I distinctly remember the first Mother’s Day after I experienced my abortions. I can still picture the scene as me, my parents and my siblings loaded into the family minivan to head to church. As I think back to that gorgeous, Texas spring day, I can still see the sun shining brightly in the sky on that cloudless Sunday morning. I was 16 years old and couldn’t wrap my head around the aching that I felt in my heart that day. Of course, I didn’t talk about this feeling with anyone. My abortion experiences were a tightly guarded, shameful secret. So, to protect this secret I plastered a Texas-sized smile on my face and went about my day like everything was perfect! That perfect smile was pretty much how I handled every single Mother’s Day for about fifteen years.
I had believed the lie that I made a choice that was unforgivable and had no right to do anything other than “live with it”. I believed the lie that I had to be strong and silent in any suffering that I felt. I believed the lie that I had no “right” to hurt because I made the choice for abortion not once, but twice within a year of each other.
I’m not sure that my 16-year-old self could really identify or label what I was feeling that Mother’s Day, or any of those other days in the fifteen years after, but looking back now, I can easily identify those feelings. I felt empty. I felt broken. I felt lonely in a crowded room. I felt shame. I felt loss. I felt regret. I felt like if I were to acknowledge any of these feelings, I would crumble into a million pieces and then what…? I had willingly chosen this path. Nobody had forced me into that decision. What right did I have to be sad about my choices? Did it make me a hypocrite to regret my choice? What would people think of me if I shared about my pain in those experiences? Would they validate all my feelings of seeing myself as broken and dirty?
What I didn’t understand at the time was that even though I had chosen abortion and had never laid eyes on my babies, I was a mother. I felt loss and emptiness because my arms were empty. My arms were meant to hold those precious lives. My lips were meant to kiss their sweet cheeks. My eyes were meant to know every curve of their beautiful faces. My ears were meant to hear the melody of their laughter and their cries. My hands were meant to hold their chubby little fingers as they learned to walk. My heart was meant to feel every joy and pain that comes with being a mother. I had a void and it was very real.
In 2011, I made the brave choice to seek healing for my abortion experiences, and I gave it all to God! I allowed him to heal me, cleanse me, and forgive me. I came out of my hiding and laid bare before him, and God RADICALLY transformed my life! I gave myself permission to mourn the loss of what was meant to be and traded my sorrow for joy. For the first time in a very long time, I felt freedom! I had been healed and transformed and all it took was for me to surrender my guilt and shame at the cross. What sweet release there is when we truly experience the freedom that only Jesus Christ can offer us through an intimate relationship with him.
While this experience was transforming, I will never be fully healed until the glorious day that I stand face to face with our Heavenly Father and I am made new in eternity. There are still hard days when the Holy Spirit prompts me to dig deeper into an area of healing and Mother’s Day is absolutely one of those days that can be hard. While it is a day that I get to celebrate the gift of being a mother to my four children with me here on Earth, I also celebrate and remember the lives of my children in eternity. There are moments that I miss them terribly. I miss most that I will never get to celebrate the gifts and talents that God uniquely created both of them with.
But today, I find comfort in knowing that God has called me forgiven and redeemed and that one day my family will be WHOLE in eternity! If you have experienced an abortion, God loves you and desperately wants you to receive healing and redemption that only he can offer you. Our Heavenly Father’s arms are open and waiting for you. I encourage you to reach out to SuppportAfterAbortion.com to find a healing group. It’s never too late to talk about your abortion experience and pursue the healing God desires for you. If you have already walked through an abortion recovery group, never stop pursuing your healing with God!