In 1971 when I was 19 years old and a sophomore in college I, had an illegal abortion. I never thought twice about my decision and quickly moved on with my life. However, every time I heard the word “abortion” in the news or in casual conversations I had a pang in the very pit of my stomach. I could relate to the word in a way no one else knew. It was my secret that I stuffed away. I lived with a cloud of secret ugliness that robbed me of simple everyday happiness.
I am now 56 and a dear friend shared with me about a retreat she had been on for women who have had an abortion. I did not want to deal with my abortion by bringing up so many old wounds, sharing with her was embarrassing enough. She encouraged me to attend and with a lot of fear and shyness I made the decision to go. Deeper Still gave me a new life in a very special, caring and safe weekend. My life is COMPLETELY changed in every way possible. I experienced the forgiveness from our Heavenly Father that took my secret ugliness away once and for all! I feel strength of self-confidence that only comes from knowing and believing in the grace of God. I live with a sense of joy in the midst of my life knowing God saw me at 19 years of age as one of His cherished children and he waited so patiently for my complete return.
About 35 years ago when I was a young mother with 3 children ages 10, 8, and almost 5, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. This totally threw me into a panic as my husband and I had decided when our last child was born, not to have any more children. I knew I couldn’t handle another child as our life was very full and busy, children were very active in sports and activities and my husband worked very long hours, leaving me to basically raise the children. 35 years ago abortion had just become legal and having nowhere to turn and no one to talk to about this except my husband, I made a tragic and rash mistake and had a quick abortion and hid it from everyone for 35 years. At that time, I had no real relationship with the Lord and attended church occasionally. I never gave it a thought that it was a sin and certainly didn’t know the consequences that I would live with over the years. I carried overwhelming guilt, anger and shame and always thought about that tiny baby that never had a chance. Every year I thought about the time that baby would have been born, how old he would be, would he look like our other son…yes, I knew my heart of hearts that he was another son!
Three years ago and a move across the country, we joined a new church. I found a pamphlet titled “Healing Hearts”. It was a retreat in the mountains and a program for post abortive women called Deeper Still. I was encouraged to go by some wonderful women in the church who also had abortions. I was ready since I had never dealt with my feelings though I did kind of feel forgiven by God for this seemingly unforgiveable sin. I can’t even adequatelyexpress in words the healing power of this weekend. I came away feeling a total freedom from the guilt, shame and pent up anger, was mercifully redeemed and forgiven, unbelievably loved and emotionally cleansed. Our dear “son” was given a name and a beautiful memorial service and for the first time I was able to share my story with our children and friends and felt complete acceptance and unconditional love from them. I continue to be totally amazed looking back over 35 years, how God had been planning for this time in my life to bring me closer and “deeper still” into Him! God loves me – I am blessed.
My name is Vickie. I was raised on the coast of the pacific northwest. I am 54 and have been married 32 years. I was not born into a Christian home but my mother sent us to a church where I heard about Jesus and a seed was planted in my heart.
When I was 8 years old an authority figure, someone I loved very dearly, molested me. I grew up with a lot of hatred towards this person and wanted him to die so he wouldn’t hurt others like he did me. I would also feel guilty for thinking those thoughts.
At the age of 13 I began to drink and by 15 I began dating an older boy. I discovered I was pregnant. I kept the secret from my mother until it became too late to have an abortion. We made a decision to place the baby for adoption. I gave birth to a baby girl. When she was born I wanted to hold her but the nurse gently put a towel over my face to protect me from seeing her. I knew she tried to protect me.
A few years later I dated another guy and within a year I was pregnant. My Dad wanted me to have an abortion but I wanted to raise the baby. I gave birth to another baby girl. Four months later she had died in her sleep. After her death I fell into a deep depression and began to drink a lot and felt that a part of my heart had died too. I had such fear that God was punishing me for something I had done.
Several months later I started dating another man and became pregnant. I was still unmarried, without hope of a future and the disgrace of having another child out of wedlock was more heartache than we could bear. We made the decision to have an abortion. I really did not realize on that day what I was doing to this baby. I thought it was a mass of tissue and not really human until it was born.
My boyfriend and I walked out of the hospital that day and never once discussed what took place during the abortion. We drove 8 hours back home and I cried the whole way. We never told anyone what took place that day. We just tried to get on with life as best as possible.
We eventually got married and a couple of years later we had a baby girl. She became the center of my life. The fear of losing her became my obsession. I put so much time into taking care of her that my husband and I became more distant and we separated, but I discovered I was pregnant so we reconciled.
We began attending a church and I was again introduced to a man named Jesus Christ who knew every sin I had ever committed but loved me unconditionally no matter what I had done. In April of 1980 I gave my heart to Him and was baptized at 8 months pregnant with our son. Our children were dedicated to the Lord as infants and are living their lives for Jesus Christ today. My husband and I have had opportunities to do mission work in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
During one of those mission trips I met a lady named Ann. She had done some teaching on the sanctity of human life. I had not even thought about my abortion or the effects it had caused, but it started me searching and I started with a Bible Study called Forgiven and Set Free. My friend Ann later told me about a retreat in Tennessee for healing from abortion. Even though I was nervous, I knew I wanted all that God had for me.
Next thing I knew I was on a plane heading for the Smoky Mountains. I was picked up by a lovely lady who was part of the ministry team and she drove me to the cabin. I was greeted by women who made me feel so loved from the moment I entered that place. I will never forget the angels of the Deeper Still retreat. They loved me back to life and gave me a glimpse of what heaven will be like someday.
Before my retreat I lived in fear and denial, I was not self motivated, I had difficulty making decisions, I did not take care of myself and I struggled with eating disorders. I believed that I deserved every bad thing that happened to me. Through my retreat I learned I could tell my story (that’s why I can share it with you now). My heart has been healed. I found I could grieve my lost children without the weight of guilt because of what Christ did for me. My mother’s heart was restored. I took responsibility for my sins and I took them to the cross.
My relationship with Christ has been restored. He has also restored my relationship with my adopted daughter. I also have a one year old granddaughter.
I celebrate my new found freedom. God is still in the healing process and the journey of His love is deeper still.
My behavior led me to a destructive world of wrong choices, failed relationships and marriages. Abortion in our society was socially acceptable and convenient. The enemy had cracked the door to self inflicting harm and told me “it’s a secret” no one has to know what you do with your body.
The years went by and I was successful in my career and the things of this carnal world. I hid in my work as a way to cover over my woundedness. I struggled through three broken marriages and continued to make wrong choices that ended in 5 abortions altogether. I know this is hard to hear because it is so hard to say. Satan had me at every turn. In my pridefulness I heard “it doesn’t matter, no one will know, you’ll be ok – it’s a secret”.
The harm inflicted by these acts destroyed my ability to mother well. I did everything on auto pilot. My only daughter was so affected, as you can imagine, by a mother unable to give the deep emotional connection she needed. She lived in my world of perfection and felt she could never measure up. I wish I could do it all over again. The price of convenience and irresponsibility is not worth the consequences.
The Lord was faithful and gracious to not let me live out the rest of my days in perfectionism and wearing grave clothes. One day I was casually reading an article with the word abortion in it. That day the Lord gave me a nudge to look at the truth about me. I said “Lord, I don’t want to go there remember” He said, “Come dwell in the light of the broken hearted – you are beautiful to me – after all I died for you!”
So just two years ago, I reached out and allowed Jesus to begin healing me here in this very place at the Deeper Still retreat. I learned to forgive so that I was not held captive anymore. Never a day goes by that I don’t know I am free. He restores my life and I walk in victory even when the face of life is difficult – Jesus always prevails. God has blessed me with a husband for life and a chance to mother well with stepsons who make my world a better place. Thank you for listening.
Twenty-three years ago this month, I found myself facing an unplanned pregnancy. The person I was dating told me he couldn’t commit to me, nor guarantee he would be there for me. I was over 1,300 miles from my family and my home. I was alone and facing a decision I never thought I would face.
Even though I was attending a Christian college, traveling, singing, and holding revivals for surrounding-area churches, I never considered God in the decision I was about to make. After talking to a friend who had an abortion, she encouraged me to call an 800 number and set up an appointment. I had an appointment for an abortion the following weekend. During that time, I seemed to operate on “auto-pilot,” not feeling, just functioning. All I knew was that I was pregnant and had to become un-pregnant. This was the only option I felt I had.
The following weekend, I had the abortion; I felt that I lost my identity and I lost my voice. After the procedure, I remember sitting in the recovery room crying and questioning, “What have I done?” I cried off and on for days, finally pushing the experience to the back of my mind as if it hadn’t happened to me, but to someone else.
It seemed that I was going on with my life. Then I began experiencing what Ithought was seasonal depression. I realized this depression occurred every spring – the time of the abortion, and again in the fall – the time my baby was due to be born. Even though my former boyfriend had told me what we got rid of was nothing but a blob of tissue, I worried that God would punish me and not allow me to ever become pregnant again.
Three years later, I met and married a loving man who didn’t agree with abortion, but he didn’t judge me either. We were blessed with two sons. Unfortunately, I had much difficulty bonding with my first son and felt very disconnected from him. I believed that these difficulties were a result of me being an older mom. This default caused constant guilt and frustration on my part. I flip-flopped between over protection of him and detachment from him. I desperately needed something that would change me, but I didn’t know what that something was.
To not expose the secret of my abortion, I also spent many years avoiding close relationships with other women. I couldn’t take the chance of someone discovering my past; surely they would judge me, and turn their backs on me. Thankfully, God brought me to a ministry that offered a healing retreat for women who’d had an abortion. I was introduced to women who had also experienced the emotional pain of abortion. Amazingly, these women were not ashamed, but very open and willing to share God’s love with me and lead me towards my healing journey.
Only a year ago, I attended my own Deeper Still retreat where God restored my trust in other women, allowing me to develop lasting friendships. I also learned that it wasn’t because I was an older mom that I was unable to bond with my first son, but it was damage done to The Mother’s Heart, my mother’s heart. Before my healing, I didn’t realize that the abortion interrupted, or prevented the developing bond between my first son and me. I had felt that since I didn’t birth and bond with my first child, that I shouldn’t be allowed to have and take care of this one. During the retreat, God was gracious in revealing and healing this broken bond. I no longer see my oldest son through the eyes of shame and confusion, but through the eyes of love and pride.
Through the Deeper Still ministry, I know who I am, I have found my voice again, and I am silent no more. God has released me from the shame and guilt that I carried for these many years. This liberation has enabled me to share my experience with others as well as my two sons who were not only receptive and loving, but also excited and eager to be a part of anything related to Deeper Still. If you or someone you know has experienced the pain of abortion, please contact these people. Your life can be restored.