- Posted February 10, 2013 by
san jose, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Have you had an abortion?
Who Would Name Their Child "Nameless?" I did.
I was 15, scared, and pregnant. Because I assumed abortion was the easy way out, and because I believed an 11-week old fetus was nothing but a lifeless mass, I went through with it. However, after the abortion, things changed. I developed suicidal thoughts and in less than a year, started abusing drugs and alcohol (before that, I was a straight-A student). I became uneasy around babies and small children and grew distant from other people, especially my mother. I tried to hide my feelings but eventually came to believe I was simply a cold, unloving person. Twenty-five years later, I stumbled upon a child’s name on the Internet “Anamika” meaning “Nameless.” At first, I couldn’t imagine anyone would name their child ‘Nameless’ but then I realized: I had. That was the beginning of a journey of self-discovery where I found that a web of guilt, fear and lies I had woven around my heart to keep my abortion a secret had instead imprisoned me. Through a post-abortion healing group, I found the courage to forgive myself and publish my story, “Nameless No More: A Journey of Healing After Abortion,” which continues to encourage and empower other women who struggle with their choice. I am an Author, Speaker, and am preparing to publish a companion post-abortion healing bible study later this year. --Shadia Hrichi (Founder of Beautiful Voice Ministries, http://www.beautifulvoice.org/home.html)
“One of the best post-abortion personal stories I’ve read and I’ve read a lot of them.” -Georgette Forney, President of Anglicans for Life and Co-founder of Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Following is an excerpt from “Nameless No More:”
Perspiration drained from every pore of my body. My fingers trembled and slipped beneath my hair as they struggled to fasten the gown’s ragged ties behind my neck. I had to believe that on this side of the bulky brown curtain stood a scared, pregnant teenage girl but on the other side: my promised freedom.
I feebly tugged the curtain to one side and followed the attendant down another hall. We passed several closed doors until she reached an open doorway. “Please come here and climb on the table,” bid a nurse from across the room as she yanked several yards of fresh paper across the metal table. My bare feet cringed as I stepped onto the cold vinyl floor. A disturbing smell instantly reminded me of the taste of dentists’ Novocain. I climbed on the table, wrestling with the flimsy white paper that shifted and tore underneath me.
I laid down, my heart beating faster and harder as I searched the faces of the nurses attending to their tasks on either side of me. Silently, I pleaded with them for words of reassurance but no one seemed to notice. Metal instruments clanged into position. Equipment whirred and moaned followed by a sharp “snap, snap!” as two steel arms were hoisted into the air.
I peered at the nurses now chatting above me about their plans for the weekend. As if by reflex, one of them grabbed my hand just as the first spasms of pain hit. Though her gesture was hauntingly cold, I clutched her hand tightly against my chest; it was all I had and I desperately needed to hold on to something . . . to someone . . . anyone. I searched the acoustic ceiling tiles, chasing the path of crevices hoping against hope they would lead me anywhere but here. My eyes slammed shut; it was no use. The sickening stench of fear mixed with rubbing alcohol and that strange Novocain-like smell merged into a nightmare. The steady convulsions of the suction machine throbbed inside my head, coaching my abdomen to contract alongside its relentless, pulsing rhythm.
I had no idea that in response to my body’s release of chemicals due to fear, pain and stress, the beat of another tiny heart rapidly started to rise. A little body, already responsive to the stroke of a single human hair, jerked and twisted as cruel instruments took their aim, intent that no evidence of its existence would remain. A teeny thumb, upon which gentle sucking already began several weeks earlier, anonymously slipped away into the darkness as a flawless smile contorted into hollow scream . . . I can only ask now: who was holding onto her little hand?
At last, it was over. No name. No mourning. No record of her existence. Just biological waste from a brief medical procedure…I never told anyone what had happened—not even my best friend.
…Over the years that followed, to avoid the pain, guilt, and confusion, I eventually convinced myself I didn’t want to be a mother. If a joyful childhood memory slipped through, especially one with my mother, I would quickly dismiss it, condemning myself. I’ll never do that. I’m simply not the “mother” type. It doesn’t matter; I don’t like kids that much anyway.
I was too young to understand that within my heart a battle raged. Twenty-five years later, it had finally reached its peak. It was a battle between what I wanted to be (a kind and loving person) and what I believed I had become (someone without capacity to love). I had succeeded in exchanging the truth of my desire to love children for a lie that I didn’t really want to be a mother. After all, it was far more bearable to believe that not wanting to be a mother was, in fact, my choice.
As the years passed, in order to fit into the new world my choice had created, I had to make other adjustments as well. In my heart, I know a mother should love her child. But when I chose abortion, I had to believe a lie (my pregnancy was a meaningless glob of tissue) in order to avoid the truth (I murdered my baby).
Not only did I murder my child, the abortion simultaneously murdered my own childhood as well. It robbed me of joyful memories, peace, and a sense of self-worth. And for many, many years afterward, the abortion stole my capacity to have a close relationship with my own mother. After the abortion, I isolated myself from other people. Even worse, I did not understand why I had become so distant and cold toward others. Eventually, to fit in, I learned to live life on the surface. Desperate to be loved, I recklessly became a friend or lover to virtually anyone who would take notice though I shared my heart with no one.
… Inch-by-inch, day-by-day and year-by-year, chains of emotional numbness, guilt, and shame tightened their grip. Since I had not been raised in any religion and did not believe in the existence of God, the feelings of guilt and shame only confused me. I sought relief in drugs and alcohol. I found myself depressed and suicidal. But why? My mind said that there was no God and there was no baby, so where did all the guilt and shame come from?
Twenty-five years later, I found the truth. Whether I had a conscious awareness that a child was alive inside of me or thought of my pregnancy as nothing but a glob of tissue, a seed of love had been planted in my heart: a desire to love my child. And nothing, even refusing to believe in the existence of Anamika or God Himself, could alter that truth. Nor could $100 and a somber drive to a remote clinic tucked deep in the woods of upstate New York.
…I spent the next several years mastering how to keep Anamika’s memory hidden from the world—and from myself. Within my heart, I planted weeds of lies, guilt, and shame to choke out any life left in that little seed. Over time, the seed withered and hardened until eventually, its decay spread through my soul like cancer. By the time I reached adulthood, I had completely lost the ability to fully open my heart to anyone—even to myself.