How many abortions have you had?
What were your circumstances at the time of the abortion?
Almost 30 years ago I found myself pregnant and scared. I couldn’t confide in family or friends. I was raised a Catholic and my mother always told us not to come home pregnant and bring shame to the family. What other people thought was more important; image was everything.
I was living in Dublin and knew in my heart and soul that my family would never forgive me for bringing this disgrace upon them so I chose what I thought was the easiest way out. I had an abortion. I thought I could live with this terrible secret. How wrong I was.
Did anyone pressure you or coerce you to choose abortion?
My now husband of 28 years was the father, but he had no say in the decision I made. Alone, I made all the necessary arrangements and travelled to England with my partner. It was so lonely and I was so scared. I had no idea what was ahead of me or what devastating effect the decision would have on my future.
What was your immediate reaction after the abortion and how did you feel?
I buried the whole episode in the depth of my sub-conscious. My husband and I did not speak of the matter for nearly 30 years. It was not until we both attended an abortion recovery programme that we discussed the abortion for the first time since that day in England.
How has your abortion affected you?
Every now and then the abortion would surface from the depth of my sub-conscious to haunt me. No one knows the shame and guilt I felt – especially during the Abortion Referendum. Nowhere was safe. Everywhere I went people were talking about it.
We eventually got married and some time later I gave birth to a beautiful son. He was perfect and I loved him more than life itself. He was my whole life. Unfortunately that didn’t last very long – he was taken from me in a freak accident and I was left alone to punish myself yet again. I believed that God was chastising me for the bad decision I made years earlier.
I fell into a deep depression and from that time onwards I believed that I deserved every bad thing that happened to me in my life.
How has abortion affected others in your life and your relationship with others?
My relationship with my mother began to deteriorate because deep down I blamed her for my decision years earlier. If only she had been the type of mother whom I could depend on and turn to.
What’s surprising is that our marriage survived. From that day forward we never ever spoke of what had taken place. It was not until my husband and I attended an abortion recovery weekend together that I realised the extent that the abortion of our child had affected him too. I never knew the guilt and shame he felt all these years until he gave his version of the story.
What has helped you come to terms with your abortion?
A couple of months ago I attended a Mission and got talking to a wonderful Priest. I told him about my abortion and he encouraged me to attend an abortion recovery retreat.
Recently I spent a weekend with my husband at a weekend retreat, and for the first time in almost 30 years I can feel peace and hope in my life. Everyone there was in some way a victim of circumstance. The weekend is also for the family members and friends of those who have suffered abortions.
The room was consumed with so much pain and suffering only a person who had an abortion would understand. I was so overwhelmed when I arrived on the Friday that I almost fainted. My heart was so heavy with guilt: I couldn’t stop crying.
I spoke about my terrible secret after all these years and no one judged me or made me feel tainted. I believe I was blessed the day I began my abortion recovery. The whole experience of the weekend has changed my life ad made my relationship with my husband even stronger.
Based on your experience, what would you tell a woman considering abortion today?
Abortion had a devastating effect on my life. It caused me to become depressed, contributed to the deterioration of my relationship with my mother and put a strain on my marriage. Please re-consider what you think will be an easy way out. It will affect you for the rest of your life.
Another reason for writing this personal experience is to try and help others who have had abortions and think there is no one out there who understands. Help is available. There are others who feel the distress that you feel. Abortion recovery offers hope, inner peace and above all, healing.