I just finished reading the blog ‘Do I look like a baby killer?’ by fieldwork in stilettos, Kate Richter. It caused me to think of my past, the present and my future. The author speaks of being misidentified as someone heading into planned parenthood for an abortion, when her real reason is to routinely pickup her birth control pills.This made me reflect on my experiences, in Planned Parenthood, but I was never there to pick up pills. This was what my experience was like.
When I was 18 years old, I walked into a planned parenthood facility in New York City with the sole purpose of having an abortion, I walked into the same office at the age 19, for my second abortion, and had my 3rd abortion when I was 21 years old, in a facility in downtown Los Angeles. I remember lying to the assistant, on my third pregnancy in regards to how far along I was, for fear they would not do the procedure.They did it anyway, and it was painful.
Even under the sedation I could feel the scraping of the walls of my uterus. and the sound of the vacuum sucking out the remains of “the blob” similiar to a mucousy membrane is what I had been told , and had immediately convinced myself of such. .
My first waking memory from that sedation, was the sound of someone crying , I wondered who it was, while the nurse yelled from across the room “Be quiet!, you’re scaring all the other women!”. I realized when the nurse stood over me and glared, that I was the one crying, and that desolate sound was coming from deep inside of me. Even in my dazed state I immediately started apologizing for my crying,and for causing a disturbance.Not fully realizing the “real disturbance” had already taken place inside of my womb.
The evidence of this would be discovered after my third abortion when the Dr. told me, if I continued to have abortions,because of all the scraping that I could run the risk of bleeding to death. And because their was massive scarring, on the walls of my uterus, it would be difficult for a viable embryo to attach itself to the actual wall.It would most likely result in a miscarriage. This also took place at a Planned Parenthood facility. This time in downtown LA, the room was packed with women wearing these flimsy gowns, all waiting to be called to get our blood drawn before we went under the anestesia. I remember sitting there with all these women at least 30 in the room,feeling extremely vulnerable.It was right then that two Mexican men who were part of the hospital cleaning staff, decided to take their lunch break in the same room with all of the women. I watched as they unpacked their lunch and ate it in front of us, laughing and gobbling up all the women,with their eyes I felt sorry for the ones that wore robes that were to small ,that didn’t cover them completely, I knew they felt vulnerable as well . While the two men chortled and spoke to one another in garbled Spanish, I silently brewed at with indignation. I wanted to stand up and scream at the them, but the only time I stood was when they called my number to get my blood drawn. and I walked silently to the station.
The fourth time I got pregnant, I had an trip to the hospital, emergency room due to shooting pains in my Uterus.They checked my falloppian tubes for a possible ectopick pregnancy.I remember telling the male nurse that I had three previous abortions and I was considering having another one. He spoke snidely to me ‘that abortion is not a form of contraceptive’. I remember being angry at him, but said nothing out loud.I felt I was being admonished and violated at the same time.
Later I was sent downstairs for an ultrasound to find the location of the embryo in my womb. When a heart beat was detected on the monitor, the female nurse asked me if I would like to see it. A short shrilly sound escaped from my mouth, and I told her ‘No’.as I turned my eyes away from the monitor. I thought to myself ‘ if I don’t see it ,it’s not real’. But in that moment, I knew my denial had caught up with me, and so had my conscience,I could not convince myself any longer that it was ‘a small blob’. Reality was beginning to set in loud and clear,this was a fetus, it had a heartbeat, it was alive, and it was inside of me.
I was still scheduled,that week to go have an abortion in downtown LA. But my mind was not easily playing along. Days earlier I had talked to the receptionist at the office, she had a sweet understanding voice, her name was Pat,and she kept telling me ‘just come in’. Now I was standing in front of her desk filling out an form for another abortion. But ever since the ultra sound with the heart beat I was disturbed.I was so afraid of being pregnant and the thought of raising a child,completely overwhelmed me. I had never considered any other options, I had always had abortions in the past, but this time it was different.
As I sat there in that office with my boyfriend. Filling out the form, the greatest thing happened, Ms.honeyvoiced Pat got called away from her desk and into the back room. I sat there with my form completely filled out ,all I had to do was hand it in as soon as she returned, while I waited I looked across the room at the only other young couple sitting,no, clinging to each other, they looked more frightened then me.he was wearing a gold chain , and she was sobbing. five minutes turned into ten, and as I sat there the words of what a doctor, had said to me,came to my remembrance ,about the risk of my death, if I had another abortion.Those words played out in my head, and Pat had still not returned .
Ironically, it was the risk of me losing my life that caused me to stand up and crumple up that form and leave that office that day. not the idea of this unborn child losing it’s life if I proceeded.That’s the selfish truth. Even though I did not know God at that time, I thank God Pat did not return to her desk,and I thanked Him for that selfish fear that catapulted me out of that office. It was as if, I saw myself like an animal being led to the slaughter, I would have fallen into familiar step, handed her my form,and allowed myself to be led away, I saw myself laying down but never getting back up. Call it a premonition, call it a vision, I call it divine intervention.I made the decision that day to choose life not death, and I have lived to never regret that decision, and so has my beautiful daughter who is now 21 years old and she is my greatest achievement, and my finest reward.
I have since come to terms with my past decisions,and through counseling acknowledge the fact that I assisted in ending the lives of three of my children. One of the things that is not mentioned at Planned parenthood is that often the decision to abort a child leads to other complications,like post traumatic abortion syndrome.It is real, it’s what happens after you have had the abortions, it’s living with yourself and your decisions,and it’s consequences . I hid the truth and suffered silently, it wasn’t a miscarriage, it was an abortion so I didn’t tell anybody,it was intentional, but no one comforts you over your loss, it’s not something you talk about.
The loss is registered internally it causes physical ailments,often in the abdomen,or lower back,in the digestive system,etc.as well as emotional or mental anguish quite often in the form of depression.Through the years I often found myself counting to see how old my children would be compared to other people’s kids. I came to realize my decision did affect other people. For example: I had robbed my own Mother of ever seeing,or having a relationship with three of her grandchildren.memories that were never made, and stories she never got to tell.As well as other members of my family, not to mention the men that I was with were robbed of their child.Whether they realized it or not.
All of this can weigh very heavy on your soul. But Planned Parenthood doesn’t tell you that either. One the night I decided I would commit suicide, my daughter was only 2 years old, I was living with her Dad and they were both asleep in the bed next to me.Even though I loved them both,it was not enough, to keep me.
The only thing that saved me from myself, was I when I cried out to God,and said ‘God, of you are out there, and if you are real, come into my life,and fill these voids that are so deep, no man can fill, no amount of sex can fill, nor drugs can fill, that only You can if you are real. I asked God to fill up these empty spaces,and cracks deep inside of me.’ and if You do, I said ‘ I will not say it is chance or fluke I will attribute it to You, I will know you,are real, and I will connect every dot to You’. I made a deal with God that night, and I asked Him to prove himself over the next two weeks!, that night I slept for the first time in a long tim in peace, and when I awoke, the room seemed brighter,I didn’t wake up depressed I was actually happy and this was something new.
God continued to show me over the next two weeks how much He cared about me,He filled me up and lifted the darkness of depression that had hung like a cloud over me. And He has continued to shine His love on me ever since.The amazing thing was all the guilt I had been carrying specifically about my decisions to have three abortions,was completely gone, and I knew that only God could have done that.Because I was completely forgiven,even when I told other Christians this, they couldn’t forgive me, But I didn’t care because I knew that God forgave me. My guilt, my shame and self condemnation was taken away, and peace took it’s place. That’s how the voids in me got filled, and that’s how my cracks healed over time.
Today,I know my future is bright, and I know one day I will see my three children in heaven, because I know that is where they are right now. Because they were fearfully and wonderfully knit together in my womb,and that my soul knows very well. They are in the fullness of their youth and in the presence of the giver of Life. I once was blind but know I see. I’m no longer in denial, I know the truth and I know that I am completely forgiven in Christ. And I choose Life.