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.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Get on with it already.

I’ve been wondering lately if it’s all up to me now, well I know not everything is up to me, but am I the only one standing in my own way anymore?  Have I exhausted all the avenues on this post abortion journey and now I’m done?  I don’t know if the journey will ever be fully complete.  Will I know if it ever is? It waxes and wanes.  

When things come ‘round like 40 Days for Life, I have a tendency or maybe a need to get all stirred up about it both in a good way and a bad one.  Good in that I’ve been trying to think what else I might be able to do at this time in my life for the prolife “cause.”  Is there anything that I’m not doing or haven’t thought of that I could be doing or doing more of?  And bad because campaigns like 40 Days for Life bring out both sides of the debate, and sadly, there are factions even within the prolife arena that would like to see me tarred and feathered, or at least tortured for all eternity and I feel as if I need to constantly explain why I had an abortion instead of proclaiming the mercy I found in spite of it.   I’ve been questioned in the last week or so how I can even speak to the issue having had an abortion, “how dare I.”  Yes, the delete button is good for those comments, but they sting nonetheless.  I find it scary and sad that obviously lots of people still do not recognize what happens to a woman after she has an abortion, and even sadder, they don’t much care.

And just when I start to try and blame the Devil for all of my current torment, I’ve come to learn recently that the Devil, surprisingly, is no real match for me, well no match for me when I’m filled up and attuned to He that lives within me.  The Devil apparently doesn’t stand a chance.  A mere Hail Mary will supposedly send him running. That’s all well and good except when it’s 2AM and I’ve just woken up from a nightmare, afraid to even open my eyes, and I can’t remember the words.   It’s hard to believe I have that kind of power, but it’s not power of my own volition certainly.  The Devil, I’ve learned is a finite creature with limited power whose great trick is getting us, or me in this case, to believe that he is far more powerful.  God, however, is infinite and all powerful.  Repeat as necessary.

A few weeks ago I was glad to attend a one-day “after care” day for women who have been on a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.  This was something new for me – and for those who planned it.  They obviously had done their research on what some women still need even after the ocean of mercy, love, and forgiveness that is a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. 

Granted, as with anything, people experience and leave a retreat in all different states.  Some are at the end of their journey, some just said the word “abortion” out loud for the first time in their lives, others are somewhere in the middle.  Some women leave and never look back and some, like me, need more help.

It hurts to say that …even to this day.

I need help… often… to stay the course, to reset my compass, to point out the obvious, and the unseen.  I often lament that I am this way for I think of myself as the strong, independent type.  In some ways, it’s an accurate description of many areas of my life, in others so far removed from the truth of who I am or who I’ve become.  Can I be both? I guess so since I’ve been both for an awful long time.  Being strong isn’t the only requirement however for caring for my battered soul.  I need help.

I need the strong and steady fortress of my husband with his ability to see not only the forest through the trees, but even the stuff I may outright refuse to acknowledge.  His BS meter, thought it pains me to admit, is helpful at times as well.

I need, so need, the company of women who are postabortive to talk to or just so I don’t feel so completely alone.  I need them as a reminder that this sorrow I carry is perfectly normal and acceptable and there’s no shame in it, not anymore. 

I need my Church, whose beauty I’ve always been awestruck by, but whom I was always afraid to cuddle up next to because of my unworthiness and disgusting sins.  Now, I want and crave all she has to offer which is bountiful for those who need her, whether they realize it or not.

And I need the Good Priests who He has called to shepherd all of us and this sheep in particular.  I’ve come to depend on some of them for wisdom, compassion, understanding, and, of course, the beloved sacraments.  After the experience I had with the priest I confessed my abortion to all those years ago, I would never have thought that I would find mercy and kindness in a priest again or that I would even look to a priest to find it in the first place.

In the last three years, I’ve found the love and acceptance I’ve searched for all my life and never found.

So, now what?  I need to move and discard some big boulders taking up space in my life, in my heart and in my soul, apparently.  At the after care day, there was a speaker from Heart of the Father Ministries.  This gentleman had a gift, that’s for certain.  The words he spoke were enlightening and inspiring and made me feel as if I did have the power to get rid of things that I’m just @#$@# sick of anymore.  He explained how – almost too simply – with words and conviction, we can get rid of things in our life that we no longer want to take up any more room. Hard for me to believe, but apparently we have the power to renounce those things in our life in His name.  How I wish I could close my eyes sometimes and not be haunted by memories of the past.  I can renounce all I want, but my problem is, I seem to need constant reinforcement and I’ve learned that I can’t rely on it to come from inside my own head.

This man at the retreat, I wanted to ask him to pray with me and for me, but I was too afraid to ask, or probably too embarrassed.  Yeah, I’m real strong aren’t I?  I’m afraid that the last decade of the internet and email and spending 90% of my time speaking to babies and children has dulled my ability to talk to human adults in any coherent way.  Starting back out “there” with requests for help is not the best plan for success.  Then I regret not asking because I think how it would have helped.  Or maybe if I would have talked to some of the other women there, but I didn’t.

Some of the things that remain – that have got to go already – are ties to my past that keep me in a place that can’t possibly be of God.  The past has to no longer take up space in my present.  Some say you can rid yourself of your past with just an act of the will – I need an act of something I can see, hear, and revel in, maybe something to replace those ties to past.  I’ve spent the last just about three years analyzing, and picking apart my past seven ways to Sunday and I’m worn out.  I’m fatigued.  I’m done.  I’ve been thinking that if I let go of this pain then I’ve lost control over it.  If I keep it here with me, I can control it.

Sometime in the beginning of my blog project, I posted the prayer, “I Thirst,” that was given to me.  I remember when the person gave it to me, she said to ask someone to read it to me, but I never did.

Another person told me to come up with a list of positive things about myself – I came up with just two things.  Not sure if there are more or if I just didn’t try hard enough.

Another person simply told me to look in a mirror; it sounds so silly, and tell myself that I deserve to be loved.  I did do that, one time, and I think for a second I believed it. 

I have to stop being afraid to ask for exactly what I need from these awesome people He has put in my life and on my path.  I have to stop being afraid of asking for help and receptive to it when it comes.  I think it may be time to get out of my own way.


  1. Shalom
    God Bless you on you're journey

    may it continue to be beautiful

  2. No matter how difficult it must be to face the hostility of those who judge your past, PLEASE keep speaking out. People have to be made to face the fact that it's not just about the baby (not to negate that part or anything); abortion hurts women too, in so many ways. And the devil keeps those women silent by telling them they deserve the pain. Refuse to be silent! I've never had an abortion. If I say abortion hurts women, people start demanding to see the proof. You are your own proof, along with all the hurting women you've met along your journey. Speak, and make them hear you, whether they like the message or not. Truth must be told, and heard, or change will never happen. <3

  3. the last paragraph of your guest writer keeps me from getting on with it. how do i not know that i am not supposed to feel the way i do because of what i have done? won't i have to answer for all of it?

  4. If you have gone to confession for it, then you already have answered for it. If you haven't gone to confession - go quickly! I promise it will be awesome. I still feel the way you do often, but I have to keep reminding myself that God does not want us unhappy. He wants to love us and for us to love him and we can't do that if we're wallowing in the corner having a pity party all the time. He sent his Son for the biggest reason of all. He answered for what everyone has done and will do. Look at a crucifix, I mean really look at it for a long time. You'll get there.