NOTE: Today’s guest blog deals with sensitive subjects, including abortion, in a candid manner. While we pray it is edifying, the material may be upsetting to some readers.
In the city that I live in, there are multiple abortion clinics. A simple Internet search provides you with all you need to know to select one. The location, the reviews, whether to expect picketing, where to park and so forth. The date was January the 6th. I had eaten breakfast and asked my best friend, who was also my ex-boyfriend, to drive me to my appointment at the clinic. He asked me if the baby was his, I said “No.” I did not discuss my decision to terminate the pregnancy with the father of the baby. I determined that it was my body, and so it was my choice. My decision was based on me feeling that I was too young to have a baby, the lack of relationship with the father of the baby, and that my mother would not be supportive.
I had not envisioned that my first pregnancy would be like this. I thought I would be happily married, and it would be an occasion to celebrate. I thought that both families would be filled with joy, and there would be so much love. At the time of my visit to the clinic, I was legally married and the father of the baby was my husband. He was dating another woman, he was possibly with her the day I went to the clinic, I am not sure. I was not thinking about him or what I was doing. I needed to not think about anything, just be numb. This was no big deal.
We pulled into the parking lot and maneuvered past the picketers holding up various signs, such as “Baby Killer.” They were pro-life Catholics. Instead of saying awful things, maybe just maybe, if one of them had said something compassionate. . . .
But it was my choice, I take responsibility for the decisions I made that day and leading up to that day. I entered the clinic and checked in. I was told to go into a room and strip down to just a paper gown. I was given a little bracelet that had the key to the locker where I would place all my items. I was to wear nothing, no jewelry, no watch and have no phone of course. Just the paper gown that covered some things and the little bracelet. I entered a holding room, full of pregnant women. There was one girl in there a few years older than me. I am sure it was obvious that I did not know what was going on and that I was scared. She had pretty blond hair and told me not to be nervous that she does this all the time. I asked what she meant. She shared with me that abortions were her birth control. She did not choose to use any other forms of birth control. She assured me that all would be fine, it would be over quick, and I would just feel cramping afterwards. We sat there together in those paper gowns, her comforting me and me trying to pretend this was no big deal.
I had been sexually active about a year at that point with two different men. My ex-boyfriend who drove me to the clinic was my first and the man I married was the second. I was not comfortable with nudity and certainly was still trying to figure everything out. The paper gown left little to the imagination, which made me uncomfortable. The little voice inside me was screaming, “Leave!” I was alone and scared and felt that there was no other path. I was called into the exam room where a female performed an ultrasound on me. She shared that I was 13 weeks pregnant and that I may be “too far along” for them to proceed with the abortion. I joked that I had “a big breakfast” and did not think that I was that far along. I had no idea how far along I was.
After my husband and I split up, I lived alone in an abandoned house. I had no furniture, no anything – just me sitting on the floor curled up in a ball as Christmas approached. I wanted to die, I did not attempt suicide to be clear, but I certainly wanted to die. I knew that I was pregnant, I knew that my husband was dating another woman, and I knew that I felt utterly alone. It was during that dark time that I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I reached out to my ex-boyfriend, and he promised to take me to the appointment.
After the procedure was over, I stumbled back to the room with the lockers and tried to find the one with my clothes. My head was spinning, and the locker number on the little orange coiled bracelet seemed so hard to read. I was pouring out blood and felt incredible pain. The nurse who assisted the male doctor during the procedure gave me very thick and long sanitary pads because she said I would “bleed a lot.” She recommended Tylenol for the cramping. I was embarrassed to have my legs spread wide with my feet up in the stirrups as a male doctor whose name I did not know was tugging hard on my insides as I lay there naked for all to see. I just wanted the procedure to be over at that point. I wanted the tugging to stop, and I wanted to put my clothes on and never think about any of this again. I kept thinking about what the beautiful blond girl told me. She had done this six . . . or was it seven . . . times. Why was I acting like a baby? Why couldn’t I be strong like her?
My ex-boyfriend stood up to hug me as I re-entered the waiting room. I was bleeding so very heavily, felt dizzy, and the cramps were bad by this point. He helped me out to the parking lot and into his car, past the picketers – shielding me as best he could. He knew I did not want to talk about it, so he talked about everything under the sun during the drive home to distract me.
In about a month, I recovered physically. I began to date someone new as the divorce proceeded. After the experience at the clinic, I went on oral birth control (I was not taking birth control prior). With my new boyfriend, I began to drink, a lot. So much that I would sometimes get alcohol poisoning. We were having fun and enjoying each other in every sense of the word. Life went on.
Sometime later, I had a friend who was a Pastor at a Presbyterian PCA church. He was always talking about Jesus and the Bible. I would listen, but not grasp what he was saying or really invest the time to try to understand. One day, I learned that there was an unwed young lady who was a regular attender of that church. She was pregnant and the church ex-communicated her. I wondered, how can a group of people who said they love everyone and are “pro-life” kick someone out who needed them now more than ever? I had to wonder if she had quietly gotten an abortion instead, nobody would have been the wiser. Nobody knew about my abortion, except the father and my ex-boyfriend who drove me. I never told a soul.
It was shortly after this incident that I met Jesus. I realized many things. That He is with me always. He forgives me for everything, yes, even abortion. He loves the pregnant, unwed lady in the church, too. He creates every life. A baby is alive at the moment of conception. He loves me. Yes, even a terrible sinner like me.
You never fully heal from an abortion. Your body may recover, but the scars are there. You carry them daily. It is not the easy way out; it is riddled with pain and hurt. There are also “what if?” questions. What if the baby I carried was a boy? What if the baby I carried would have cured cancer? You think about how old they would have been and what their life might have been like. You think about what your life might have been like. The pain that you carry will always be there, and nobody but Jesus can understand what you went through. We must give our pain to Jesus, because it is too much for us to bear. 1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT).
In Jesus, we are forgiven. I am sorry if you have experienced a decision similar to mine. I am sorry for your loss and for your pain. I am sorry if you have been hurt by “the Church.” We are all sinners and mess up. Please do not turn your back on “the Church” if you have had negative experiences. Ask God to show you a new church that He would have you connected to.
Ask Jesus to forgive you, for He will. 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV). Once He forgives you, forgive yourself. Do not hold yourself in chains that the Savior has freed you from. Journal through your pain, open up to someone who will hold you while you cry and pray for you. There is hope and healing and power in the name of Jesus. He will bind up your wounds and give you the strength to carry on. All you have to do is allow Him to heal you.
Father in Heaven, we lift up all of the Esthers of the world. May they find forgiveness in You and themselves. May churches remember that You are love, that all of us are sinners, and that You love and forgive us all. May we all find You and walk closer to You. In the blessed name of Jesus. Amen.
Thank you to Esther for having the courage to share her story. If you are in need of a personal prayer, please contact Wounded Butterflies. We commit to praying for you and walking with you.