- Posted February 8, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Have you had an abortion?
I Was Blind But Now I See
I was pro-choice from the first time I heard about abortion, which was in 1980. A friend that I went to high school with got pregnant by her boyfriend, and decided to have an abortion. It had only been 8 years since the Roe v. Wade decision, and I was a very intellectual woman. It was not a life that was being killed, it was a potential life. Life was self-sustaining, and a woman’s body was simply a life support system for that potential life. It would not be legal if it were ending someone’s life. I agreed to take my friend to the abortion clinic as she did not want anyone else to know. Her boyfriend begged her not to have an abortion. He was so upset and truly seemed to be devastated. I felt very sorry for him because he obviously wanted to become a father, but he had no right to ask my friend to put herself and her body through pregnancy and childbirth. She ended up telling her mother who took her, and life seemed to be happy and normal for her after her procedure.
When I became pregnant in 1985, my boyfriend told me it wasn’t the right time for us to have a child, and there would be plenty of time for us to have a family. I agreed without putting any thought into this decision because it was not yet a baby - at least that is what I believed. I was barely 6 weeks (LMP) and had no physical reasons to know that anything was going on inside my womb. I had the abortion and was shocked at how painful it was. They had told me that it would be quick and painless, and that I would be back to my normal self in a day. I spent the next couple of days on the couch crying from pain and from a sense of depression. I felt more shame and fear of someone discovering what I had done than I had felt about someone discovering that I had premarital sex and had gotten pregnant. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I convinced myself that it would pass and pretended life was normal and happy. About eight months later I had a dream where I saw my baby boy. I was holding him in my arms, and we were lovingly gazing at each other. He was so beautiful. When I awoke, I realized I had just seen my son. As is normally the case, the father and I did not stay together. This was just the beginning of my post-abortion story and the long journey from pro-choice to pro-life.
I continued to be pro-choice and believed that I was merely mourning the loss of “potential” motherhood. My life from this point was filled with destructive behavior. I became promiscuous and began drinking heavily. Anything to help dull the pain and shame I felt. I also did what I could to prevent myself from becoming pregnant, as I felt I was unworthy of having another child. I prayed that God would let me die in an accident so I would not have to continue feeling so much pain. My shame kept me from seeking the help that I needed. A couple of years later I shared my abortion story with a friend. I began the process of forgiving myself. Forgiveness came, but my shame stayed with me for 23 years.
After a failed marriage and drowning in complete despair, I told God I would follow wherever he led me. He led me to the Catholic Church and in the fall of 2007 I entered an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class. It was learning about the lives of so many of the saints that made me realize that God had forgiven me, that I was worthy of his love, and that I did not have to be ashamed anymore. I felt the desire to help others who had been affected by similar pain, and so I decided to talk to one of our Priests about my abortion and offered to share my experience with others who were post-abortive or were considering abortion. Two days later I was at the Catholic High School and was about to go from only four people knowing my greatest sin to numerous kids and teachers, some of whom I knew would recognize me from church. After sharing my story, what happened caught me by complete surprise. No one looked at me with disgust, as Satan had convinced me they would. Instead, I received admiration for my courage, sympathy for my pain, and love that lifted me higher than I thought humanly possible. I don’t know if I helped any of the students, but God healed me that very day. Satan no longer had me in the bondage of shame, and I knew that I would be silent no more! I now understood that life and death should be left to God and not humans. I still did not understand that I had given consent for my son to be killed. I was still under the illusion that I had just consented to not allow life to grow in my womb. God is so merciful and knew that I could not handle the truth all at once.
I began reading, researching, and getting as informed as possible about abortion. It was during this research that I learned that a heartbeat can be detected as early as 18 to 22 days after conception (five weeks LMP). The truth now came to light and I began crying and did not stop for a couple of hours. I could not allow others to be blind to the truth and to be subject to all the pain and suffering that I have experienced. I knew that God had brought me to the truth gradually so that I would be able to share my testimony with others.
I will mourn my son and the lost opportunity of motherhood for the rest of my life as I have always wanted children. I know that my son, Francis McKinley, knows that I love him and that I was blind to the truth of when life actually begins. In memory of my beloved son, I will not be silent about the truth that life begins at the moment of conception.