Almost 3 years ago I met the man of my dreams. What a smooth-talker. He was wonderful. And we slept together the night we met. I was a single mom finally on my own; he was a single father who rarely saw his kids. But he was nice, and very attentive, and honestly I wasn't looking for much. For me, he was a quick and easy one night stand.
Then, the next day, I came home from work- and there he was. I figured, "Okay, a 2 night stand." But within a week, I was in love, he was in love, and I was pregnant. I of course didn't know it yet, but I was.
Pregnancies do not stay a secret for very long. It came to my attention, and in just under two months of knowing each other and one overnight drive to Vegas, we were the Married expectant parents of Zoë due February 3rd.
Robert was everything to me. I don't know that I ever told him that, but he was. So when a month and half later we both realized what we had gotten ourselves into and we both began trying to NOT be the one to end it, we both felt trapped. Not because we weren't – quite on the contrary- because we were.
We fought. For the first time we fought. It wasn't pretty. We made up. We sat down to eat.
He said, "You don't know how close I was to leaving you today."
I said,"It's been really hard because for the last week or so, I can't tell if I love you."
He said, "Well it's been a month for me. And I am sure that I have never really loved you. I married you because you were pregnant."
I said, "Well I can't ask you to stay in a loveless marriage, why don't you go pack your things."
"They are already in the car," he said
I replied sarcastically, "That's just fine, I will go get an annulment and an abortion and we can just go back to the way things were, RIGHT ROBERT," as he left.
Goodbyes are never easy. This was the most difficult moment of my life to that date. But soon to be replaced by another.
Now what? I am having a hard enough time getting the kid I have fed. Now I am going to have another baby with a man who doesn't even take care of the kids he's got. What do I do?
Have this baby, Go on welfare, move in with my parents who can't stand me as it is. Give up school, give up pretty much everything. Farewell future.
Give this baby up for adoption. Probably the most respectable thing to do. But I have a kid, and I know what motherhood feels like. I know that if I carry this child to term, I will NEVER give it up. I thought about it with Caleb, and gave up my security to have him. As much as I wished I was that person, who could do it, I just am not.
Do the unthinkable. Simply put- the easy way. No more ties to Robert, no more stress about how I am going to survive, No more questions about my future. Keep things the same. Commit murder, Have an abortion.
I sat on it for a few days. Then I made the appointment. Crying on the bathroom floor on break at my work. I committed. Then I justified. "It's just a collection of cells. It's just a collection of cells. You are doing this kid a favor. She can go be with Jesus instead of all the HELL she'd go through here. It's just a collection of cells."
Lisa, my roommate took me. 6 in the morning, we left. I sobbed the entire wait. Oh yes, and I was the last to be called. While other girls with long acrylic nails sat a flipped through gossip magazines, laughing about how they couldn't wait to have a cigarette, and some cheesy chick flick went ignored on the T.V. above some sleeping girls head, I cried, silently screaming to these foolish girls "DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE DOING???? I tried to sleep, but those places are just so filthy it's hard to get comfortable.
They called me in to do my I.V. I cried so hard that the girl asked me "Are you sure you want to do this?" I said "no, but what choice have I got?" I had choices; I just banished the first two into the "too hard" category. I waited until finally they came for me. There are other gory details I will leave out for the squeamish; they turn the story from hard to read into impossible. The last thing I remember, I was walking down a hall. See they give you a medication called versed. You are awake, and conscious, but you don't remember what's happening. I still have glimpses of hearing the machine, seeing the doctor, and then waking up but the memories punctuated by black nothings. I pray I never have to see the whole memory which I am sure is stored in there somewhere. It was official. I had an Abortion.
Laying there afterward, listening to the nurse give me post operative instructions, I wondered why I felt so … okay.
I physically hurt a little. More sore than anything. But the crying had stopped. And I felt relieved. I felt like I had just finished the most excruciating hike, and was at the bottom again on level ground. My panic, stress, anxiety – all gone. Lisa came and picked me up, I cried a little. But not like before.
I probably went a few days before guilt started to creep back in. Only now guilt had this other wicked tool. "You know what you did, and DON'T FEEL GUILTY? YOU FEEL RELIEVED! EVIL DOESN'T BEGIN TO DESCRIBE THAT!"
I lied to Robert, like most the other people in my life. I said I had a miscarriage due to the stress of our marriage dissolving. He accepted that lie, although he knew it was a lie. He did love me and didn't want me to have to deal with anything else at that point. He couldn't tell first had, but he could imagine what I was going through, and pushing me for truth wasn't in his character. He let me believe that he believed me.
Enter years of beating myself up.
See there were 3 things that made this worse than it could have been.
I was already a mom. I wasn't some teenage kid who got pregnant on prom night with my whole life ahead of me. I wasn't doing this to ensure that I had the chance to have a normal life. My life was already marred by one unwed pregnancy and fatherless child. I wasn't doing this to try and enter into a relationship someday without any reservations. I knew how wonderful motherhood was, and I knew what that indescribable love of your child feels like.
I was a Christian. I can't look back and say I was a heathen who didn't know what God had to say about it. In fact I had been quite pious about my PRO LIFE stance in the past. I was surrendering to hypocrisy and denying the truth I had at one time so proudly displayed on a bumper sticker on my truck- Abortion is murder.
I was lying to the person who deserved to know. Robert wouldn't have supported me. He wouldn't have been okay with it. He also wouldn't have fitted the bill I couldn't afford. And after murder, lying doesn't seem so wrong. It was just icing on the cake. Even if the cake was made up of sin and despair, it was my cake. And believe me, it made it about a thousand times worse.
Would it have felt better if I were 16? Would it have been excusable if I weren't a mother or a Christian? Have I become the thing that makes nonbelievers not want to believe? Have I become the person that acknowledges Jesus with her mouth, but denies Him by her actions? Would it be easier to deal with if I just could tell Robert the truth?
It took me the better part of 3 years to find out that the answer to all of these questions is No. And I will get to why here in a bit. First, how the Lord got through to this guilty heart.
I met Nathan, and in much the same way as Robert, fell in love. It was quick and painless. A year and a half post abortion. I did things a little smarter this time, largely in part because Caleb was old enough to understand. Otherwise I am not so sure I would have been as prudent as I was. We got married, albeit quickly, but we did get married. And we both wanted to have children together. We each had one, so we wanted at least one together. A few months went by and the girl, who once got pregnant in less than a week, suspiciously isn't pregnant. A few more months, and nothing. Then a few more. Before I knew it we had been trying for a year (minus a few weeks that we used birth control as a precaution, our marriage was going over a few rocks that felt like giant boulders.)
Every month, that reminder, that slithering voice of Satan creeping in whispering "You have ruined your chances, you have destroyed your body, you aren't a woman, you can't even give your husband the son or daughter he wants. All because you are a murderer and this is your reward, your punishment, and God is just letting it happen. He's not "doing" it to you- Oh no Rebecca, you did this to yourself! But He isn't doing anything to help now is He? Why would he help a disgusting selfish murderer like you? You had your chance to have a baby, a beautiful baby girl, but you threw her away like an inconvenient piece of garbage that just happened to find her way into your uterus, your worthless uterus." Enter cynical villain laughter.
Satan is such an A-hole. Pardon my French. It looks silly to read it now, but it was an ever present once a month occurrence. My period is almost due, take a test, its negative, Satan comes to visit and degrade me, and I, in my consistently naïve way believe it.
I, in essence say to God "actually, your death and resurrection, your ultimate sacrifice was plenty big enough for everyone else's sins, but not mine. Me and my sin, this one sin in particular, are bigger than you." Which is awful to do once, but once a month? Boy you would think that God would disown me!
My husband would get so down with feelings of defeat every month. He didn't know how to help me. He wanted to, and he wanted me to tell him exactly what to do to help. What only a woman who has had an abortion can understand (and this is not an understatement) is that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THAT CAN MAKE IT FEEL BETTER. Let me rewrite that so the emphasis is correct. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing that can make it FEEL better.
There is no quick fix. There is no flavor of ice cream that makes you forget, there is no song or movie we can pop in the entertainment system and move on. There is no activity that can distract. There is no good memory to recall that can counter act the one bad memory that takes over from time to time. There is no voodoo dance, or candle to burn, or book to read, there isn't an "Idiots guide to surviving life post abortion." No matter what the unique circumstances surrounding any one particular abortion, no matter how different each of them are, they all produce the same realm of emotion. And nothing on earth CAN POSSIBLY MAKE IT Feel better. But there is good news.
There is someone who CAN make it better. Eliminate "FEEL" He can just make it BE BETTER.
My girlfriend who went through her abortion shortly after mine suddenly had a life changing experience. Just as a side note I have to tell you the irony of this friendship. Because I had about 6 months on her in abortion recovery (or so I thought) I did counsel and comfort her (or attempt to) in those first few weeks of pain. This was a bad plan in my state of mind. It actually came down to her saying "I just don't feel like I will ever be in a place where I could be in a relationship again." And my wonderful words of wisdom… "GOOD THING- You could really mess some guy up right now!" We joke about it (and she took that unreasonably harsh truth- that was true for both of us- really well) and I am honored to say that through all these years of me being a jerk we are still thick as thieves. Back to her life changing experience.
She says, "You have to read this book called the Ragamuffin Gospel." I put it off until (No lie) God put it on my shelf. The story is the story of Jesus' love for us in the context of Grace. That there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that can separate us from the love of God. Not distance, height, depth, night, oceans, trials, tribulations, or abortions. It said simple truths like:
"The saved sinner knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness, it's what we do because we have been forgiven."
"If Jesus appeared at your dining room table tonight with knowledge of everything you are and are not, laid out every skeleton in your closet, dark desires in your psyche, you would feel his acceptance and forgiveness. "
And my 2 personal favorites:
"Whatever past disgraces might make us blush, all have been crucified with Christ and exist no more except in the deep recesses of eternity where good is enhanced into glory and evil miraculously established as part of the greater good."
"Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the lamb, dressed in white robe and holding palms in their hands I shall see… the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives…"
She told me to read the book full of the truths that I knew, and had even counseled other women about, but hadn't accepted for myself. And it set in. The reason the answer to all of those earlier questions was "NO" was because there is only ONE thing that can make it feel better. The unconditional, supernatural, wonderful Grace of God through Jesus.
It's not that I never sinned, it doesn't erase the past, it simply means that if I asked Jesus which of my sins was my biggest, His response would be "I don't remember."
I am forgiven.
Just this week, I called Robert and confessed. I told him everything he already knew. Bet you are curious as to his response.
"Becca I know. And I love you. I understand and I am sorry that I put you in that place to choose. I wish you would have talked to me about it, because I would have talked you out of it. I don't think you need my forgiveness, but if you do, I forgive you."
It does feel good to have that off my chest, but had he said "I hate you, I will never forgive you, you murderer." I still would be forgiven and walking in the Grace of God. (Thank God he didn't say that though)
My unsolicited advice for the women who have made that call, and followed through with most likely the hardest decision of their life, I hope Grace finds you sooner that it found me. I have wasted nearly 3 years of my life wondering how it could have been, feeling defeated and guilty when all I needed was my Gracious Father to relieve it.
For the women who are in the shoes I was in nearly 3 years ago, Don't do it. God will provide. And never in my life have I regretted having Caleb. I will regret not having Zoë until I die. You never know how things will turn out. It could be great, it could be good, it could be not so bad. But Abortion is GUARANTEED awful. Even if you don't deal with guilt like I did, the actual event is the most disgusting degrading experience you could imagine, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Just Trust that God who has lead you to this, WILL lead you through it.
For the men who have to be supportive, even when you feel like you are helpless, and can't fix the hurt that you may or may not have been a part of, just being there IS helping. You may feel like you are just making it worse. You aren't. Someday you will hear "I don't think I could have gotten through it without you." And you will think, "Um… were we in the same room, I didn't do anything." Just believe me, yes you did.
For the Women like me up until that day, don't be so quick to judge. You never know what mess you could get yourself into. That bumper sticker on your car may be causing the woman in the car behind you, dealing with the lingering guilt of her abortion that she can't change, unnecessary pain.
For the pious sledgehammer Christians who will read this and say, "She's not a real Christian," and decide I don't deserve their friendship, I bring you back to the parable Jesus told to the Pharisees of forgiven debt. Those that owe more, have more to praise God for when it is forgiven. Jesus did not come here for the Religious high and mighty; he came here for the sick, the ailing, the crushed, the persecuted the abandoned, and the girl who had an abortion. Those of you who don't need saving- congratulations! Save yourselves.
I will admit that I am a woman in need of a Savior. I am a woman who has sinned. I am the sick, ailing, crushed person Jesus came here for. I am infinitely grateful and walking in the Grace of God. I am not anything to look at, I am a filthy ragamuffin. But Grace has made me clean.
Written April 24th 2008
Healthy Futures for Women is an abortion clinic. Steve Hindes is the abortionist at Healthy Futures for Women. Many stories like Becca's begin there. Abortion doesn't solve problems, it creates tragedy. Don't make a mistake you will have to live with forever. Choose life for yourself and your baby.