Dear Post Abortive Friend,
Like you, I was buried in shame and remorse for a long time before I sought help. The pain I carried for 25 years was eating at me and hurting my marriage. My struggles began before I even had the abortion. I was a young woman without faith, and I believed, without friends. When I became pregnant I turned only to the father of the child. He was even more afraid than I. He left me to sort things out alone. He is a very good man. Like me, however, he succumbed to the pressure of the times and the easy “solution” at hand. We later became true friends, fell in mature love, married, and have been blessed with wonderful children. You would think that I would be able to feel the forgiveness of God every day. I have. But, along with that forgiveness… and my amazing blessings, I have carried a deep and guilt-filled sadness.
I learned that it is typical for post-abortive women to have feelings of shame and overwhelming sadness many years after the fact. In my case, this was so. I began to suffer panic attacks. The guilt I carried would fade temporarily with alcohol. I became dependent on that next glass of wine. No one knew how much I thought about drinks. I was able to keep it in check somewhat because I have a great deal of will power. I could always “function.” My drinking increased in parallel with my renewed faith. This might seem odd. But, I found myself turning to God for help more and more. Finally, I couldn’t stand myself any longer. I hosted a baby shower while suffering a bad hangover. The new joy of that child was shadowed by my guilt. Holding that baby made me feel so small and cheap. Like an impostor. Here, I held the child of a truly “good woman”. If she knew my sin, I was sure she would condemn me.
I read about Rachel’s Vineyard for years in my church bulletin. I held out a secret hope that I’d gather the courage to visit one in Knoxville. But, only after I gave up drinking did I get my nerve up. My husband was completely supportive, though slightly confused by my desire to address this so many years after the fact. He knew that living with me was becoming worse and worse. I was too sensitive, too quick to anger, too cold. The poor guy was tired of my moodiness and insecurity. My children were confused by my odd crying jags.
After an especially tearful and difficult anniversary, we got on line and researched Rachel’s Vineyard together. Unlike the day I drove alone to the clinic, he insisted on taking me. That gesture meant so much to me. It gave me hope.
I knew I was ready to accept whatever God put in my path that weekend. But, I was not ready for the total acceptance I received. Almost immediately, I felt ready to surrender.
My life is not perfect now. But, it is better. I don’t carry the anger, guilt and sadness like I did. Letting go of this pain has set my mind free. I feel that I am able to love others and God with a fresh mind and heart. Now I focus on prayer and changing old thought patterns. Sometimes progress is slow. But, it is progress.
Please go to Rachel’s Vineyard. Please know that there are people praying for you now to go. The power of prayer is so strong. It will give you the courage you need to make that first step. God loves you so much. He wants you to feel better. You are his beloved child.