I spent the next few years in dangerous situations, drinking and partying*. Next I returned to college graduating with honors*. I met and married my husband never telling him about the abortion*. Once my career was on track I became active in civic, charitable, and other volunteer organizations*. I returned to Church on a regular basis and after months of preparation finally gained the strength and courage to confess 'the sin of sins'. Although children with my husband were not possible due to medical problems*; with a successful marriage and a thriving business, I was living the American dream. Life was great!
Then one day reality hit, after years of denial and buried memories I was at Mass when it occurred to me that if I had not 'postponed' having children, that I too could be holding a baby. What started as a passing thought quickly grew to devastating grief when I realized it would not be a baby, but a 20 something adult, who very reasonably could have a baby of their own. I have never experienced such pain or turmoil as the full impact of my actions were revealed to me.
The blob of tissue that was my body and my choice suddenly became a child. My child, my only child, a child I murdered for the sake of convenience. Horrible thoughts and unanswered questions filled my head as I somehow drove home in tears, collapsing in bed where I remained for hours, trying to convince my husband I was fine, just tired.
During the night I managed to get out of bed and log onto the internet, while looking for answers I stumbled across Project Rachel, the post-abortion healing ministry of the Catholic Church. (I was not aware of its existence). I spent hours reading all I could and when morning arrived I made myself presentable and left for work. At the first opportunity I called the numbers I had acquired and reached a wonderful, compassionate woman who answered my questions, sent me literature, and offered prayers and hope. She also encouraged me to speak with my priest. Thankfully, I took all her advise to heart.
Over the next several weeks I was in contact with her repeatedly always receiving the same compassion and understanding. What began as thoughts of being the only Catholic girl who had ever sinned this way, turned into the realization that I was a textbook example of the thousands who had. Space limits me to my full story, but all the items marked above with ' * ' are typical after effects.
Getting to where I am today has been difficult and painful. Thankfully the long journey has been filled with many gifts which began with receiving the understanding, compassion, and unconditional love given me by the counselor and my priest. Although I had been forgiven earlier through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I was gifted with being able to fully accept and better appreciate the depth of Gods mercy and forgiveness. Another gift is the knowledge that I can be reunited with my baby, who has also forgiven me. I have been gifted twice with the counselors, the first a gift from God when they were called to this ministry, and the second the gift from them of accepting the call. There are numerous other gifts for which I am thankful, including the realization of how truly blessed I am.
In closing I would ask that you keep Project Rachel on your mind and in your heart. If you have not experienced abortion yourself you know someone who has. Although you may never know which friend, neighbor, or family member it is please be prepared if you are given the opportunity to help. I also ask that you keep Project Rachel in your prayers, not only in support of their work, but in thanksgiving for the lives they have touched.
The Rest of the Story Naming the Baby
Homily on Post-Abortion Forgiveness & Healing