darkness into light
When I was a teenager, I thought abortion was wrong, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, other than prove I could handle it on my own. When I met an older, married man, I let myself fall into a relationship. I gave in to the pressure for sex, and while I used birth control, I was not thorough.
When I found out I was pregnant, it was a month after the father’s wife died from a long illness. It was clear I had gotten pregnant before she had died. The father’s response was “You need to get an abortion.”
I was deeply ashamed. I desperately wanted it all just not to be real.
I went to Planned Parenthood. The woman reminded me abortion was legal. Then, without ever coming closer than the other side of the desk, she diagnosed me with a tubal pregnancy and told me I could die. She gave me information about the abortion clinic and told me I should make the appointment quickly.
I wanted a different answer, so I went to a “real” doctor, but he confirmed I was pregnant. Then he told me he didn’t do abortions. But he didn’t tell me WHY he didn’t do abortions.
I didn’t talk to anyone else. I was desperate to hide my shame.
I made the appointment and the father drove me to the clinic. It was filled with miserable, silent people. It cost my entire life savings. The nurse didn’t make any effort to talk with me. When I was on the table and the doctor started the procedure, I cried and told him it hurt and to stop, that I didn’t want to do this. He spoke the only words he ever said to me: “You should have thought of that before”. I got sick and threw up. The nurse who had to hold the little basin yelled at me.
In the recovery room, the silence was replaced with crying.
Later, all I felt was relief. It was all over. Like an eraser. Now, no one would know. I could go on with my life. Then, while goofing around, the father swung me around, with his arms around my waist. I felt a gush of blood, and my relief was crushed.
We got married. I felt like used goods. On our honeymoon I got pregnant again. But. This time it was all okay. I was married. I didn’t have anything to hide now.
Except the depression. And the nightmares. And the fear. And the suicidal thoughts. I became convinced God was going to punish me for the abortion by taking this child away. The nightmares increased.
The baby was born, healthy. I didn’t understand why. I functioned in daily life, but at night, I would stand in the dark, looking out the window, crying. I would look at the other windows with lights, and wish I was behind any of those windows – instead of mine. I couldn’t let anyone find out what a horrible person I was, so I isolated myself.
What was supposed to be an eraser; hadn’t erased anything at all and it was destroying me from the inside.
My sister-in-law collapsed with an aneurysm. She was put on life support, but she had no measureable brain activity. She was declared legally dead and the life support removed. My 14 year old niece was hit by a car. She was put on life support, but she had no measureable brain activity. She was declared legally dead and the life support removed. My child had measureable brain activity, but he was not considered legally alive. The woman at Planned Parenthood told me it was just a blob of tissue. But blobs of tissue don’t have functioning brains. And hearts. And fingers. And toes. A baby at six weeks gestation does.
I believed God could never forgive me, but I was so desperate, I went to church. There, I found hope that God could forgive me; that He wasn’t sitting up on His throne, with a lightning bolt in His hand, aimed at me. I began to let myself grieve my child. I met a couple other women who had had abortions, and we learned of a Bible study called Forgiven & Set Free.
Once I accepted that God could forgive me, I began to move past my shame. I began to see how He was able to turn that darkness into light. Without God’s mercy and grace, I do not know if I would even be alive today. I would certainly not be standing in front of you now.
Psalm 103 says: Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, Praise the Lord, O my soul.
What I once hid in shame, I will expose to the light.
~ Laura Brown,