Thursday, February 11, 2016

How the Planned Parenthood Videos Affected Me

This article was originally published on August 14, 2015 in the Hawaii Catholic Herald. The original source is HERE.

When I first heard about the content of the videos about Planned Parenthood selling baby parts my heart sunk into the pit of my stomach. I was horrified at the thoughts and all the wounds of my past abortion surfaced at once. I wanted to run and hide. I couldn’t face the videos. But through God’s grace and inspiration from Immaculate Heart Radio I knew I had to face them, view them, and understand what was happening.

The interviews and images were gut-wrenching. I was immediately sick to my stomach on the verge of throwing up. The feeling hung with me and I couldn’t shake the horror. I prayed that nothing like that happened to my precious lost soul. I prayed to my child in heaven, pleading once again for forgiveness. I prayed that all those impacted by abortion would find the strength to endure this challenging horror.

In all reality, if I hadn’t attended Rachel’s Vineyard (a post-abortion reconciliation retreat) this past May, I don’t think I could have survived this news and go forward, even if going forward meant no longer putting on mascara as I found myself crying many times throughout the day. I found strength in realizing God’s timing is perfect and he extended his healing grace to me prior to this devastating news.

However, even with his grace I have felt an increase in irritability and annoyance that no one who knows my story has reached out to me to lend support, to ask how I am, to give me a hug. No one around me is talking about these disturbing videos and I wonder how that is possible. The silence is deafening and I can’t remove the horror of babies being ripped apart and sold piece by piece. It scares me that this is okay in this time and age. I am devastated but strong.

But I also know not everyone is as lucky as I am. There are women hurting and I am certain many do not know where to go for help, don’t forgive themselves, and need our help and prayers. I pray for them daily, have started prayer circles, and have broken my silence and am taking a more active pro-life role. I refuse to be silent anymore.

#IRegretMyAbortion and am #SilentNoMore

Today I am bringing things out of the archive with a testimony I wrote last year. It was originally published HERE.

Fifteen years ago I made the worst decision of my life.

I had an abortion because I was coming out of a failed marriage, I was having an affair with the baby's dad who said if I ever got pregnant I would have to abort, and I was new to my job. I was told by many as soon as I started that, if I ever became pregnant, I would lose my job. I felt lost and alone...afraid to have a child with no job, no insurance, and no family support. I was too embarrassed to tell my mom thousands of miles away the predicament I was in.

I had my abortion at the doctor's office. They gave me valium to take the night before, the morning of, and after the abortion and that is all the instruction I remember. I do remember the nurse not looking at me and the doctor telling me not to look at the screen. I did and instantly regretted my decision, but it was too late. The procedure was underway and I cried. The doctor rushed to turn the screen out of my view but no one said anything to me. I was told I could leave when it was done.

Once home I felt humiliated. The baby's dad gave me $100 and dropped me off at my driveway. I was hurt and didn't want his money.  I felt isolated and alone. Co-workers called to check on me after the procedure, but I had to lie about what it was for to protect my job. I was tired of lying and stopped taking their calls. I cried alone in my bed for days. Eventually, I had to go back to work and tried to pretend things were okay, but they weren't.

This just led to a string of bad relationships, if you can call them that, with other men. Things went sour with the baby's dad, which, in all reality, was probably for the best. But I had no value for my life. I didn't care if I got in a car accident or died. My life didn't matter. This is when I started drinking alcohol.  Up to this point, I hardly ever had a drink. Eventually, I met my current husband and my walls started going down and love entered my heart.  But once we had our first child things changed.

I was terrified every day of my pregnancy. I was so afraid I was going to lose her and, after an emergency c-section, I was so thankful she was fine.  But I still fell into a deep depression. I remember sitting at the changing table with her in front of me, probably close to a year old, thinking I should be happier than this. I should "feel" something. I slowly searched for help, but by this point my marriage was suffering.

I felt so bad about myself, so ashamed of myself, so worthless that I put unrealistic expectations on my husband to make me feel loved and appreciated.  But how can someone make you feel loved when you don't love yourself? Our marriage is still shaky to this day, but I just recently went to an abortion healing retreat. Rebirth and repairing the wounds takes time. Dealing with the anxiety and panic attacks that have been plaguing me the past couple of years takes time.

I found help and forgiveness through God, through going to confession, and through attending an abortion healing retreat over a year after my confession. It has been a long journey and forgiving myself was, and still is sometimes, the hardest part. I still feel shame when I tell my story, but I tell it as I feel that is what I am meant to do. Tell my story.

I am silent no more because God loves me so much and forgave me. He has blessed me so much throughout my life and I feel He has called me to take a stand and speak up about how abortion not only harms the child but the mother too. The years of guilt and grief are far worse than any bad I imagined could have come from having my child 15 years ago.

But the shame I feel today is bearable and a reminder that God is loving and forgiving. The shame is nothing in comparison to the good I can do by telling my story. The shame reminds me that I am human, I make mistakes, but through confession and listening to God, I will continue to grow closer to Jesus.