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 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes - Hosted at

I apologize that I have been horrible at blogging lately, I've been horrible at writing lately.  I feel as though I've been horrible at most things lately. Which, of course, isn't entirely true.  My children are fed and clothed.  Hubby is fed and clothed.  Dog is fed.  It's been a struggle lately coming to terms with the choices I've made in my life the last decade or so.  I work part time because I always felt that my number one priority is being a wife and mother.  I'm not so sure anymore.  I want it to be, but I can't help but feel run down with the day to day.  I have other interests and volunteer activities that keep me busy and engaged in adult conversation, but the problem is that then I often feel as if everything in my life is gets maybe 10% of my attention and nothing gets 100% or even close.  I find myself doubting ever making the decision to not work full time the past 12 years or so.  I think about where I could be in a career, how I should have gotten my master's degree, and how much money I could have made so my husband wouldn't feel all the financial pressure.  Would have, could have, should have. 

I have begun seeing a spiritual director and it's been a great process thus far.  I won't share most of what happens within that context because I'd like to keep that space a bit private, but I will share one of my "homework" assignments that I was given last month - that I completely failed to do.  Well maybe fail isn't the correct word - outright refused to try is a better description.  I think it's something that a lot of people struggle with, however, especially people with pain in their past or decisions they regret, or standards they feel they will never measure up to - so yeah, that's just about everybody.  My assignment was to look in the mirror each day and say to myself, "Self, I am loved and I am beautiful."  I wouldn't even attempt it.  Why? Because I don't feel loved and I feel even less beautiful.  I just kind of ignored the whole idea until my next meeting with my director and we talked about why I can't do this.  The discussion led to a lot of thoughts that I'm dealing with now as far as why don't I feel loved and beautiful? Do I even want to feel loved and beautiful?  Do I really want any of it?  Now, my new assignment is to, if I can, just look at my eyes in the mirror.  Just look myself in the eyes, ignore all the rest of me (thank goodness), and concentrate on my "windows to the soul" and try again.  I'm kind of scared.  Who am I kidding?  I'm terrified. 

I haven't been writing on my blog recently and have hardly taken pen to paper, but I do appreciate all of the comments and emails I have received from people who have said that my blog has helped them, or touched them in some way or that they too have had an abortion and appreciate my honesty and what I have to say.  It's always better when I don't feel alone in this.  I'll try to do better this month for those people who have asked me to please keep posting.  You are all in my prayers -  even the whack-a-do's whose comments I don't publish - you know who you are. 

I've been absolutely dumbfounded at the Catholic "blogosphere" the past few months.  Sometimes it's hard to even tell if we are all on the same team.  I'm astounded by the derision that exists and the meanness and harshness with which everyone defends their opinion about absolutely everything.  I get it, I am hell bent on some of my own opinions on some matters.  But, I don't get the extremeness of opinions in our Church.  And the same topics come up in my Twitter feed every day after day.  Aren't we supposed to all be part of the mystical body of Christ?  Christ must be suffering from severe body dsymorphia right now.  I don't know if I should love Pope Francis or hate him. I don't know if I should sneer at crying babies in church or offer a helping hand.  I don't know if I'm a heretic because I prefer face-to-face confession.  Should I demand that my Priests be pretentious and untouchable or the huggable, warm and fuzzy variety?  I wonder if I'm a bad Catholic because I don't homeschool my kids.  Should I feel superior now that I receive communion on the tongue (even if it took me months to work up to it and I still get so nervous about it?) Should I listen to Michael Voris or Mark Shea?  Ugh!  Can't we all just get along?  Maybe that's why I haven't been writing lately - I'm afraid I'm going to get attacked by my own kind in a place where I should feel the most safe and secure.  I feel bad because I fear I'm not strong enough to withstand any criticism.  I applaud those of you who are, but could you all get together and come up with 7 Quick Takes about the Church we can all agree on?  Thanks.

I recently finished a fantastic and extremely helpful book that someone recommend to me.  Dawn Eden's, My Peace I Give You, is an excellent read.  Ms. Eden offers ways to find help and healing with the lives of the Saints.  Although I did not suffer from childhood sexual abuse as  Ms. Eden did, everything that she speaks about in the book would be extremely helpful for anyone who has suffered from abuse or trauma in any way.  I found myself reading and re-reading paragraphs and chapters as I thought about some of the things that have happened in my life.  Having had an abortion is definitely a sort of abuse, and having one at the age of 17 would seem to make it even more so.  Ms. Eden gave me a lot to think about regarding forgiveness and also about living and reacting from a place of woundedness versus from a healthy place.  I'm not quite there yet.  Sometimes I doubt I ever will be, but Ms. Eden has offered me hope in some areas where I didn't have any before.  She's given me some new things to consider and a way to deal with some things that keep coming up all the time.

And now for something completely different... the other day in the car, my eldest asked me, "Mommy's what's a condom?"  Now, this is not the first time she's asked such a direct question and I'm glad that she feels she can ask me - but, holy cow, can we have these discussions while not driving the car?  Geez.  Anyway, I asked her where she heard the term... at recess, of course!  Her friends refused to tell her what it meant.  I explained it to her in the best way I could and she found it to be completely disgusting.  At present, she finds all of these discoveries essentially disgusting which is fine by me at the moment and for the next ten years.  I am grateful to have these discussions though, as my mom, to this day, has not uttered the word s-e-x in my presence more than twice that I can remember.  If I would have asked her what a condom was - I shudder to think what her response would have been.  So, a little pat on my back for one small success as a parent - my kid is, obviously, not afraid to talk to me about all things sexual.  Let's just pace ourselves, shall we?

So, the theme this month on Facebook is to spend each day posting what you are thankful for. I didn't take on the challenge.  Not that I'm not thankful - I just hate doing what someone tells me I have to do.  But, I'll take this last quick take to concentrate on what I am grateful for even if I don't see those things that are right in front of my nose every day.  I'm thankful for my life and for waking up every day healthy and warm with a loving husband by my side and a devoted canine who is just so damn happy to see my eyes open each morning.  Never underestimate the power of a wagging tail.  This can not be taken lightly in my case because of the suicidal ideation that I often suffer from - waking up each day and realizing what a gift it is to be alive is huge for me.  I'm thankful for my children, all three of them, for when they drive me crazy and for when they don't.  I'm thankful for my home and all the things in it because, though I constantly complain about the things I don't have, the things I do have are ridiculously excessive.  I'm thankful for this journey and for where every step has led, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sublime.  I'm thankful for my beautiful Church and the sacraments and for each time that I am privileged enough to partake in the Eucharist and feel Him enter my body and soul and heart so completely and so overwhelmingly that it brings me to tears just about every time.  I'm thankful for all of the people in my life who have helped me along the way and who have held my hand.  I must admit I'm afraid that once I'm "healthy" or "fixed" from all of this that you will all disappear because I won't need you anymore.  I'm thankful for eyes that can see - and hopefully I'll use my sight to look in the mirror soon and realize that I'm worthy of something... anything, and hopefully one day, love.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. I will keep you in my prayers. Please remember you are a precious gift from God to your family and you are precious to God.


  2. I so appreciate your transparence. I think many of us have baggage that makes it hard to look in the mirror or tell ourselves we are beautiful and loved. While yours is such an important witness, don't ever apologize for taking time for yourself - life is hard and we need rest and respite from the storm.

    I also feel exactly the same way about all the mean spiritedness with different Catholic camps. While there is plenty of room for disagreement, the beauty of the Church is that she gives us such a wide range of spirituality and practices that are perfectly acceptable. I also think homeschooling Catholic moms have more time to post! That said, there are many lovely writers out there who advocate for their choices without invalidating another's. The comboxes are another matter altogether. Yikes.

    Praying for you, and again, so glad your witness is out here for the world to see.

  3. A beautiful 7 Quick Takes, and I'm pleased to see you writing again, and that there are some really good things here :)

    I hope that you might watch this video, as it's SO relevant to the lack of self-worth and self-love and deep sense of hopelessness that you seem to be feeling.

    If not, the poignant part (and the part I'd like to say to you, though I paraphrase) is that there are so many blessings in life - so many things to be thankful for, and if you take note of them, immerse in them and let them flow through you and outwards to other people, they can be blessed by you. By your eyes. By your smile. By your touch. Just by your presence. That gratefulness can overflow into blessing all around you. And that is so worthwhile.

    Take care of you x

  4. I am so glad you found Dawn's book. She is having a great impact on many lives.
    Deacon Joe