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.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Don't you love it when that happens?

Depends on what you're talking about.  There are lots of things that happen that I love a lot, and lots that I don't love at all.  As I spend more time on this journey though, I've become more and more aware, sometimes painfully, of who is really in charge, and of who wants to be in charge.  It's been a battle for sure.  I know after I publish this post, my hubby will say, "you didn't tell me that happened!"  And he'll be right, because usually it takes me a while to process through things in my own head before I can share in whatever way. 

Mother's Day, as I've written was difficult and blessed at the same time.  I think I'm beginning to realize even more, and this probably comes from me talking a lot to someone close to me about their need to return to The Church, that I am so in love with everything about being Catholic.  I love all of it.  So because of that love, I don't feel half as crazy as I would if I wasn't fully aware of what our God is truly capable of.  If He can forgive me of my sin of abortion, He can do anything.  Who am I to say something isn't possible because I can't prove it or see it or hold it in my hand?

So, let's get to the crazy part.  Whenever I am really struggling with things, and this is more of a chicken or the egg argument - I start to wage real warfare in my head which then starts to manifest itself physically in some ways whether it be fatigue, anxiety, depression, anger, fear, etc.  I'm getting better at recognizing this and stopping it with a quick prayer, a silent cry for help, an imaginary stop sign in my head.  More and more recently though, there have been positive outside influences that make themselves known - like last weekend at Mass when I heard that little voice.  I spent a good part of the week dismissing it, and then I'm reminded that this is not the first time that kind of thing has seemed to happen to me.  I'm not claiming to the be the "Long Island Medium," or some spirit conjurer.  I'm too chicken for any of that.  But, who I am to dismiss what He might be trying to get through my thick skull in a way that He knows will work?  So, as I accept it for what I believe it truly was, it settles into my soul and gives me strength. 

My Dad loves to tell the story about the time he saw two angels in a graveyard.  Clear as day they were and he will swear to it on his life that they were real.  And as he has sometimes walked away from the Church - always to return - he never, ever, lost faith in those two angels that he saw. 

Everyone has a story to tell that's similar, of something supernatural that they can't explain.  And I suppose I'm no different and perhaps my stories are just the same as everyone elses'.  I do have some doozies that will make the hair on your neck stand up or make you laugh out loud at me.  But I don't care.  I will take them for what they are and hold on to them and allow them to do whatever good they are supposed to do. 

So I can't help to think that last evening, another reassurance came to me and truly settled my soul at a moment where my mind started just to wander a bit to the would have, could have, should have, if only... thinking.  I was waiting for a concert to start where both of my children were participating.  As I saw them up on the stage and was filled with pride at their confidence, brains, and beauty... my mind started to go down the familiar path... there should have been three.  At that very moment, I felt a touch on my shoulder.  And it was a substantial tap, almost a slight squeeze, enough to make me turn my head to see who was trying to get my attention - there was no one.

Don't you love it when that happens? 

In a matter of a few more seconds, I turned back toward the stage and felt that it was okay, completely okay... for me to sit there and relish my two beautiful girls here on earth.   I had permission to enjoy the concert without a negative thought to be found in my head at all.

So, I don't know who it was that touched me, real or imaginary.  Grace?  My guardian angel?  A child in the audience playing a prank?  I don't know.  I don't care.  I got the message loud and clear. 

It's okay.

"But if these beings guard you, they do so because they have been summoned by your prayers." ~Saint Ambrose

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Grace to Forgive...

Well, halfway through Mother's Day and I'm still here.  I keep wavering back and forth between fully engaged and fully detached without the ability to find a comfy in-between.  I don't have a lot of clear thoughts or words for today, I'm sure they will come later. But, a few things I think I've come to know for sure over the last day or two.

I think I may need some help that I don't like asking for.  I think maybe a lot of what I've been feeling the last few months may be either half or even more than half of some kind of hormonal or chemical disconnect or whirlwind inside of my body and my mind.  I know for sure that the harder I try to pray, to hope, to love, to not stifle my own laughter, the harder someone tries to keep me from doing any or all of these things.  No one talks about the "devil" anymore and it sounds silly as I even type it here, but I have to believe that not all of what goes on with me is of myself entirely, whether good or bad.  But I seem to have only two states as of late, 90% of the time I feel nothing. I'm numb, no sadness, no joy, nothing.  The other 10% - well let's just say it's not a happy place either. 

No time to think about some of this right now or for the next few days, but my focus will be on keeping the darkness at bay until I'm able to address it full on.  The nights will be long the next few days as my hubby has some traveling to do.

At this morning's Mass - the Good Father spoke of love and love and more love and it was a lovely homily and parts of it touched my heart as I sat with one child on either side of me poking at me for attention or tugging at my skirt.  After communion, I knelt there with my eyes closed for a long time and asked for help, nothing specific, just, "help."  Another Good Father reminded me last week or so that I will not, ever, be able to free myself from any of this, or do anything at all by myself.  I need Him.  So, the last few days my prayers have been simple, just, "help."

My thoughts then went to my Mom who I had just talked to on the phone before Mass.  My mind wandered as I knelt there and I thought about how to ask for the grace to forgive her for her part in my abortion for this has been a huge impasse for me.  And then I heard a little voice say to me, "but, I forgive her Mommy, so you can too."

I never know when I hear these things if they are my own thoughts or what.  I try not to think about it too much - but rather focus on what happens inside of me when I "hear" them.  The tears started to fall and I figured, okay, that I can work with.  Like the flowers I received from my two children here on earth, that I can physically plant and tend to all season, perhaps this flower of advice I received from Grace can be planted in me and take root all the same.  If I can forgive my Mom then maybe I can go down the list and forgive all the others who hurt me over the years.

Thank you Grace, for my Mother's Day gift, I just have to figure out what to do with it. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Stepping outside of my head...

I wrote a similar post a couple of months ago called, "What Brings you Here?" - about analyzing the stats from my blog.  In all honesty, I don’t understand 90% of the reports that Google Analytics provides, but keywords I do understand.  So, I look them up and review them from time to time out of curiosity.  This activity has proven also to be a bit self-serving, because every so often, a keyword or series of keywords is listed that, for lack of a better term, just blows me away.  Some that I see listed make me sad and others give me hope.  Still others give me reason to keep writing.

With Mother’s Day approaching and stirring up a lot within me, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do to prevent a day-long pity party.  One thing I will be doing is praying outside of the abortion clinic the day before Mother’s Day.  I’ve prayed outside the clinic a few times, but the day before Mother’s Day will be most difficult.  I feel it will be a good thing for me, it gives me something reparative to do and I'm not as inclined to focus on myself when I'm there.  I’ll recite the rosary with the group that gathers there and offer my prayers for each little soul, that they find their way to Heaven and I will ask Grace to intercede and help them along.  It’s an eerie feeling outside of that place with my full knowledge of exactly what is going on inside, but the little souls lost there are much more important than my uncomfortableness.   

I’ve been struggling lately with feeling quite stuck and though I have this blog and I believe it’s reaching people, I feel like there isn’t a lot more I can do to help the pro-life “cause.”   My hope is that in the future when my children are older and can understand that I’ll be able to talk to people, even groups of people, openly about my experience and perhaps help someone that way.  I’m hoping in the meantime to maybe find some people to speak to or help that don’t compromise my anonymity, but we’ll see what happens on that front. 

In looking over the long list of keywords that people have typed into Google and then landed on my Blog, I realize that I have an opportunity to pray over my Blog, if that makes sense.  So, I invite my readers to join me, if you could, and say a few prayers with me over the next week leading up to Mother’s Day.

One of my earliest posts included an ultrasound picture of an 11 week old baby.  This “11 week old ultrasound” and different variations of those keywords has driven the most organic traffic to my blog.  So, I offer prayers for all of those people who Googled “11 week old ultrasound.”  Prayers that if they are pregnant, that they have a healthy pregnancy and joyous occasion when they hold that new baby in their arms.  I’ll offer prayers for those that may have Googled “11 week ultrasound” because they may be contemplating an abortion and now have seen what that baby looks like and they change their mind.  More prayers will be offered for those who searched for “face abnormalities ultrasound 11 weeks” and
“crappy ultrasound at 11 weeks,” that whatever the meaning behind those searches, that it did not lead to an abortion or heartache and if it did, I’ll pray that you found mercy and peace in the time since.

I’ve mentioned my screwed up anatomy before and how my two living children are quite the miracle babies and we did not realize this until afterwards when I had a hysterosalpingogram performed and there, on the screen, was the reality of what was actually going on inside me and explained so much.  I’m told this is a relatively rare condition and most of the time goes vastly undetected.  I offer prayers of thanksgiving for knowing that I do have this condition and that it is indeed hereditary so I will be able to let my girls know, when the time comes, that they too may have difficulty conceiving, but we know why. 

I offer prayers for all those who searched for information on this condition with words like, “uterine horn, unicornuate uterus, 2 horn womb,  double uterus, rudimentary uterine horn, non communicating uterine horn, banana shaped uterus, anatomy unicornuate uterus, blind uterine horn…”  I pray that you have found help for your condition and for whatever outcome you wanted to have after having found the information you sought.  I pray that those who searched for the information while trying to conceive – that they continue to have hope because I have two healthy children, conceived with no artificial assistance at all, despite this rare condition.

Finally, for all those who came across my Blog after typing the following into their search bar…

repentance prayer for abortion
abortion spoils marriages
the Miserere prayer of repentance
post abortion, get my confidence back
repentance prayer for a abortion done
stories of abortion repentance
husband cannot handle abortion
6th pregnancy contemplating abortion
I’m looking forward to the healing from the guilt of three abortions this retreat can provide
mothers day and abortion
my mom wanted me to have an abortion how do i forgive her
forgive things from the past
god help me
Eucharist as recognition of god's presence
will confession absolve me

I offer prayers, and ask my readers to do the same, for, whoever these searchers are, wherever they may be, prayers that if you have had an abortion that you find mercy, forgiveness, love, healing and happiness.  That if you are contemplating abortion, that my story will give you pause and change your mind.  That if someone is coercing you to abort, that you find the strength to resist and someone to help you do just that.  I offer prayers for those searching for forgiveness or wondering if it’s even possible - it is.  I offer prayers for those searchers who may be Catholic and have not been to Mass in a long time for whatever reason.  I pray that you return and experience the fullness of what our Church has to offer.  I pray that something spurs you to just take one step toward the journey back home – there is much mercy and forgiveness to be found and so many people willing to help if you just simply ask for it.  I offer prayers that those who are postabortive and seeking healing that they look up the information on their local Project Rachel ministry and have the courage to call.  I offer prayers for those who think they are unforgivable.  No sin is bigger than His mercy – seek him out.  Find a Priest to speak to – there are so many kind and holy priests among us, they will not turn you away, I promise. 

Lastly, a prayer for myself, that in hopefully stepping outside of myself this week, that I’m helped along in my healing journey.