My story is one of Love, Forgiveness and Restoration.
I grew up in an ordinary family, the youngest of 12 children.
My mum and dad were not religious, mum took care of us while my dad worked to pay the bills. We had food on the table and clothes on our back and that was all that mattered. You didn’t get many new things back then, clothes were mostly hand me downs or bought in a jumble sale, times were tough for everyone.
When I was thirteen I started going out with a boy who was about 5 years my senior. I liked him and I thought he liked me but after a while one thing lead to another and I found myself in situations where I was too immature and scared to say no to him.
I was young, naïve, flattered by his attention and the tangible gifts he gave me.
Today it would be called “Grooming”.
Of course, I thought I was all grown up, able to make my own decisions, able to handle anything but that was not the case.
Looking back now I can see the truth.
After a while I broke up with the boy and then it was discovered I was pregnant. The shock, horror and scandal of it all was so overwhelming but by this time my clothes were already beginning to get tight.
Scared and ashamed I didn’t feel I had any control or choice over what I was about to do next, led to believe that what I was carrying, wasn’t yet a baby. I was advised to act fast by people I trusted.
Within a week I was in England with my mum to have an abortion.
The doctors at the hospital examined me and had me confirm why I was there. No advice, counselling or alternatives were offered.
Feeling alone, venerable and scared I just wanted to die. I was kept in a side room away from others because of my age. My local doctor said that he thought I was about 13 weeks pregnant but I now believe I was further on due to the type of abortion I had.
While in the hospital, the doctors said that they would give me something to induce me, causing me to go into a type of labour. The pain I experienced as a 13-year-old that day was horrendous. I was put into the delivery position where I felt something slip away from my body. It was then that I knew it was a baby. I asked the nurse whether it was a “boy or girl” her reply was “You don’t need to know”, then she left the room. At no point did the medical team ever refer to it as a baby, they had dehumanised the child.
Afterwards, I remember it being so quiet. No one wanted to talk about what had just happened. I felt so ashamed and alone. It was then I decided, that no one could ever say or do anything to me that would ever hurt me as much as I did that day. I also decided back then that I would never keep my abortion a dirty little secret that would one day destroy my future. Not realising that it had already begun to!
The whole abortion process was overwhelming yet it seemed to happen so quickly but the effects have lasted a life time. Like me, many woman today act in fear and ignorance believing that abortion is a quick solution, but that’s not the case. It causes pain and heart ache for all those involved whether a little or a lot.
A week later my mum and I were home as if nothing even happened and I was sent back to school as “Normal”. I was told “Put it behind you”, “Forget about it” and “Move on”… I tried but how could I forget something like that. I knew even at 13 I had to lock up my feelings to cope.
I kept thinking about my dad, how I had “let him down”. He couldn’t look at me, never mind talk to me. My mum said he would speak to me when he was ready. However, that never happened. Five months later he died, setting in motion years of guilt, self-blame and regret. The morning he died I left the house feeling so crushed. I couldn’t bear to watch them take his body away, what right had I to grieve? I felt responsible, for causing yet another death.
Nobody took the time to tell a 13-year-old girl that her father’s death was not her fault.
Many years later I married my first husband who I had met shortly after returning home from England as a young girl and we eventually had 2 sons. He knew about the abortion as I had already told him when we first met. However, I always believed that I was damaged goods and that no one would ever love or want me. I thought that he was my only chance of happiness. My shame caused me to deny the existence of a God. It was easier to deny Him, than believe that He could forgive me and not judge me. But 2 years into my first marriage and the birth of my first son I stopped running from God and became a Christian.
For various reasons my first marriage broke down after 7 years. Then after several years on my own, God brought Richard into my life and we were married. Around this time my mum had admitted to me, after 30 years, that she also blamed me for the death of my dad. I was heartbroken and vowed to never go near her again. Yet I felt God told me I had to honour her and go back and look after her. Years later she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she died suddenly in 2013, but thankfully throughout her illness I had supported her and taken care of her. My whole life I had been blamed and unsupported but in that time with her and even through my second marriage there was healing and restoration of relationships.
After the death of my mum I had this overwhelming feeling for the first time ever to attend a Christian Institute awareness morning on abortion. I never could have attended before as I would have felt like a hypocrite.
It was here that I met another woman who shared her abortion story and it blew me away. For years, I believed that I was the only one, I kept myself feeling isolated bound to my shame and guilt, but in truth I was one among many women effected by abortion.
It has taken 35 years for me to be able to share the details about my abortion experience, I could never have shared such intimate details before as it was too painful and I didn’t want to revisit that part of my life. I had locked it deep away in my heart in a little box. But thanks to the hand of God and the willingness of a woman to share her story, I was finally ready to walk through the trauma, pain and regret that abortion brings and find freedom and the heart to help other girls and women who are going through similar experiences to make the best choice.