When I was 16 years old I met a 21-year-old “man” and fell head over heels in love knowing that he felt the same. We became intimate shortly after because I felt sure I would be spending the rest of my life with him. After about a year of off-and-on dating, I became pregnant. I was so excited to have this child and be Mark’s wife. I just knew we would be an amazing family. Much to my surprise, Mark was not as happy as I was. Neither was my grandmother who had raised me “better” than that. When I was told that Mark wasn’t ready for this, the world came crashing down around me. The decision was made by my grandmother that I would have to terminate the pregnancy. I begged and pleaded no, but she insisted that if I was so religious, then I wouldn’t be pregnant to begin with.
The day came when I had my procedure. To this very day, I remember the date, the time, the sights, the sounds, the conversations around me and the feeling of desperation. I lay on the table praying that I wouldn’t make it through the day. I was never told that my body didn’t know the difference between terminating a pregnancy and delivering a child. All the things a woman’s body goes through after a natural delivery, it goes through after an abortion. But I was not allowed to tell anyone what had happened. Not even Mark. After the day I told him I was pregnant, I didn’t see him again for 25 years. He had no idea what I had done and was not aware of where I was or if he had a child or not.
I went from husband to husband trying desperately to fill the void in my life. At the age of 20, I became pregnant again and heard my wonderful daughter Karla’s heartbeat at eight weeks. I knew then what a horrible person I was and how undeserving I was of life in general. The Lord blessed me with three wonderful children but there was still a void. No one knew that I cried daily in the bathroom.
In 2009, I noticed that Mark was single again. I was a miserable person and also single once more. When we met again, I knew I belonged with him. We were married and our family joined together like it had always belonged. Our children came to know of our experience and showed us respect and comfort beyond belief. I saw that there was more to life than unhappiness and mourning. But even with Mark and I together again, the guilt began. I kept thinking, “Why couldn’t we have gotten married 20 years ago???”
We rededicated our lives to the Lord and I became involved with a Bible study for post-abortion at the Women’s Pregnancy Center (now the Empower Life Center). I had originally called the Women’s Pregnancy Center looking for a way to volunteer. The director told me about the Bible study. It’s amazing how God had that all planned. I was very nervous when I started attending the study because you don’t ever really know how people will treat you when they hear your story. During the Bible study, I realized that God had forgiven me long ago for what I had done, but it was I who hadn’t forgiven myself. I saw that there were many other women out there also hurting and just wanting someone to understand. I found comfort, forgiveness and grace that I never knew was possible.
There is healing, forgiveness, and wholeness in Christ. Satan wants to remind us what we have done, and there are still days when I think of our precious one in Heaven. But knowing she is in the arms of Jesus waiting for her family brings us comfort.
I would hope that we all realize there truly are two victims in abortion - a child’s life terminated and a mother’s life to be forever changed. But I also hope that as Christians, we can offer them the word of God and give them hope for a future.
As Mark and I and our family go through this life, we know that our precious Bella is waiting and offering her forgiveness. We have all been touched by abortion in some way or another. Millions of children are killed every year and another woman is suffering. We must offer hope. We must offer Christ.