Hi my name is Patti,
The first thing that I want to say is don’t let anyone tell you that an abortion won’t affect you – it will change your life forever. It’s a choiceless choice. I had an abortion on May 8, 1982. Yes, it’s a date that I have never forgotten.
I had been with the father for almost three years. I had a special circumstance. I had lost one ovary and fallopian tube in an emergency surgery due to an ovarian cyst when I was 16. I remember the doctor’s telling me at the time that there was chance I would not be able to have children. So, four years later when I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to keep my baby. The baby’s father felt differently. Having had a history of ovarian cysts I didn’t pay too much attention to my periods because it was common for me to be irregular and/or skip completely. When I went to the doctor I thought for sure I had another cyst. The doctor examined me and told me that I was pregnant. I needed to bring a urine sample in to the pharmacy for testing. The father brought the sample in the next morning for me.
I’ll never forget the phone call. I was at work and all in one sentence my pregnancy was confirmed and he informed me that the pharmacist had given him the name of an abortion doctor in the building.
I remember the fear more than anything and how time seemed to be speeding by, but in slow motion. I remember being afraid to confide in anyone, including my parents, which in retrospect I should have because they could have been my saving grace.
My boyfriend made the appointment and brought me to the doctor’s office early on a Saturday morning. I remember going in and trying to fill out the form. But I couldn’t see through my tears. I handed the form back to the lady at the reception desk and told her “I can’t do this” and I walked out.
Needless to say, my boyfriend was mad. By now I was 10 weeks pregnant. Time was of the essence to have this first trimester abortion done. He made another appointment the following week and took me back. I remember he telling me not to come down “still” pregnant again.
To this day I don’t know who walked into that office and took the life of my child. I felt as though I had actually left my body at that point, that I didn’t know myself anymore.
I remember the “counselor” whose lack of information provided to me was an atrocity. I was basically told that it would take about 10 or 15 minutes, I would feel some cramping and that I would be able to get on with my life when it was over. What a lie. First, it was the longest 10 or 15 minutes of my life. It was extremely painful, the doctor was rude and I will never forget the sound of the suction machine. Never.
When I walked out of that building I became someone else. I was suddenly this sad, depressed, dark and mean person. Twenty years of sadness, depression, darkness and meanness would come to consume me and I would cry a sea of tears. I would cry with so much pain in my soul that sounds wouldn’t even come from my body when I cried. The counselor certainly didn’t bother to share that information with me. It’s called post-abortion syndrome and it’s very real.
I stayed with the father for another two years just to make him as miserable as I was. I realize now in reading “Forbidden Grief” by Theresa Burke that I also stayed because he was a connection to my baby for me.
I got lucky and went on to meet a wonderful, compassionate and loving man who I married in 1989. God showed His faith in me when He blessed me with two precious, healthy children. I remember praying to Him and asking him to trust me again with one of His most precious blessings, a child. But I experienced terrible guilt with the pregnancies of my two children. I found that I could not forgive myself and I felt that God, although knowing my pain, could not forgive me either.
I came across information on Rachel’s Vineyard through my church.When I first tried to go on the website was still being constructed. Then when it finally opened all the retreats were too far away. Then one Sunday in my church bulletin I read that there was a Healing Mass being held very close to my house. I went, and for the first time in my life had the courage to go to reconciliation and confess the sin that had been eating my soul alive for so many years. I felt so much better and had met a wonder woman, who by God’s good grace came into my life that day. It was she who provided me with the book “Forbidden Grief” and for the first time in my life I realized how many women were suffering in the same way.
Although I had felt better by attending the Healing Mass, I still wanted to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. God must have heard my prayer because this past August I attended a retreat with 18 of the most courageous women I have ever met. Together we experienced a healing process that I cannot even begin to describe for you. I finally feel whole again. Both with God and with myself. I have truly forgiven myself and now know that God was there waiting for me the whole time. I am at peace with my child. I cannot tell you how important that is. I walked away from the retreat with the power of the Holy Spirit radiating from within me.
Having suffered for twenty years I wanted to share my story and in looking around I came across Becky’s website. I hope at least one person reads my story and either realizes that having an abortion is a life altering mistake, that the child within her is a real person no matter what stage of pregnancy you are at, or I hope and pray that someone who has had an abortion and has suffered from post-abortion syndrome seeks help through one of the many places out there that can help. Rachel’s Vineyard is truly a place of comfort and hope.
Those of you who have suffered an abortion – there is light in all the darkness. Reach out because there are so many of us out here that have been where you are now. God Bless and keep you all.
Patti | firstname.lastname@example.org
You have shared the deepest part of your soul, and for that I am truly grateful. Your willingness to be completely so completely transparent is a beautiful thing. I pray that God will touch many girls’ hearts through your story.
So many are suffering through the same things you’ve been through and feel like they have nowhere to turn. God’s healing and tender forgiveness is there…if they are open to accepting it. The story you have shared with us is such a witness to that. I hope you will give many hope and the encouragement to seek God’s healing touch.