My Abortion

Most people looking at my life would never guess the pain involved in being me. I am married to a wonderful man, have two college kids, and a great job. But, for as long as I can remember, I lived in a fog, sort of like being wrapped in gauze… not feeling anything too deeply.

At 50, I sank into a deep depression. After months of therapy and not feeling much better, the therapist asked the question, “Have you ever had an abortion?”

That question brought me back to the summer that I graduated from high school. I had been accepted at my “dream college”. I was on my way…the first day of the rest of my life and all that stuff. And I was pregnant! My boyfriend and I had broken up. We were both going away to college, but on different coasts. So we decided to do the “mature” thing! Mature? Ha! When I told him I was pregnant, he offered to pay for half an abortion. An abortion! All of a sudden I was in a situation I never thought I would be in. I knew how disappointed my parents would be. But I also knew abortion would never be their answer.

You could not imagine my surprise when I heard my mother say, “We don’t believe in abortion, but you have a bright future ahead of you. Besides, it’s so early, it’s not really anything yet.”

This was pre-Roe v. Wade, so we headed out of state and I had an abortion. I can still hear my mother’s sigh of relief, “Well that’s over. We won’t even think about it.” And so I didn’t.

I threw myself into everything that came my way. My motto was, be so busy that you can’t think or feel. And so life went on, in a manner of speaking. Until that day and that question, “Have you ever had an abortion?”

My therapist helped me deal with many things, but suggested I find a place or person who deals with abortion and all its ramifications. After meeting several people, I decided on Carolyn’s Place. I didn’t want a group and knew I needed more than six weeks. At Carolyn’s Place, I was met with acceptance and unconditional love. And so the healing journey began and is ongoing.

I could not put many months into a few sentences. I can say that at the end of those months, and many steps — making my baby real, naming my baby (Gabrielle) and asking Gabrielle to forgive me — led to acknowledging my sin, begging God for forgiveness and the sacrament of Reconciliation.

I also had to forgive my parents. My quiet anger never let me connect with them totally. We had quite a reunion. And boy did I talk!!! I told them that I had counted on them to make the right decision. I felt betrayed and hypocritical because up to that point, they had taught me that abortion was wrong! We’ve begun that road back to one another. And then the most difficult work of forgiving myself began, and is ongoing.

The pain of those years of silence is beginning to fade. For the first time since that summer, the fog has lifted. Carolyn’s Place gave me a sanctuary where I was safe and could talk about the abortion. Facing the truth about what I had done was very difficult, but it brought me wholeness and forgiveness. God’s mercy is never outdone! I will always regret the abortion. But I now see each day as a gift. And I can honor Gabrielle by making the most of that gift.

~ Leslie