I love God, family and friends. and my old grumpy cat. and coffee. always coffee
When I was younger, finding love was always what I sought. I thought that came in the form of a life partner, someone to complete me. I bought into the whole spiel of true love conquers all. Love to me meant being happy with someone forever. I met someone where it almost felt like love at 19. A was funny, down to earth and seemed to genuinely care for me. We had the same sense of sarcastic humor and he used to surprise me in the most thoughtful, simple, little gestures. We spent a lot of time doing what teenagers loved. Hanging out in town, watching movies, going window shopping, spending so much time together and eventually exploring each other. No surprises then, I got pregnant.
I was in denial for weeks, suspecting but not really believing it. Looking and pressing against my stomach daily, worrying and wondering. Eventually I picked up the courage to buy a pregnancy test kit. I remembered peeing on the stick and waiting for the results in the cubicle nervously. Staring at the faint line that was starting to appear, wondering if any of this was even accurate, reading and re-reading the instructions. Still hoping that this was all just a dream. I scheduled a visit to a gynecologist who confirmed I was 8 to 10 weeks pregnant. What happened next was a bit of a haze. But a single minded purpose that knew, I could not keep this baby. I somehow knew I could not, would not live the life of settling down with A, no matter how much this almost seemed like love. I could not bear the thought of going through the pregnancy to give up my baby for adoption. It was the fear of shame, disappointment and anger that I knew my parents would not have been able to take. The only decision to make was clear to me. I decided to go ahead with the abortion.
A was with me on the scheduled day. It was a relatively quick procedure. I remember being on the operating table as I was injected with anesthetics. And the next moment when I woke up, I was lying down in the resting area. The feeling of discomfort at the lower part of my abdomen was the only reminder of what had transpired. I did not anticipate the overwhelming sense of loss and guilt. While I was relieved that I was no longer pregnant, the realization of what I had done also hit me in full force. I felt guilty for feeling relieved, for being alive, for making a decision that took a life, a living being that was in me. I took a life and I just could not forgive myself. I was damned.
After awhile, something changed between A and me. Depression evolved and I started resenting him, and I started pushing him away. Maybe I knew there was no happy ending for us anyway, so what was the whole point of it all. We were constantly fighting over nothing, and eventually we parted. After some time we reconnected and became friends, keeping in touch off and on over the years. He had settled down with a family of his own. It still took me by surprise some years back when I saw the photos of his first child. There was this unfamiliar ache I felt, a strange pang that wondered, could this have been us? Does he think about the past, and the abortion? Does he feel any guilt too? And why does he get the happy life package with his perfect wife and perfect children?
It has been 21 years since I made the decision that I could never take back. I have realized since then, that every woman who has had to make this hard decision, has always lived with a deep sense of pain, sadness and guilt. For the longest time, I felt that I didn’t deserve any sort of happy ending, I did not deserve to be loved. I lost myself and my self-worth when I went through a series of unfortunate experiences and failed relationships over the years that went by. I hit a new level of low when I went through a divorce at the age of 34 as well. No one gets married with the intention for it to fail, but my marriage failed so spectacularly.
With all the dreams and plans crashing down, I turned to spiritual comfort. Attending the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) introduced me to the Catholic faith and re-booted my relationship with God. It was the turning point in my life as I learnt how God loves and forgives us, whether we even believe it or not. It was at RCIA that my healing began.
Accepting that God forgives our mistakes was the first step. The harder thing for me to do was to forgive myself. To forgive myself for the mistakes I have done, just as God has forgiven me. How could I forgive myself when I am so undeserving? But yet God has forgiven and still loves me despite my imperfections. I am certainly not greater than God, and yet holding onto this unforgiveness, seemed to imply that I was. Forgiving myself meant that I accept my past transgressions and release the resentment, sadness and anger that I held on for myself. Forgive, and that paves the way for repentance and reconciliation.
Over the years God has revealed His love, lessons and healing for me, through people He has brought into my life. And that’s how I came across the Buttons Project and connected with June. Hearing about her healing programme made me realize, since I’ve actually never gone for inner healing for the abortion before, perhaps this was something I needed to go through. I was brought back to basics in the healing journey, with God our loving Father as the central focus to ground the process. Part of the process also involved repentance and forgiveness. Forgiving myself once again, releasing the negative emotions that were blocking me from God was a continual process. Bit by bit, June walked through the whole process with me until I could finally see what God wanted to show me- His throne, and where I was to be seated, alongside Him.
With all that spring cleaning done, my heart now had the space to comprehend that my child was real, and was now with Jesus. God planned a purpose for my child too, and since he could not serve out his purpose, I would take on his purpose to merge and shape it with my life. This was my new beginning.
I have learnt to trust God. He and I have a better relationship now, with Jesus my reliable friend and the Holy Spirit like an inner compass, leading and navigating my life. I have written about my experiences to share my healing journey on http://teresaajourney.wordpress.com. I hope my story encourages you to move forward with your own healing and recovery journey.