Before I became a Christian, I would have listed Dirty Dancing as one my favorite movies. What was not to love? Romance. Hungry Eyes. Watermelon. This movie had it all. Or so I thought. I was blind to how the entire plot existed so that a young woman in crisis could have an abortion.
I was twenty-three when I had a pregnancy that ended in abortion. Except, there was no dancing romance happening in the background. Just two panicked people, rushing into what would be the most devastating choice of their lives.
Dillon and I, newly dating at the time, convinced ourselves it was the smart choice. I was already battling an autoimmune disease, and he had just started his dream job out of state. We told ourselves my body wasn’t strong enough to have a baby. Except, we didn’t call it a baby. I repeated to myself that it wasn’t a baby yet. It was just tissues forming. Abortion is just another form of birth control. I read on the abortion clinic’s website how abortion is safer than childbirth.
Did you know you can get a same day appointment for an abortion? It takes five hours to get inside an ER but at an abortion clinic they don’t want you to have any time to think.
On the day of the abortion, when I walked into the procedure room, I started to cry. Immediately, as if routine, the nurse handed me a tissue and then spoke. “You’d better stop that,” she warned me. “If the doctor sees you crying, he won’t do the procedure.”
Instead of compassion, she fed me more fear. Had she let me cry out, had I refused to hide my emotions, would my baby and I have left together? It makes me angry me to imagine how many other women were handed a tissue. Abortion is a carefully crafted assembly line.
I had wiped away the visible tears and I tried to look fine, to look as though I was confident in my choice. The doctor came into the room and told me to count backwards from ten. Oh, how the enemy must have cheered at his victory. He was going to have my life after this.
I woke up from the anesthesia screaming, crying out and grabbing my abdomen. I looked around in the recovery room filled with at least ten other women. What did I just do? It became oh, so clear the moment it was over. I wanted my baby back. This was a huge mistake. Why was I such a coward? But it was too late. Abortion is permanent. The promise of relief did not come. I didn’t feel relief to no longer be pregnant. I felt a deep, deep heartache.
My whole body shook so a nurse came over to ask what was wrong. What was wrong? I felt like yelling at her. What kind of place is this? What kind of people are you? What kind of person am I? What kind of stupid question is, what was wrong, wasn’t it obvious? Didn’t she know what I had just done?
I used to replay that day and imagine myself bolding walking out of the abortion clinic and grabbing the hands of the other women there. There were so many other women there. So many little lives taken.
For three years I silently suffered. I couldn’t talk about it to anybody, including Dillon. Occasionally I would get really sad, and he could tell something was wrong, but I kept my mouth shut and continued to let fear silence me. It was my own fault and suffering was a punishment I deserved. I went on with my life, got a teaching job, got an apartment. But the abortion never for a day didn’t come into my mind. Flashbacks controlled my thoughts and I spent so much time wishing I could go back and fix it.
It was a terrible and unsustainable way to be living. I didn’t know God at all. I didn’t grow up going to church or hearing God’s word. All I knew was what the world offered me. Which I was learning was not so great. I thought there was no way out of this grief I carried. I was convinced I’d have to live the rest of my life haunted by my past.
But then one day, a day I will forever be thankful for, I accepted an offer to go to church. I was living a very superficially happy life, but like many people, I had hidden hurts buried inside me.
I showed up at God’s house and God showed up. I got saved in church that day. I heard real truth preached for the first time and it shocked my body and soul. My heart changed that day. I knew God was with me in that church. I felt a special love wash over me and a strong peace fill me from inside. I knew I had been living life all wrong.
I was hooked and craved more. I started going to church. I starting reading the Bible. I listened to Joyce Meyer on my daily walks. I listened to Elevation Church’s podcast on the way home from work. Anything that encouraged and strengthen my faith. Anything that spoke hope.
Through all of that, God slowly starting working with me in areas of my life that needed fixing. I didn’t want to be a fake Christian so I knew I had to step out in faith and do what God was telling me to do. God immediately told me to stop sleeping with Dillon, still my boyfriend at the time, and to also tell him he was no longer allowed to stay over at my apartment.
I had honestly always wanted those two things. But in today’s world, we are told to test each other out, make sure it’ll last. We have to make sure we’re sexually compatible. What nonsense to hear now. So much of my life I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about my feelings and God was reteaching me how to express them in a way that is good.
As I’m sure you can imagine, telling Dillon those two things was not an easy discussion. But I didn’t approach that conversation alone. I brought God with me and Bible verses to back me up. Although with some hesitation, Dillon finally agreed. Or God spoke to Dillon and changed his heart just as He had done mine.
The next big thing God told me to confront was my true feelings about Dillon occasionally watching porn. I was never okay with it, but I’d figured all guys watch it, even nice guys. But that’s not true. Not all guys watch it. I told him how I really felt about porn, including movies or TV shows with graphic nudity. But way more importantly than what I feel, I told Dillon what the Bible says about lust. I was obedient to what God had told me to say to Dillon and I understood that the rest was out of my control. I spoke out about something I had been silent and accepting over in the past. God was teaching me how to voice my true opinion when the topic got complicated or unpopular.
God stayed with me as He worked with Dillon. I learned that I can trust God to help me win the battles He tells me to fight. After seeing God’s victory numerous times, I felt God telling me it was time to confront my darkest secret sin. The secret sin I didn’t dare mention. I had already confessed and repented of my abortion, but I could hear Him telling me to be fully healed, I needed to voice my hurts and share my story.
I had to first voice the pain of the abortion to Dillon. We had talked about it on and off over the years, but I never really said what I had needed to say. This came at an inconvenient time though because we had just gotten married. Happily ever after and abortion talk don’t mix.
I put it off. And put it off. And when I finally did start talking, it didn’t all come out great. It took us on an emotion driven rollercoaster for the first few months of our marriage. When the rollercoaster slowed down, we were happy and in love. I could accept God’s forgiveness, I could forgive myself, I could forgive Dillon… but then something would trigger my memory and instantly I went back to that day. Instantly I felt lifeless as I’d yell at Dillon, “Of all the things we could have done, we did the most absolute worst thing imaginable! How could we have been so stupid?”
And in my mind, I’d be glaring at him and thinking, How did you convince me to kill my baby? Why weren’t you a supportive man who owned up to his responsibility? If you would have told me to keep the baby, I would have. You never feel the pain I feel about it. I hate you and I hate myself. We don’t deserve to be living. Sex with you has caused me nothing but grief.
It seemed like a pointless battle. The flashbacks got worse and the yelling got louder. I couldn’t see a way out.
But God told me to trust and to keep going.
Once I had been vocal in the wrong way, it became easier to find the right words. I had to voice my true truth and not the truth I thought Dillon wanted to hear. We did an abortion Bible study together called Forgiven and Set Free. It was slow and painful.
Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of joy. – James 4:9
But God stayed faithful as we walked with Him. I had to let go of the anger. I had to let go of the what if. I made a decision to choose grace over guilt. I no longer have nightmares or flashbacks. My days and nights are not drenched with shame. I do not blame Dillon and our relationship is good. I have hope for the future.
He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. – Pslam 103:12
For a long time I felt like less of a woman for having an abortion. Liked I had an A etched onto my forehead. So while it is scary to share my story, God had promised to use it for good. I share my story because I know there are other girls and women who are just as naive as I was about abortion.
I’ve learned no amount of tears will allow me to go back in time and make the right choice. I can’t go back and save my baby. I can’t go back and be brave, but I can be brave now. I can help prevent other women from believing abortion’s lies. I can help save innocent lives. I can help point other women to true healing through God and His word.
I can speak out instead of staying silent.