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.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Postabortive with a side of Post Election Stress Disorder

The weeks running up to the election wreaked havoc on my mind, heart, and spirit.  If there is a post traumatic election disorder, I'm convinced I have it.  I was obsessed with the news, blogs, radio, whatever I could read or listen to for weeks.  Not always a good thing.  The problem remains that though I've grown on this journey of mine, I'm still just at the beginning in a lot of ways.  There have been some resolutions, but even some of the resolutions have led to other realizations and new things to pursue and flush out and work on.  All good in the end I suppose, but realizing that I will never truly reach the "end" of it till I'm dead does not leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside, which makes for a shut down, not very cute, outside 100% of the time.  

Deep down I think I knew that "our side" would not win the election.  Not when I sit at church and know that some of the very people there with me are pro choice, pro birth control, pro married priests, pro same sex "marriage", pro everything and anything that we Catholics aren't supposed to support.  I feel as though I'm just getting my footing on how to be a good and faithful Catholic.  I've only just discovered the whole deal of the Magisterium and the mission of the whole Church and how unbelievably, ridiculously, and immensely awesome it is that I am a member of such a glorious undertaking.  But, I feel like I have no one to share those feelings with.  I'm so grateful that there is truth that never wavers and that reveals the absolutes in my life - thank you God for taking the burden off of me of figuring out what is good and what isn't good, of what is of You and what is most definitely not.  

And I guess that's why I was kind of pumped up anyway that our side might win, that the sanctity of life and religious liberty would prevail and I could be excited about it and not have to really tell anyone the real reason that I am all of sudden all super-Catholic and all.  Now, I feel as though I have to take my big horrible secret back to the dark corners and hide. Maybe if I would have spoken up to the friends of mine who scoff at the abortion homilies and the same sex marriage arguments.  Maybe if I would said, "well guess what, I had an abortion and it basically ruined me forever," I might have changed a mind or two.  But, I didn't.  I just can't.  Not in that way.  Not yet.  Not here.  Maybe somewhere? I don't know. 

And I get it, I get why so many of my peers and my own family members are not as geeked out on the church as I am lately - and forever.  I used to be just like them.  I used the pill for years.  We used condoms when we were married - which have got to be the most disgusting things ever, truly.  God did not intend for condoms - that I know for sure.  It always felt wrong and horrible and now - we know better. I try to tell every young couple I meet to ditch the five year plan and follow the teachings of the Church.  The years that we decided it was "time" to try to get pregnant and didn't use contraception were some of the most beautiful years of our marriage.  I have to be reminded constantly that I'm not a hypocrite now when I speak out (the little that I do) about why contraception is wrong.  Why I'm not a hypocrite to be prolife now and it's not only because I've already had my abortion as I've been told.  I guess I thought that if a semi-pro life president took office, then within those four years, maybe I'd be a little braver.  Maybe I'd do more prolife work.  But, not now.  I can understand why a mother of daughters would argue the rape exception as a justification - I can't even begin to imagine what that would entail - but I can imagine what one of my daughters having an abortion would do to them, despite how they got pregnant in the first place. 

Now I don't know what to do.  Give up?  Give in?  Shut up? I feel like I'm losing friends who don't understand me anymore and I can't really share with them the basis for my transformation.  The frustrating part is I'm still the same person - I just am ... I don't even know how to explain it.  I'm more Catholic? I'm more faithful? I'm all in? I'm okay with submission to the teachings of my Church?  I don't know.  Maybe I just need to sit tight for a while and wait to see what happens next.

I think when the time comes, if ever, that I go public with my story to friends and family and whomever, that it will be a lot easier in some ways.  I know that some people will still never understand, but a few may.  I know that among my peers, most likely over half of them have had abortions themselves.  I ache for the friendships and genuine love for one another that could be had if we only felt okay with what we probably have in common.  I know that when I've been on a retreat, or among other postabortive women, I feel as if I can finally breathe.  For something that I only mentioned out loud less than five times in my life up until a few years ago - if given the chance - I wouldn't shut up about it at all.  I tested the waters with a few semi-prolife postings on Facebook and the critics came marching in so fast and furious.  I wanted to shout, but wait, I really do know what I'm talking about!    

I did come across an article the other day though that gave me some hope.  I've been struggling lately a lot with the whole idea of loving God with my whole heart and that He should be above all else in my life.  I'm confused because my hubby usually is in that spot - how do I reconcile God first, husband second?

Simcha Fisher had a piece on the National Catholic Register entitled, How Can a Married Woman Be a Bride of Christ.  I love her writing and this piece spoke to me about the very issue I was struggling with.  Do read the whole piece, but lately under my theme of someone please just tell me what to do, Simcha writes, "Your job as a married woman will be to recognize and honor what is Christlike in your husband, and to help your husband to become more like Christ."  Got it, that I can do.  I think.  Now I just need some other direct orders and hopefully I'll make it though.


  1. God bless you. Jesus called his apostles and disciples out of their normal world into His life and work. I'm sure they had to leave stubborn and blind people behind and it hurt. But they stuck with it and that's what we have to do. Standing up for God in this world isn't popular and a lot of times, not fun. But once God has opened our hearts, staying silent becomes unthinkable. We're the Church Militant. We have to take up our sacred liturgy, our Rosaries, our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and our prayerlife or we will, for sure, fall into the pit. Isn't it great that Pope Benedict has set this year as the Year of Faith so we can deepen our understanding of Church teaching and fulfill our mission as Christians better. Just focus on that and don't let Satan distract you. I don't want to give him an ounce of satisfaction.

  2. Found your blog via Holy Souls Hermitage.

    Thanks for your post. I was heartbroken that Obama will have a second term. I have also had an abortion. I converted to the Catholic faith in 2008. I love the Catholic Faith! But, at the same time I am depressed by the numbers of Catholics who supported Obama not only the first time around, but the second. Even prolife people I know, even Knights of Columbus members in my parish. I feel actual grief that these people are so deluded. And I feel angry that there has been so little Church teaching and homilies on the subject by our priests (at least in our diocese).

    I applaud you for having the courage to make this journey, though. It is wrenching at times. Sometimes God's grace overwhelms me, sometimes I feel the remorse of the abortion so intensely I can hardly stand it.

    One of the ways I felt I could work through having had an abortion would be to attend the March for Life. I have gone three times now. The first time was traumatic. I could hardly breathe half the time. It felt like a pilgrimage of penance, and I was a pitiful wreck. I thank God for my husband, who understood why I was not at my best. The next year I made a big sign with a rosary that said, 'Blessed is the fruit of your womb' and carried it nearly the whole marching route. I have not yet been able to carry the signs that say 'I regret my abortion'. One step at a time.

    What I have also been able to do is to speak to friends, one-on-one about having had an abortion. And more often than not, they quietly reply that they too have had one, and how much it still pains them to think about what they did.

    I came of age in the same decade that Roe v Wade was decided. My mom was a typical 'burn your bra' type of feminist. She was all for abortion. She herself had two of them while in her forties. When I began to argue the prolife position with her in recent years, she would respond with a certain amount of venom and even threatened to reveal that I had had an abortion to my children (they are in college and beyond). I made the decision to sit them down and tell them about it. They were shocked, because all they had ever known was my prolife stance. But, it freed me to talk to my mom openly, with my children present. She asked me why I was so prolife now, and I told her of my grief and pain and regret. She replied that many woman do not suffer at all. I felt that at her age (in her 70s now) she has not been able to come to terms or even examine the emotional and spiritual repercussion of abortion. Like so many, she has compartmentalized what she did. She refuses to look at any prolife literature or statistics. She does not want to deal with it, so in many ways it deals with her.

    Anyway, you are not alone. God bless you, and I will visit again.

    1. That's kind of what I think might happen if I were to bring it up to my Mom. I think she will either deny it ever happened at all because in my family - if you deny something - it isn't true. Or she would turn it around on me and say I wanted the abortion. The answer to that scares me a bit because I'm not sure if I ever did for even a second "want it," but who knows. I beat myself up about it all the time still. I have to keep reminding myself that I didn't have a choice no matter what anyway. I did go to the March for Life last year. No one that I went with knew the real reason for my being there. I thought it would be horrible and was quite surprised when I found joy in most of it. I plan on going again this year.

  3. This faithful Catholic thing is not for the faint of heart, and you are doing great. You will get your sea legs. Just give it a little time. And I love that you are tentatively putting some pro-life stuff on your facebook. I had a dear (scared) friend who finally took the plunge and really "came out" as Catholic on her fb. It was so frightening at first, but most of her friends stuck with her. Now she is loud and proud, ha ha! You have so much to say, so much to offer. When you are ready, you are going to do amazing things for the Kingdom. I will keep praying for you.

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and confidence. I day dream about posting what I really want on Facebook, etc. The bigger dream is to speak what I feel out loud to someone who may challenge me on it, or maybe I should start with someone who won't.

  4. I found your blog yesterday, when I googled 'how to write my abortion story'. Thank you. Your bravery gave me the strength to write my story and for the first time speak it in all it's sad and broken detail. What you are doing, right now, matters. Whether you ever go 'public' or not, in my life you made a difference. I am 16 years, 1 month and 10 days post abortive and you helped me share things that I haven't even aloud myself to think much less write or, God forbid, speak. So, thank you, and please don't stop!