During the month of October, the Church celebrates Respect Life Month. Beginning this week, The Pilot will present several reflections offered by women who have found healing from the pain of abortion through the post-abortion ministry, Project Rachel.
These women have offered to write about their experiences in the hope that other women and men who have suffered in the aftermath of an abortion will come to know the same peace and healing of God's divine and tender mercy. Due to the nature of the subject, the names of the authors have been withheld.
Five years after my husband and I got married, we wanted to start a family. I was pregnant right away. A wonderful joy came over me and I was extremely happy.... But then something terrible happened. My husband thought I was behaving strangely and took me to the doctor. She hospitalized me for observation. It was like a living nightmare. In the hospital I was told that I was not pregnant. I was given strong antipsychotic medications. One night, four staff members came and physically restrained me in a bed with leather belts over my wrists and ankles. When they left, they locked the door from outside. I thought I was put there alone because I was told my pregnancy was only in my mind and that my thoughts were a part of my psychotic situation. But the hospital made a big mistake. Now I know that while locked alone and tied to a bed, a second heart was beating in my body. I was indeed pregnant. Then the hospital released me.
"Abortion," I said to my husband, "as soon as possible and nothing else." It was the first trimester of my pregnancy and I knew my child would most likely be mentally disabled because of the medications I had to take. I did not want a mentally disabled child. We walked into the abortion facility and everything went fast. Soon after, I went back to work. My husband and I have not talked ever since about our abortion.
More than 15 years went by. We raised three children. To the outside world, we were a normal family. But I was a miserable person inside and I did not know why. My husband often annoyed me. We argued and could not stand each other. He called me a sick person and he wished he never had married me. I called him names back. I was hospitalized, at one point in three different hospitals within a four month period. When I left the hospitals, I was usually depressed and it took me a while to get back on my feet.
In the last hospital I was allowed to keep my radio. There was not much to do so I listened to EWTN from the mornings to the evenings. I learned about the Project Rachel and the effect an abortion can have on a woman. I also learned that a man is affected by the loss of his unborn child through abortion. On the last day of my hospital stay I felt like I was "graduating," although I did not know from what. But I was ready to do the next thing. While it took me another year or so, I signed myself up to attend a Project Rachel retreat. First I thought I might not be qualified. I thought they might think I am hopelessly ill or that I might be too old.
If I were asked how the retreat went, I would say it was peaceful and glorious. It was the beginning of something. I learned at the retreat to surrender all the plans I had for myself. I learned that if I trust God with all my heart, he will take care of me. I also learned at Project Rachel that I am grieving; that it is all right to grieve, and that I am allowed to grieve as long as it takes. I started a relationship with my unborn child in Heaven by just talking to him. I put Jesus Christ into the center of my life and I learned if I want to work for God, I have to work at fixing my marriage. I realized that I had separated myself spiritually and mentally from my husband. And so I started. I read again what we heard on our wedding day: "... above all have love, which is the bond of perfection...clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another...." and there is more to read from the letter of Paul to the Colossians.
Project Rachel opened a door for me. It was the door that brought me on a road of healing and I never want to walk another road.
The author's name has been withheld to protect confidentiality.