Hope and Healing after Abortion: A True Story

By manager

This testimonial was originally published in The Family Lifeline (Mar 2010). The original article can be read at http://familylife.sg/2010/03/01/lifeline-mar-2010-hope-and-healing-after-abortion-a-true-story/

It happened when I went to university away from home and you would never have expected it. I was always a very well-behaved girl, a good student, responsible, nice and sweet. I had wonderful loving parents and was a very good student, even winning a scholarship because of my
good grades.

My boyfriend told me “It’s up to you, we can get married but you know my parents will kill me…”. On my part I felt the same. In that state of confusion, I felt that if I had gone through with the pregnancy, I would have disappointed my parents. I was their perfect daughter! Plus, I had a
great future to live for!

So, I did not tell them. I simply went to the doctor. In a matter of fact manner, he told me not to worry and scheduled an appointment for the following week.

I proceeded with the abortion. I was relieved. During the one week, all I could think about was getting rid of the “problem” that was in my stomach. After the abortion, I thought I could continue with my life where everything was fantastic, I kept on being the good girl I always was, only that I now had a secret that NO BODY knew. Nobody knew except for my boyfriend, the doctor… and God.

As things continued to be great in my life, I became suddenly very depressed with no particular reason about 15 years after the abortion. I would cry without really knowing why I was crying, I was constantly overwhelmed with waves of sadness and helplessness.

Psychologists whom I visited did not make the link between the abortion and my depression. They traced my psychological history. No family history of depression. They asked about my environment. No real difficulty with my job. They and I were mystified.

In his providence, the Lord sent yet another psychologist. For some reason, I mentioned to him that I had terminated my pregnancy many years ago. It suddenly “clicked” for him that the abortion was the source of the depression. Knowing that I was a Catholic, he advised me to see a priest, one whom I could talk to honestly about this. He seemed to recognise the need for the spiritual in my circumstances.

I approached Fr. Leslie Raj, SJ, and had a long conversation with him. He was kind and sympathetic and he recommended Rose Boon, coordinator of Pregnancy Crisis Service. She, too, was very kind and listened sympathetically. She lent me Dr. Theresa Burke’s book “Forbidden Grief”, a book that describes the mental and emotional distress faced by women after an abortion.

That was the turning point of my life.

As I read the book, practically everything mentioned in there spoke deeply to my heart. The symptoms, the repressed grief I experienced and the depression that I had sunk into were all vividly described in the book. I found myself saying “that’s me”. The author, Dr. Theresa Burke, was a founder of “Rachel’s Vineyard”, a retreat for women who had undergone an abortion and who needed a safe, non-judgmental environment to work through the spiritual, emotional and
mental distress and to begin the journey towards forgiveness and healing. The retreat helps women to confront the issue of their abortion in a forthright manner. The grace of God is always stronger than whatever sin or horrible deeds which we might have committed.

I cried so much during the retreat. But this time they were not tears of hopelessness. This time I knew. I was grieving for my dead child. They were also tears of joy. Knowing that I can be forgiven by God and that    His grace is more powerful than any crisis.

The final stage of my healing process was when I plucked up the courage to tell my parents. I expected them to scream at me but they did not. Instead they reassured me of their love. “It is part of the past, you are and will always be our beloved daughter, and we love you so much.”

God must have planned this to happen for my father sadly passed away shortly after I told him. I know that this was God’s timing. I cannot imagine not having been totally honest with my dad.

I am sharing this story in the hope that people will realise that yes, having a baby is a life changing
experience BUT please know that having an abortion is also an experience that changes your life (and not for the better). Having a baby is not the end of the world. Yes it changes your life but most certainly you will be able to cope with it.

We learn things to share with others. Hopefully, my sharing would be a learning experience for everybody.

The above story is from “Pauline” (not her real name) who attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. She shares this story in the hope that women who have experienced the pain of an abortion will find hope and healing as she did.

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