Facing the Truth

By Tricia Goyer
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
How do you tell your kids about a painful decision from your past?

It was a story I did not want to tell. But as Sanctity of Life Sunday approached, my pastor asked me to share my story with the church — the story I had kept secret for many years. My abortion story. And while I understood this message could help other women find forgiveness, I also knew it meant I’d have to tell my kids — something I dreaded.

My kids were ages 10, 7 and 5. Although I was their mom, I thought they’d hate me when they knew the truth. After all, just how do you tell your kids that they’d have another brother or sister if it weren’t for their mom’s bad decision?

John and I prayed about how to tell our children. We knew that although they’d heard the word abortion before, they most likely didn’t understand what it was. Since they were still young, they didn’t need to know details. We also wanted them to know why many women terminate their pregnancy — because of fear, worry or pressure from other people.

A few days later, my husband and I explained to our kids that abortion meant a woman did not want to be pregnant and had an operation to end the life of her baby. I could tell from my kids’ faces that they were horrified. John shared why a woman might do this, and they expressed sadness for those women. Then, with tears in my eyes, I told them my story.

When sin is allowed to grow

With a shaky voice, I explained that when I was in high school, I had become pregnant. I said that when I visited a clinic, the workers told me it really wasn’t a baby yet and that everything would be better if I had the procedure. I told my kids that I had always wanted to be a mom, but I was afraid of having a baby as a 15-year-old. I was worried about what people would think.

I told my kids that I wanted to believe that what the clinic worker said was true because it seemed like an easy way out. So I ignored the nagging voice in my head that told me I was ending a life. After the abortion, I was heartbroken and numb. It took many years for the emotional pain to go away.

John and I also explained that I had not been following Jesus, and I had wanted things my own way. I read James 1:14-15 to my children: “But your own evil longings tempt you. They lead you on and drag you away. When they are allowed to grow, they give birth to sin. When sin has grown up, it gives birth to death” (NIrV). In this case, my sin led to the death of their brother or sister. My kids listened, and I could see sadness on their faces.

Finding forgiveness

Months after my abortion, I saw a woman wearing a Precious Feet pin on her sweater. When I commented about it, she told me that her pin represented the size of the feet of a 10-week-old fetus. I knew then that my baby had a body, feet, hands and a beating heart. The reality of my decision became clear. Overwhelmed with guilt, I became self-destructive and made more bad decisions.

But when I was 17, I accepted Jesus. I realized I’d been making wrong choices, and I asked God to do something with my life.

I told my kids I had asked Jesus to forgive me. I asked for their forgiveness, too, for ending the life of the sibling they’d never know on earth.

It only took a few seconds for three sets of arms to wrap around me. “It’s OK, Mom. We love you, and we forgive you!” they told me.

It was like a dam broke within my soul. For so long this secret had been swelling against the wall I had built. Sharing the truth, and seeing they still loved me, made my chest light and warm. Tears spilled as I held them in my arms. As a mom, the last people I wanted to disappoint were my kids.

Their hurt was evident. But their love was even greater.

Sharing the story

Whenever my children brought up the subject, whether it was weeks, months or even years later, we would talk about it. A few times they told me about friends who asked them about what I’d shared at church, and they were able to explain my story. Later, when I told my story to other groups, I shared with my kids how my story helped those who needed to know about Jesus’ forgiveness, too. We would talk about how God could use even the painful stuff in our lives to help others.

When my daughter was 16, she returned from a youth social gathering and told me that the subject of abortion came up.

“Mom, many of them said that a woman should have a choice,” she reported, “but then I told them your story.”

My daughter had shared with her peers about my heartache and pain. “Many women do not know what they are choosing, and they suffer for years afterward,” she told them, “just like my mom.”

Originally, keeping my secret seemed like the right thing to do, but sharing my experience has allowed others, my children included, to better understand decisions and consequences — and the truth about pain, loss and regret.

Should you share your secret?

Some sensitive events from the past may not be appropriate for young children. Consider the nature of the secret and the child’s age and maturity. Focus on the Family counselor Daniel Huerta has written an article titled “Your Past, Your Kids: the Conversation” and addresses how to broach sensitive subjects with children.

Focus on the Family has resources and counseling to help you and your family. You can contact us during normal business hours at: (800) A-FAMILY (232-6459) or [email protected]. Or you can find resources, referrals and articles to help you right now.

Tricia Goyer is the author of 25 books and has written over 300 articles for national publications. Her book for teen moms, Life Interrupted, was a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award in 2005.


Copyright © 2011 by Tricia Goyer. Used by permission.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a best-selling, award-winning author of more than 50 books, including contemporary and historical novels and non-fiction titles offering hope and encouragement. She has also published more than 500 articles and appeared on numerous national TV and radio programs. Tricia regularly contributes to several blogs for Christian moms and homeschooling parents in addition to her own. She is …

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.