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My Choice ... My Private Sorrow
Not a day goes by that I don't think about the child that would have been 21 years old this new millennium year, 2001. February 29 was the day I chose. I fooled myself into thinking that if I only had to live through that day once every four years I could go on as if nothing had ever happened. I was wrong.
As a child I had accepted Christ as my Savior and I was raised in the perfect surroundings: middle class suburbia, in a home where we'd go to church all the time, sing in the choir, go to visitation, you know, doing all the right "things". Through a series of bad choices and bad circumstances, I found myself far away from my Heavenly Father. When I told my parents of my pregnancy, my father said that as soon as I started showing I'd have to leave home because he didn't want shame and embarrassment brought on the family. He encouraged me to get an abortion because that was "best". Instead of supporting me, my mother just looked at me and went along with my father's suggestion.
The baby's father didn't want it either, and along with my parents encouraged me to get an abortion, even offering to pay for it. He said he loved me but didn't want our child, the precious gift of our love for each other. Before I discovered my pregnancy I had undergone surgery, and medications were given that compromised the health of my unborn child and greatly complicated matters. In quiet desperation, I reasoned with myself and rationalized away the choice I made - thinking no one wants this baby but me, and I have no means to care for it, especially with the probability that it would have special needs ... I have no college degree, a minimum wage job, and nowhere to go. What was best was to send my baby on to be with my Heavenly Father. He would love and care for my child as I could not, and it would know none of the pain and heartache of this world.
The clinic said it would be a simple procedure - very little pain - after all, it wasn't a baby yet, not really. They didn't tell me that there had been a heartbeat and brainwaves since before I even knew I was pregnant. The pain was unimaginable, seemingly without end. Not only was the baby being torn from my body, but my heart was also being ripped apart. I had done the unthinkable. Something inside me died that day ... my hope, my innocence, my self-worth ... and all I felt was shame and sorrow.
I cried on the way home, and my mother said, "Why are you crying? You have no right to mourn the loss of a child you chose to destroy." That day I shut and locked the door of my heart, closing out the world and turning my back on the wounds there and the pain that would know no soothing.
For many years, I was able to ignore the pain. I got my life back on track with God, seeking His forgiveness and cleansing - moving on with my life, marrying and having children, busying myself with church work, and making the loving God-centered home I had always wanted. But with several miscarriages, the reality and pain of my choice could no longer be ignored. I had accepted God's forgiveness for me, but I had not forgiven myself, my parents, or the baby's father. I had never allowed myself to grieve, and I had never really felt worthy to receive His love and forgiveness for my choice. God showed me that I had to grieve and forgive myself and the others involved before He could really work in my life again. I had to stop trying to prove to Him that I was good enough, and just accept His love and His grace and healing.
He showed me many things from His Word that brought hope, comfort, and peace to my soul. When I finally unlocked the door of my heart again, God was able to flood my soul with His peace and love, mercy and grace. For the first time in many years I felt truly free to be all that He created me to be. I will always have to live with my choice, but I can now counsel others to make a better one and point them to the One who loves them beyond measure, no matter what they have done.
Is there an end to my story? Not really. The sadness will always be there ... the regret, the "if onlys" ... but amidst the sorrow the Lord has granted freedom; and through His loving kindness and tender mercy, I can find His peace and joy in living the rest of my days, knowing that He loves me as I am, and that some glorious day I will see the faces of my children and my Lord. What a day of rejoicing that will be!