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.

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.

5 comments:

  1. So often, well meaning people, tell you you need to forgive yourself for having had an abortion. Forgiveness is an on going process - and sometimes, I think, that in their telling you what you need to do, they are saying "please forgive yourself, stop talking about this, and move on."

    Can a mother forget her child? No, never.

    Forgiveness is a journey - a life long journey and it is not limited to forgiving ourselves for abortion, but for all of our behaviors that have not been pleasing to God.

    I am certain that this interview was heard by those who needed to hear it! God Bless you

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  2. Thought you did a good job with a huge decision. Prayers for you.

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  3. Thank you both for your support. Chimakuni - yes, exactly. I haven't found the right way to express myself so people understand that just because I talk about it doesn't mean I haven't "moved on." But with abortion, people always want to just sweep it under the rug or not deal with it and never, ever talk about it. Hopefully that will change.

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  4. Part 1 - I will break this up into a couple posts. It will be too long to read in one post.

    I have not listened to the link, yet. I will listen to it, though. I wanted to comment on your mother. I have much to say on this topic, as one who had an abortion, and one that funded my daughter's.

    In 1975, I was 18 and fresh out of high school. I found out that I was pregnant to a guy that I was infatuated with, but did not feel the same way. I was a naive, young girl. I wanted to have my baby, at first. However, the father, denied paternity, and was not going to be supportive at all. At the time, I did not want to have a child, alone. I was in a vocational school at the time in Pittsburgh. I stayed at a college dorm. I was encouraged by roommate and peers to have abortion. Convinced me that it was just a blob of cells, and not a baby.

    My final decision was to have abortion. The only problem was that I had no income of my own. I had no financial support. I had to tell my mother, and that was something that I did not have the courage to do. On a weekend home, before I went back to school, I left her a letter under her pillow. I could not face telling my mother in person. After consulting my older sister, she decided to pay for my abortion.

    I regretted my abortion, immediately. I wanted to be pregnant, again. I wanted my baby back. I was angry at my mother for making it so easy. I was angry at seeing all these pro-life pictures. I wanted my baby back, and how dare they put those billboards up.

    FF - I went on and married at the age of 23. My first pregnancy while married, ended in early miscarriage. I was heartbroken, and felt that God was paying me back for aborting my first child. I feared that I would never have children. Soon, after, I became pregnant again. I had a son. Two years, later, I had my daughter.

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  5. Part 2 - Sort of dejavu

    Only sort of, meaning that my daughter became pregnant at age of 18 and fresh out of school. I failed to mention that I became pro-choice, along the way. I was convinced that prior to 8 weeks, it was just a blob of cells, and a "potential" to be a baby. It was NOT a baby. When I had my early miscarriage in my first pregnancy when I was married, it was just a bunch of blood clots. I saw no indications that it was the beginning of a baby.

    My poor, young daughter did not want an abortion. I am ashamed of how I responded when she told me that she was pregnant. I told her that she must either give child up for adoption, or abort. I was not willing to raise another child. I knew that my daughter was not mature enough to take care of a baby, and the burden would fall on me. Her boyfriend,(that I did not even know about) insisted that she have an abortion. (It was about child support) He already had a five year old child to another woman.(never married)

    My daughter did not want to abort. I told her that I would not help her if she did have child, and that she would be on her own. Her boyfriend told her that he would be out of her life for good. My daughter id not have the money to pay for abortion. I paid for half of it. The half that I paid for was doubled the price of my abortion in 1975. My daughter only agreed to abortion due to the threat of her boyfriend leaving her. (and, yes, he left her, anyways) She had some severe abdominal pain when she came home. I hated myself more than anything. I felt how could I have been so evil?! I wanted my grandchild back. I had that feeling of remorse return, that I felt when I aborted my own child. But, this was 10 times worse!!! My daughter did not want an abortion. I coerced her into getting one. My mother was unsure of funding my abortion. In fact, it was a sin that she highly regretted. And, btw, my mother was a religious woman. She went to Holy Hour weekly in addition to Sunday mass. Then she found a prayer group, and bible study. I felt the pain that my mother felt, only she was not to blame for my abortion. I was to blame for my daughter's.

    Forward four years - My daughter became pregnant again to the same guy. I believe that she tired to get pregnant since she aborted her first child. I found ovulation tests in her room. I was angry when my daughter told me she was pregnant. She was not married, and I was so angry for her being so careless. I knew that she tried to get pregnant, but she denied it at the time. Of course, I accepted it as a little time went on. I adore my grandson!! I LOVE being a grandma!!!
    part 3 and conclusion up next.

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