The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jesus Loves Me Broken

Forgive me dear readers; it has been nearly eight months since I have written…

So, today felt like a good day to put virtual pen to virtual paper.  As thousands begin the trek to Washington, D.C. for the 42nd March for Life, I lament that I won't be joining them, physically at least.  Mentally I'm 95% there, saving the other 5% for my responsibilities here at home. 

I'm not sure why I haven't posted in such a long time.  I haven't stopped writing.  I have pages and pages and pages of real pen-to-paper writings from the last eight months, from my whole life really, but the last 8 months my focus has been on the "big" picture.  Not that my abortion is somehow not a large and looming event in my life, but in hindsight, I don't think I recognized while on this healing journey, the magnitude of all that surrounded that August morning when I walked across that bridge.  All that led up to that day and everything that came after had become too much and too dark. 

As I've written about before, for whatever reason, in my last year or two of college I decided what I would and would not put up with anymore.  I set my eyes on what I wanted, and I didn't look back.  And soon after, I met Prince Charming, and that was that.  I put all the bad behind me, or within me, deep down in some locked-up-tight place in my heart.  I didn't realize that it's impossible to compartmentalize my heart, my mind, my memory, or my soul as I thought I had.  In His timing, I began this journey, and He chose to begin it with grace and Grace. 

But, there was so much more to heal.  There was so much more that kept me hopeless.  There was so much more that I tried to ignore for far too long.  With all that I have been through in my life, I had never really had any success with any therapy.  My parents sent me to a therapist or two in my tween and teen years because I was so angry all the time, and not happy.  It was a waste of time as I was too afraid to talk about the things that were making me angry, and depressed, and hopeless, and worthless.  I couldn't talk about my parents and their shortcomings. I couldn't talk about the promiscuity so I couldn't talk about the emotional and physical abuse that went along with it.  I couldn't talk about the vicious verbal and yes, sometimes physical, fights that were happening at home.  All of that would mean annihilating the facade of our perfect little family, where everyone was happy, where I got straight A's, where we were at Mass on Sunday, and our little house on main street made a pretty picture even though we didn't have an actual white picket fence. 

I was directed to talk about what was wrong with me and only me.  So, I never talked about the things I needed, desperately wanted to talk about.  And I never talked about the abortion because I was told "we will never speak about" it again.

I went away for my freshman year of college and without the constant reinforcement of "put a smile on your face," I stopped smiling.  In my 2nd semester, I tried to kill myself.  I can still see the look on my Dad's face when I got called into our dorm mother's room a few days later, completely unaware that my parents had been called in.  The look on his face was disappointment, embarrassment, and anger. What I needed was understanding, support, and love. I had broken the code, and he wasn't happy about it.  There was some conversation about whether I should stay at school or not. I convinced them that I was okay to stay, and they drove back home that same evening.  I lasted for about another three weeks and then packed up and came home, a complete and total failure, but I wasn't allowed to talk about it. 

I spent the next year working, figuring out where I was going to return to college, and being reminded every day that I was a failure. I ricocheted between unbridled determination to prove my parents wrong and seeking out any form of punishment I could from anyone willing to dole it out in droves.  The boy I was "in love" with was emotionally and physically abusive, but that's what I thought I deserved.  That was all I was good for.  A short time later, another suicide attempt, the same look on my Dad's face, and I signed myself in for an inpatient psychiatric stay.  I was there about 3 weeks or so.  I never talked about the abortion.  I did begin to talk about some things, scratching the surface of what had been my life up to that point.  I met a couple of other people my age facing a lot of the same turmoil. My parents came for a family session.  My Dad stormed out of the room when the therapist began to hint at there being some problems with my childhood.  There would be no discussion of their shortcomings at all.  Two of my friends visited me as well and my "boyfriend," who used the opportunity to convince me to allow him to use my car while I was "away," and who also convinced me that if I didn't give him what he needed right then and there that he would have no choice but to look elsewhere while I was gone. 

I think by the time I left the hospital I had realized that I was my own here, and I would have to make my life what I wanted it to be – so I began making changes.  And after a time, I found myself a fairytale that continues today and, God willing, will until my last breath.

But, and there's always a but isn't there? But… the darkness would come over me again and again.  I remained distracted by new life, real love, and then children.  Then, in His time, this journey began, and He has been chipping away at me every day since. Sometimes I feel as though by the time I'm done, there will be nothing left.  I have to remind myself constantly that there is a reason for this journey, there is a reason I am here, and that it is good that I exist. 

It seemed to come to a point again when I had to make a decision of how my life was going to be.  I had been on retreat and through Project Rachel counseling and found healing from my abortion, but there was so much more that needed to be healed, but I didn't know how to ask for help.  I had exhausted all of my resources it seemed and I still suffered, and it was getting worse.  Finally, at the urging of my husband and the Good Father, I resigned myself that I needed more help than what they could provide.  I needed a lot more help.  So, for the last 9 months or so I've been in therapy – real therapy this time.  I have gone every week and talked about things that I have never spoken about to anyone.  I have peeled back the layers of my life revealing seeping, seething wounds that sucked the life out of me, that cause me to stifle laughter, and resist joy.  I am beginning to understand why I feel so unworthy of anything or anyone, or any love at all.  I think I have progressed a lot.  Prince Charming thinks so.  The Good Father lends his support and encouragement and prayers.  I try to seek out time and space to heal instead of torture myself.  I am far from perfect, or fixed, or completely healed and I have work to do to accept that I will never be those things and that "fixed" shouldn't be the goal. 

Each week I sit and talk, and try to hold back the tears, and surprise myself with the things that I speak about.  It's not just about the abortion; it's about everything. It's been difficult, exhausting, and embarrassing.  But, the other 167 hours of my week, I find myself laughing, really laughing, though I still try not to sometimes. Joy startles me and peace feels like a stranger lurking behind me somewhere waiting for the right moment to tap me on the shoulder.  Perhaps I haven't written for so long because there is still shame in me for needing any the help at all.  Maybe I haven't written because I'm embarrassed that my abortion is not the only thing that was/is wrong with me. 

Days like today, however, are still difficult and always will be at some level.  Following the March for Life online for the work that I do is a challenge because of what I read and see and hear.  Yesterday, a graphic image of a torn apart aborted baby on my news feed just about made me ill.  I slammed my laptop shut and had a good cry for a while.  But, I came back.  I said my prayers.  I spoke to Grace.  I didn't think about killing myself. I didn't try to convince myself that I was worthless.  I didn't allow my mind to return to all the thoughts that it usually does.

I opened up my blog and read my posts on the two marches that I had attended.  I scanned over some of my others posts and made the decision that gentleness is what my soul needs some times, most times, and I am usually the last person to offer it.  I have been through an awful lot, and I have succeeded more than I have failed.  I'm not fixed yet, and that's okay.  Jesus loves me broken. 

The journey continues…

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Bridge Too Close

Recently, I had the chance to visit my hometown of Pittsburgh.  Though I’m not that far away and get there pretty much as often as I want to, I always return with a twisted mix of emotions.  While I wade in nostalgia most of the time and have great memories of the ‘Burgh – living a bit away for a while has made it both difficult and easy to return home.  When I left Pittsburgh with starry eyes and a heart bursting with new found, true love,  I was 24 years old – so just 7 years after the abortion.  When I look back over this journey of mine, I realize, sometimes so painfully it’s hard to breathe, just what all took place in those 7 years before my knight in shining armor showed up.  I’d like to say I was well on my way to turning my life around right before Prince Charming arrived, and in some ways I was. I had put my foot down on most of the garbage that inhabited my life until then.  I made promises to myself that I would not allow anyone to hurt me ever again, not my body, and not my heart. I had made resolutions that my life was going to be different.  I had a good job and my own apartment and my first brand-new car.  In a lot of ways, things, and I, were all good.  That is, except for the loss of Grace, whose name I knew, but whose life I had no idea how to grieve for or if I even should or could.  Acknowledgment of her was stuffed down in my soul somewhere.  I had told Prince Charming about her, well not really about “her,” but about the abortion.  It was a short conversation and he made it easy.  It was in the past and it didn’t matter to him.  What neither of us realized is that it mattered to me and it would be decades before I realized how much.

Anyway, when I do go back home, I make conscious efforts to avoid certain places.  I avoid places where a bad memory resides or some bad experience, the memory of which is torture enough so that I don’t need the physical reminders of it at all.  I’ve talked a lot in these “pages” about my lonely walk across the 6th Street (now the Roberto Clemente) Bridge to the abortion clinic in downtown Pittsburgh.  That bridge has come to have so much meaning for me and I don’t yet have it all figured out.  Is it a bridge between my two lives?  Is it a walk away from Grace? Is it a walk toward my destiny?  Does it bridge the gap between then and now, a bridge too far?  Is it just a bridge?  No matter what it is – it’s a bridge that I haven’t walked across in over 20 years and one I turn my eyes from while passing by whenever I’m in town.  

Adding to the bad memories of this bridge is the fact that my mom and I both worked near each other in town while I was in college and we would walk across the same bridge to go to lunch together.  I’m not sure how many times we did that, but it was a lot.  I don’t remember if I thought about it then – I’m sure I had to at some point or other – when we crossed over the hump in the middle of the span and the Fulton Building came into full view… did she ever think about me going there for an abortion? Did she ever think about it at all? Had she ever thought that she paid for her grandchild to be snuffed out? Did she wonder if I was thinking about it?  Did she care?  I have no idea, and I never will, of what may or may not have gone through her mind when we walked past that building together on our way to our many lunches.  

In a sense, the bridge came to be a symbol of everything that happened and the utter loneliness of my long walk across it with Grace still part of me and the lonely, painful walk back without her. 

I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to return to the bridge at some point, not sure of what I would do once I got there or what it might mean for me.  This last trip home I went back.

I parked my car on the north shore and started toward the bridge.  It was a beautiful, breezy spring day with puffy white clouds and happy tourists around.  I started walking across and stopped in the middle.  I started walking again, and stopped again a few steps later to catch my breath which wasn’t lost due to exertion but for everything else.  

I stood on the bridge and looked at the Fulton Building.  I remembered the abortion clinic was on the 3rd floor.  I leaned back against the yellow metal and just was still for a while.  I’m afraid of heights but I forced myself to the other side of the sidewalk where I could see down to the river below if I stood on my tiptoes or peeked through the spaces in the metal.  The familiar thoughts came to mind and I wondered if I had considered jumping 27 years ago.  I wondered if anyone would have cared.  I wondered if my mom would have fessed up and told my Dad that she knew the reason I had jumped.  More things that I’ll never know. 

I took a deep breath and walked down the other side.  There was always a panhandler on the bridge then – he’s still there – in the same spot.  I stopped at the end of the bridge for a while.  I’m not sure what I expected to do or feel.  I suppose maybe I just wanted to walk across it not as a pregnant 17 year old scared out of her mind or back across it as a 17 year old who just had her first experience with a gynecologist – who just happened to perform an abortion along with it.  I wanted to walk across it as who I am today – or who I fancy myself to be today.  The problem was, or is, that that simple walk across a bridge made me forget for a few moments who I am today or who I think I am.  Then I got angry, or sad, or both, at how close I still stand to despair. I began to think maybe I have never been far at all.  

I know that most of the thoughts I was having weren’t true, but that didn’t make them hurt any less.  As my usual m.o., I took on this challenge alone.  I hadn’t even told my husband what I had planned on doing.  So, in a sense, it was my own fault that I was there alone, without anyone to help me process what I was feeling or even just to hold my hand.  I half dialed his number and hung up.  I contemplated a call to the Good Father to ask him to pray with me at that moment, but decided against it.  So, I tried to say my own prayer.

I stood there looking up at the 3rd floor windows of the building remembering that the procedure room had no windows at all.  I hadn’t decided before if I would go inside the building.  After 27 years and a few million dollar restorations, it hardly would be the same at all.  But, in some sense it was hallowed ground.  Grace was killed there. It was the closest I’d get to any real “burial” site for her.  I felt like I owed it to her and to all the others who died there.

The doorman smiled and said hello as he opened the over sized doors to the lobby.  It is a beautiful building and the lobby is grand and added to my feeling so small.  I sat down in a plush, pretty chair just for a moment or two.  I was afraid the knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat wouldn’t be contained for much more than that.  So, I got up and walked back through the door as the smiling doorman wished me a good day.

I sat down on a bench outside the door in the warm sunshine and waiting for my trembling legs to steady.  Right across the street there is a parking garage, and next to that another parking garage. In fact, there are probably 5 or 6 parking garages on the block.  I thought about why my Mom hadn’t told me to park there.  It’s right across the street.  The rate that day was $5.00 so 27 years ago it couldn’t have been much at all.  But, yet, she told me to park across the bridge in the Three Rivers Stadium Parking lot because it was free.  I almost laughed at the idea that she had given me $300 in cash to pay for the abortion but no extra for anesthesia and no extra for parking.

I stood up and turned back toward the way I’d come.  With each step, I tried to remind myself that I wasn’t 17 anymore and that I wasn’t afraid anymore.  I tried to remember that I had a husband who loved me and tried to forget all the ones who came before who hurt me with words or hands.  I tried to remember that I have two little girls on this earth who need me and who hopefully will someday know and love Grace.  I was almost back to my car on the other side of the river when I couldn’t hold the tears in any longer and they streamed down my face underneath my sunglasses, mascara staining my cheeks.  In the safety of my car, there was no holding anything in and I sat there for a while saying the only prayer I could, “Jesus.”  

I had a long drive home and a long time to think.  I know that I’ve done a lot of healing these last few years.  I know that I‘ve worked through much.  I know that I’m forgiven for the abortion.  I know that I am a child of God and that He means for me to be here on this earth whether I feel like it or not.  And even though I know all of this, I don’t always feel the truth of any of it. I still need reminders. If anything, the trek across the bridge cemented the fact that I still have healing to do, things to work out, anger to deal with, room to grow. I hadn’t returned from my sojourn a conqueror. If anything, I returned quite the same as I was before it.  But, I did realize that I need to find a way to not be one step away from despair at any given moment.  I don't have to be stuck in the middle of a bridge between then and now, but I also don’t have to pick a side, do I?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finding My Voice

I've been writing this blog for almost three years now.  I did not set out with a plan of any kind when I began writing.  It just seemed like it would be an okay place for me to talk about my story and all the rest and whoever read it, read it.  I did think that if I could help just one person then I would have been a success.  I'm not really worried about the success of this blog any more and haven't been for a while.  My blog has become a place for me to talk about my abortion and everything else in my life that partially stems from that trauma and all that surrounds it.  It has given me a place for my heart to speak when I can't manage to speak with those closest to me.  My blog has given me a place where I feel like I am heard. I don't know if I'll ever speak publicly, non-anonymously, about my abortion, but I've done a lot of other things on this journey that I never thought I would do, so I won't say never.  Until then, this blog has become my, "I Regret My Abortion" sign. 

About a month or so ago a regular reader of my blog, Kim Ketola, contacted me about coming on her radio show for a live interview.  Post abortive herself, Kim published her book, Cradle My Heart, Finding God's Love After Abortion, in 2012 and her radio show offers a "safe space for you to connect with others who are finding God’s love–especially after guilt and grief related to abortion, addictions and other life-controlling issues." 

Knowing that I blog anonymously, Kim and I arranged for the interview via email and agreed on a pseudonym to use for the show.  I didn't think a whole lot about saying yes to Kim's invitation, but I was quite anxious leading up to it. What if someone recognizes my voice?  What if I'm really bad at it?  I'm a writer, not a speaker! What if my Mom hears it?  Adding to the anxiety was that Kim wanted me to talk about my abortion experience itself.  I knew that it would be difficult as I've only told the story, out loud, a few times and it doesn't get any easier.  Saying the words can send me right back there on that table, in that space and time, and render me utterly ignorant of all the grace, love, and peace that has reigned down on me since that day so long ago, yet so near in my heart and mind. 

I suppose the main reason I agreed to do the interview was that it would give me a chance to use my voice and not just my words and that, I thought, could be very powerful and perhaps just as beneficial for me as perhaps it might be for someone who may be listening.

So last evening, my phone rang a few moments before the live show and then I had the chance to use my voice to tell my story.  I think it went well and it helped immensely that Kim understood where I had been.  Of course, time constraints make it difficult to share every single detail, but I hope what I did get the chance to say was enough.  Upon that statement, a dear Priest, whom I cherish, would ask, "Enough for who?"  I suppose my first thought would be enough for God, but I don't have to be enough for Him. I hope enough for someone who may have been listening, is still hurting from an abortion, and afraid to seek help. 

After the interview, my mind was swirling for a few hours. One of the callers who phoned in was quite passionate about my forgiving myself.  Believe me, I know!  But, it remains difficult.  Maybe one day it won't be difficult.  It's hard for me to picture a day when I'm completely at peace with my journey and all of its steps, but I know not to say never. 

If you are postabortive and you've been reading my blog or you just got here - please know that no matter how desperate and overwhelmingly dark my story gets at times, there is always, always, His mercy that is bigger than all of it.  That truth is what keeps me going even on my darkest of days.  I would be no where without it.  I am nothing without it. 

Here's a link to my interview with Kim, if you'd like to listen... Connecting your story to God's story after abortion.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One foot in front of the other...

I haven’t been writing for a while, probably the longest stretch of non-writing I’ve had in the last few years.  I just haven’t been able to; just the simple act of putting pen to paper or hands on the keyboard proved too much.  Lent usually is a time when the words come pouring out of me – but that’s not the case this year.   This year Lent seems to be what, hopefully, is the tail end of a depressive episode unlike any other I’ve had in decades and damn close to being one of the worst.  My biggest problem with depression is that I have it at all, that I have that label and it’s written in my medical history over and over again with a list of medications stopped and started to try to manage the symptoms because there seems to be no cure.  No amount of optimism, faith, trust, love, hope, sunshine, or happy circumstances can crack the darkness of depression – that is, until it does.

I know I must sound like a broken record on this blog. I sometimes go back to see what I've written in the past few years and I’m sad to say that my topics don’t branch out all that much.  I’ve been here before on this blog and in my life.  As much as I try to deny the diagnosis and inevitable accompanying symptoms, depression haunts me. The symptoms of depression exist within me on many levels and reveal themselves in varied ways.  Some of them can be managed with medication, some respond to just the distraction of the daily routine, and others I can just push away or aside if I’m able to focus on something, anything good.  The sunshine, a glance from my husband, the dog, the laughter of my girls, the words of the Mass, the Eucharist, or a great cup of coffee can sometimes offer a temporary reprieve.

This time, however, the symptoms ingratiated themselves far down in the recesses.  I feel this depression physically as though I have a pile of bricks on my shoulders as I go about my day. I feel my heart beating faster.  I can't concentrate.  I'm forgetful. It feels like I’m choking but nobody notices as the lump in my throat never subsides and the tears fall profusely against my will.  I have learned over the years how to successfully hide the symptoms of depression and have gotten good at functioning in spite of what I’m feeling and what is stirring about in my mind.  The suicidal thoughts and grand schemes remain and it takes an exhaustive effort sometimes to not pay attention to them.  

Adding to all of this was an allergic reaction to a medicine that I was taking for about a year.  It seemed to just stop working one day and I had horrible itching and hives and slight fever.  I had to immediately stop taking it – which is never a good idea with any antidepressant.   The timing couldn’t be worse for a medication change over and the subsequent waiting period for the new medication to start working.

Thank God, the new medication seems to have started working ever so slightly, just in the last week.  I am starting to feel as though I can breathe again and I’m able to concentrate a little better which may be debatable by the readers of this particular blog post.  I’m far from 100%, but I’m at least headed in that direction.  I have to be.  

When the veil of depression descends, it touches every part of one’s life; at least it does for me.  Everything just goes black.  I go through my days like a robot already programmed with the required tasks to accomplish.  There’s no joy, there’s no laughter, there’s no happiness.  Everything that’s bad  is magnified and the anger becomes angrier.  And when it’s really bad – there’s nothing.  

Nothing is the scariest part.

While I’m in the nothingness, my mind starts to rewind back to every bad thing that’s ever happened to me.  It’s not just the abortion –it’s everything from start to finish.  It’s everyone who’s ever hurt me and it’s me convincing myself that I deserved it.  I start to replay moments in my life over and over again, obsessing over the details, trying to remember even more clearly what would better be forgotten.  The soundtrack of my mind accuses me of any and everything.  Before long I’m walking around and even sleeping with a thousand thoughts, all of them bad, sucking the very life out of me.  Everything in my life is then viewed through these gray glasses where any glimmer of goodness is darkened.  Anything that’s remotely good, my mind convinces me is actually bad.  I am a horrible person. A complete whore. You aren’t fooling anyone.  You’re a joke. God doesn’t even know who you are. There is no God. 

Things that are nuisances most of the time become overwhelming and paralyzing.  And pretty soon I’ve descended so far down that even attempting to crawl out seems pointless so I don't even want to try.  Where would I start?  It doesn’t even matter anymore.  I’ll just stay here.

Wouldn’t it just be better if I weren’t here? Wouldn’t it be better if my husband didn’t have such a screwed up wife? Wouldn’t it be better if someone else raised my children, someone who they would listen to?  Wouldn’t it be better if I just ceased to exist somehow?  If I just faded into the background while their lives continued on?  Maybe if I just disappeared now, before things get any worse, then perhaps their memory of me would be better than the reality.

For weeks I felt in my soul that this was true.

Even when I don’t admit it, even in the blackness, there remains some small flicker of light which is just enough to make me reach out for help, to ask for help in any convoluted way, so long as it brings the help I need and the help I didn't even know I needed.

I’ve found hope in a few places to sustain me the last few weeks and hopefully will continue until I’m on the other side of this depressive episode.   Apparently, there is nothing I can do to make my husband not want me and believe me…  I’ve tried.  I have succeeded in making him not very happy, but I can’t convince him to leave me.   No matter how depressed and miserable and irritable and mean I can be, he still likes me.  No matter how much I retreat physically and mentally – he’s still here.  No matter how many times I remind him of my past and how I’m damaged goods and I had an abortion – he’s still here.  And even in the worst of this depression, there remains a sacred space and time between a husband and wife where love is all there is.  There are moments where all of these feelings and depression and memories cease to exist and peace and joy take their place.   He’s chosen to love me through it, again and again, whether I allow him to or not.

In my darkness and solitude I begin to convince myself that my children would be better off without me. They don’t love me. They don’t listen to me.  They don’t respect me.  But, every so often, a smile comes across their face that reminds me that I am irreplaceable in their lives no matter what kind of day we’ve all had.  No matter how long I sit on my bed and convince myself that I don’t even deserve happy, healthy, beautiful children because I killed the first one, one of them inevitably busts in the door and reminds me that my love and attention is what they seek out above all others and there is nowhere else they will find it.They are oblivious to my horrible past and my present despicable behavior doesn't really matter to them either because there are far more pressing issues at hand like nails that need to be painted, snow that needs to be played in, or books that need to be read.

Even in my darkness, I’m reminded that no matter how much I yell at God and pout and lament every bad thing that has happened in my life, there is good that remains.  No matter how much I try to ignore Him and shove my Bible and all my spiritual reading stacked on my nightstand into the drawer in a juvenile attempt to tell him to @#$@ off, He remains… waiting.  And when I go to find him, He’s there.  When I come limping back, crushed under the weight of this ridiculous mental state that has no rhyme or reason that I understand, He’s there… waiting.  Just when I think He actually listened this time when I shouted in my mind, “what’s the @#$#ing point? I don’t need you,” He somehow reminds me that I do.  Sometimes it’s the lyrics of a song, sometimes it’s the beat of my own heart, sometimes it’s the touch of his hand. 

Because of my abortion, because of my past, because of my depression, because I am a wife, because I am a mother… I need him.  And even just because, I am... I need him.  He’s the light that remains.

No matter how hard I try, my emotional state or station doesn’t predict His existence in me. He’s here regardless.  When I’m broken and crawling through the dust or happy and laughing - there’s no criteria that needs to be met for needing Him.  I used to think that I had to be perfect before coming to him, perfectly worthy to go to him – lately I’ve been afraid that if I’m not broken I can’t go to him for I’ll have nothing for Him to fix.  I often think of myself as the woman about to be stoned, or the woman reaching out to touch the hem of His garment – but I never really think past it and what happens to the woman after she gets up and goes on her way?  She must have had a life after that moment.  What would her life have been like after touching, really touching, Jesus?

I wonder if He would still take my hand and hold me when I’m not broken in a myriad of shattered pieces?  Could I ever so slightly began to see myself through His eyes and allow love to grow within and He would still be there for me for any reason… or none at all?  Does He only pay attention when I’m at my wit’s end and my life is in shambles?   Is He still paying attention when I’m content in the love of my family?  Does He only listen when I pray out of desperation or does He ever listen when my ramblings put a smile on his face?

Would my husband? Would my children? Would Grace – whom I came to know only after I was so broken that I had no choice but to face her? 

In all of my depression and self-pity and self-destruction I think about how no one could possibly love me, or even like me.  And there He is, in the middle of it all, showing me that unconditional love exists in the very air I breathe every day. 

I pray that as I take each step out of this episode of darkness – that He’s there in the sunlight. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Logo A Loving Embrace of the Postabortive

Yesterday on my Twitter feed I was happy to see that a new logo for the March for Life was unveiled.  Honestly, I held my breath for just a moment before taking a good look.  I exhaled and smiled at what I saw...

Ta dah!

I was even more happy after reading the symbolism behind the new logo from March for Life President, Jeanann Monahan.  In part...
"You'll notice the new logo encompasses a mother and child. We march for moms and babies. Abortion not only snuffs out a life filled with potential, it harms a mother emotionally, psychologically and physically.  We embrace every woman and child with hope for happier tomorrows."
Back in August of this year, I offered my 2 cents on How to Win the ProLife Fight, wherein I talked about how embracing the millions of women who are postabortive is the key to certain victory. I have my own little collection of horror stories from my limited experience in the ProLife arena, but it's enough to make me hash out seven ways to Sunday plus infinity whether I step out again in defense of life.

About a year and a half into my healing I first went to witness outside an abortion clinic along with the Helpers of God's Precious Infants.  I continue to do this when I'm able to up to this day.  Two years ago I mustered up the courage to attend the March for Life for the first time and it was life changing.  I was there again last year and I plan on being there this year.

The anxiety will continue to ramp up to the 22nd as I try to brace myself against any negativity, temptations to despair, and try to keep from falling head long into the fact that I had an abortion as I take up my spot among the hundreds of thousands of people in D.C. that day.

I will be there, still quite anonymously, without a knowing hand to hold, when the panic creeps up into my throat as I walk that stupid block with all the wretched pictures and abortions on loop.  However, this year, I'm hoping and happy that I'll be able to refocus my gaze on the new March for Life logo depicting mother AND child and feel as though I belong there.  I hope that it continues to make me feel like it did when I first saw it, that I am now represented.  I hope too that all of the people at the March for Life remember the mothers so horrifically hurt by abortion along with the babies lost to abortion  every time they see both beautifully portrayed... together, wrapped in each arms.  To be able to hold our babies in our arms, I would guess, is the thing most postabortive women yearn for in this life, but won't have until the next one.  Until then, we carry our children in our hearts, minds, and souls.

The trending campaign for the March for Life is #WhyWeMarch. Last year the day before the March I wrote,

Tomorrow is the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and I'll be there among the crowds, just one person, one woman.  Even in the thousands and thousands of people, I will feel alone at times, a desperate loneliness.  But then, I remind myself that I'm not alone, that I'm never alone because He is with me and Grace Anne is with me.  She's part of me forever. 

The nerves are increasing because tomorrow is a day when both of my "lives" intersect for a while and I delicately tip toe through despair, joy, hope, sadness, guilt, anger, intense self scrutiny, meek attempts at prayer, and polite conversation.  Come, Holy Spirit, please... and don't ever, ever leave.

So, tomorrow I walk for Grace Anne and for me.  I also walk thanks to my husband because from the moment he came into my life, he changed it forever, for good. I walk for my girls so that they never, ever have to go through what I went through. 

Thank you, Jeanne Monahan, and the March for Life, for reaching out a loving hand to touch the heart of the postabortive, for reaching out a loving hand to me.