. I just know that shame is a killer and it is hurting woman. (and men who help pay for the abortion, push the abortion, or try to plead not to have the abortion. Again, it’s not simple) Whether you chose to, or are forced to go through with it, it just brings pain.
If you have had an abortion, for what ever reason, I am sorry you endured it. If it were by choice, it was hard. If you were coerced, it was hard. If you had no choice at all, it was the hardest. I am sorry and feel for you in ways you won’t ever know.
I am writing because I feel deeply, am sensitive, and I know I was deeply misunderstood. It was my fault to think that such a place FB was a good place to bring this up.
SO, if I hurt you I apologize deeply. If I helped you, I am grateful. If I encouraged you, I pray you seek what you need to find you peace.
There is no simple answer and truly all we can do is love. Love covers all and heals all. It really does. They say it starts with “me” so this is my start. I love you.