Melissa* is willingly giving us permission to share her story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The stories that are shared come from the real-life experiences that our clients, staff and volunteers had during their unplanned pregnancy.
*Her name has been changed but her story is true.
Abortion Felt Like My
I had my first abortion when I was 20. I was a pastor’s daughter, a missionary kid and attending a private Christian college at the time. I knew better than to even consider such a thing. I couldn’t, however, let my choice ruin my family’s global reputation. I couldn’t let people find out how many bad decisions I actually made! My fiancé and I couldn’t get kicked out of school! He couldn’t get kicked off the baseball team for his senior year! We weren’t going to be married for several months, so it was just not the time for this big of a mistake. We both agreed to abort. We vowed never to talk about it after that summer. And we really never did. It was just our dirty little secret. And it would simply stay that way. We agreed we wouldn’t let it ruin our lives.
I had no idea how wrong we were.
We had a son 4 years later. Everything was fine, until it just wasn’t anymore after our son’s first birthday. We couldn’t explain why our marriage was failing. I ended up having an affair. It was the beginning of a downward spiral for me. Professionally. Emotionally. Spiritually. But no one really knew why. I didn’t even really know why. I got married again right away. Neither one of us were faithful to each other. I filed for divorce after one year. And ended up pregnant after a one-night stand.
A Real Family Life . .
. for Awhile
This time, however, I was already a mother. I knew I couldn’t abort this baby after seeing my son born. I decided to let this baby be my offering to God as penance for my previous choices. I put a lot of pressure on that pregnancy to fix my past transgressions. After all, I was choosing life this time. How could God not bless me for my bravery? I had a lonely 30th birthday as news of my unplanned pregnancy to a man I didn’t even know anything about brought to the surface many things about my secret life which I had hidden from my family for all those years. Bad decisions. Alcohol abuse. Affairs. My first abortion. The truth had come out, but it certainly didn’t set me free. I was determined to right my wrongs, and this baby would do it. I gave birth to my daughter in the summer. She really did seem to melt the hurt and the pain in all of us and I poured myself into being the wife and mother I just knew I was capable of so my family could really be proud of me for real.
Then the relationship with her dad became more and more volatile. The emotional abuse that I was so used to became more physical. I clung to the hopes that Jesus would heal his anger and deceit. But I was sure that I deserved this abuse for my life choices and had faith that the Lord would put an end to it once I had paid enough. After all… I had two beautiful children I already didn’t deserve, so the price had to paid somehow. We got married. Surely that would fix things. It didn’t. He became so abusive that I finally made him leave after two years and filed for divorce. He stalked me. He terrorized me. Next came the restraining orders. And the night he showed up late at my door asking to come in and apologize. And I let him in.
When I didn’t accept his apology as a reason to save the marriage, he raped me. It took me a long time to call it that, but that’s exactly what it was. He emotionally, physically and sexually assaulted me that night. When he was leaving, he yelled in my face that he hoped I was pregnant. I knew God wouldn’t let that happen. I was sure that God would honor my faithfulness to a man who had treated me so poorly by not adding more chaos to my already crazy situation. So when I realized that I was indeed pregnant four weeks later, I felt betrayed by God and everyone else who had ever tried to help me ‘have faith.’ At this point, I wanted to hurt anyone and everyone I could. I lied and told a man I had been seeing that he had gotten me pregnant so that he would pay for the Abortion Pill. No one could know I had been dumb enough to let my crazy estranged husband in the house! It would ruin my divorce proceedings and further humiliate me and possibly jeopardize my custody battle. I knew what I had to do.
My Choice . . . a 2nd
My second abortion was at 6 weeks and was the worst experience of my entire life. The disgust I felt as I took the second pill. The hatred I had for God and Him leaving me in this mess. The horrible pain and physical suffering that my body endured as my baby was aborted into my toilet. I knew I was now the absolute wretch of the earth, but I would NOT allow the monster I had married to control my life any longer. I had been so close to breaking free; I couldn’t allow his treachery to be rewarded by another child to own me with! I felt I had escaped him. Finally, he would lose his grip on my life. But I was wrong. Finding a Shaky Peace
He actually tried to kill me the following week. He broke into my house to tell me about a prayer retreat he had been on with my father and how he was changing. When I didn’t give him the response he wanted and mentioned calling the police, he proceeded to throw me to the ground and try to choke the life out of me. As I struggled under his weight, I just remember calling out to Jesus. Either in my mind or through the gasps for air… I just remember calling Him to save me. To save my babies. And suddenly the hands were no longer around my neck. After a call to my parents, a trip to the ER, a visit by the police, and then a year or more of horrible court proceedings and finally seeing some justice served, life seemed to settle down. I had survived. My kids and I were ok, despite life’s wild, exciting peaks and it’s low, dark valleys and the consequences that fall on you from previous decisions that you didn’t ever see coming. I was feeling, perhaps, restored.
Missing in My Life
But I wasn’t fully restored because I still had unresolved pain and some leftover guilt. I was actually just surviving. And even though life kept getting better and better, I’m sure I wasn’t living at my full potential. I had been in all the counseling. Therapists were on speed dial for both me and my children. My bad decisions were no longer an issue in my life, but I wasn’t whole. I finally understood the comfort in praying and then listening to Jesus… experiencing Him on a whole new level. He helped me understand that He wasn’t making me pay for my sins when bad things happened to me, but rather I had been keeping myself trapped in my own shame and guilt. My life was finally feeling fresh and new. I remarried and was deeply in love. We were healthy in all the right ways. I had another baby. I had dealt with the anger and the hurt and the ugly and I was feeling stronger than ever before. I’d even helped friends choose life and escape abusive situations. I was using the hurts I had experienced to help others understand Grace. I was happy and I was at peace. Then God told me to volunteer at Advice and Aid and I received the missing puzzle piece to my healing journey that I didn’t even know I needed!
Awakenings . . . The Very Things I Needed to Be Whole Again
In order to become a volunteer, I had to take a Bible study/class because I was post-abortive. I didn’t really think much of it and agreed to take part because it was a step in the process and I was being obedient to what God had asked me to do. The Awakenings program was absolutely amazing for me and one of the treasures that I will forever carry in my heart. Kelly and her team made me feel like I had arrived to a destination I’d always needed to be at but didn’t know existed. Here was a small group of ladies who understood the life-long repercussions of having an abortion and what post abortion syndrome looked like when you look into the mirror every day. I found everything here: the sharing. . . the learning . . . the laughing . . . the healing . . . the crying. Yes, even the “dumb” craft project we did was life changing and affirming for me. God showed me my Heavenly babies in my mind’s eye. He allowed me to understand that they were waiting for me in Glory, were already with my loved ones who had passed, and would continue to greet our family members as they eventually find their way to eternity with Jesus. Such Hope was given to me during that study! I found my babies names in my heart and was able to share them with my oldest son and my daughter. We were able to have healthy, healing dialogue between us as I asked their forgiveness for what I had done to their siblings. Through scripture and relationship in the Awakenings study, I was once again reminded how forgiven I am. How loved I am by God Himself. How life isn’t meant to be a solo journey and we aren’t supposed to bear our hardships on our own. How my mistakes and poor choices didn’t have to control my life but that He had plans for me and my children that would bring Him glory and give Him the credit He so rightly deserved. I made friendships that I am so grateful for. Prayer partners and women who just “get me” in a way no other people in my life really do. God showed me true and complete redemption, which is only His to give and I didn’t even need to earn. He met us all in that room like a proud Father each week. Besides, anyone who has ever had the privilege of having Kelly pray for them right where they stand, knows the presence of God being in the room that I am talking about.
I, of course, still have things to learn as God isn’t finished with me yet. I still have days where I feel inadequate and frustrated. But what I will never feel again is shame, praise Jesus! I am so thankful for my life journey, rocky as it has been at times. And even though my 20-year-old self wouldn’t even recognize my 40-something self, one thing they could both agree on is that life is better when lived in truth.
Maybe you see yourself in a part of Melissa’s story. Feeling like abortion was her only choice . . . struggling to maintain a healthy relationship . . . the feeling that something is “off” after an abortion.
We understand all of that (and more). And we offer answers, help and healing at any stage you might find yourself.
But you have to take the first step and reach out to us. We are here with help . . . you just need to ask!