When the Past Becomes Present

written by: Serina

edited by : Cassie Argento

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

This topic is on abortion… One that I had buried for many years and is very personal to me. I realize the sensitivity swarming around this topic and I respect each and every one of you who have gone through it, or are considering it. I am simply coming from a personal standpoint that reflects my feelings and the experiences that only I am aware of. This is my abortion experience that I hope will encourage and help many woman facing post-abortion, or those who are still on the fence. I am praying for you all right now as I write this.

The media is colored with arguments of the connection between healthcare and abortion and of women’s choice. We are surrounded by political, religious, and even economic opinions about this subject every day. It’s easy to form our opinions based on those outside sources, rather than our strong personal feelings and beliefs about the value (or non-value) of human life.

Pro-Something

I grew up in a strong Christian home but was half-in, half-out of my Christian walk, as I never fully allowed myself to grow a nurturing relationship with God. I just didn’t understand it completely, I guess. I dated, modeled, and partied. I met my (now) husband in 2008 and we were on and off until my son was born in 2012. 

But in between that time, we had been pregnant with our first. If you are one of those people who feel “connected”, then you can understand when I say that I “felt” it was a girl. But I wasn’t ready. The idea was fun to think about, though. We went to ultrasounds and tossed names around. My husband was on board for whatever decision I’d make. My horrible health choices at the time played a significant role in my body’s reaction to a baby and I was genuinely scared that I was hemorrhaging from the inside. Or some horrific catastrophe was about to take place. I didn’t know much detail about conception and fetal development and the beginning of life – and I didn’t want to know, for fear that “knowing” would haunt me and my decision. I just knew that my fear of dying from internal bleeding, coupled with my fear of losing all of my modeling gigs, was more powerful. I knew I wasn’t “Pro-Choice,” but I also knew I was skinny and my modeling career was just about to take flight. So my husband and I made the decision to drive to the clinic. Twice. The first time, I walked in, sat down, and cried that I couldn’t do it. And walked out. We went back to his home. The next day, we went back and had the procedure. 

The Procedure

Because I didn’t want to know much more than getting rid of the feeling of pain (which ended up just being normal pregnancy feelings), I wanted to reassure myself I was doing to the right thing. The nurse sat me down and took my charts, blood pressure and other information. I asked her about her day and her family, and so on. She answered me softly and kept quiet. Then without looking at me, said, “My daughter cannot have children.” I am not sure why she said this. I asked her why she works in an abortion clinic. “We all need a job, right?” Her whole demeanor shifted. And then she led me to the waiting room where I was called shortly after. They had given me two Valium prior to the procedure. The other nurse who assisted the doctor said that they do this for all their patients who are emotional. She said the sedatives help ease the anxiety. I told the nurse how I was feeling, expecting some confirmation that I could very well be in danger. But all she said was that from the ultrasound she had the day before, that there was a fetus forming. She couldn’t explain the pains and as I was drifting on a cloud of sedatives. I recall the doctor and nurse saying, “Just a blood clot. That’s all!”, to which I said, “So there wasn’t a baby in there at all?!”

The nurse said, “Well I wouldn’t say that.”

Aftermath

The doctor quickly told me I would be just fine and I would experience normal menstrual bleeding within the next couple of days. It will be slightly heavier than usual and I would see clotting, but this was nothing to worry about as it’s perfectly normal after an abortion. Heeding the doctor’s advice and knowledge, I followed the nurse into a waiting room where other women sat for monitoring. They handed me peanut butter crackers and apple juice. I asked for more Valium to take home. They gave me double. 

I cried the whole way back to the house. We made a stop at the local natural food market to retrieve red raspberry leaf tea that is supposed to help with uterine function. For all I knew, it did its magic. I carried on with the life of modeling and without being interrupted by a child. I didn’t think about it much after that week. 

When the Past Becomes Present

I was 25 when I had an abortion. Until recently, I’ve spent the last 9 years telling myself that I’ll deal with the repercussions later, calling it a “procedure”, and that I was having unusual pains unrelated to pregnancy. After having my son, I realized what I knew and experienced then wasn’t at all what I thought or was actually the case. I didn’t know enough about “the procedure”, of conception and birth, and of the stages of life in the womb. Until now. I spent a great deal of time letting time cover that gaping hole with memories of my growing boy, leaving her hollow spirit unearthed. Until now. 

I went into pregnancy/post abortion counseling as a way to encourage moms and families in their prenatal journey. I wanted to be encouraging, as I was encouraged by my local pregnancy care clinic during my own pregnancy with my son during that time. I was very much involved in that center and I wanted to give back now. As I began to train and study, I realized I had years of unfinished business to take care of for myself. While I was finally ready to admit I had an abortion and to forgive myself (forfeiting these two words from my lips), I soon realized that that wasn’t enough. My misinformation and blatant pride and naivety was no longer an excuse as I began to see where I faulted in my pregnancy crisis back then. 

The word “abort” means “to bring an end to something.” In the case of crisis pregnancy, to abort is ending the life beyond conception. I simply wasn’t willing to see past my then-”wants” in order to see the science behind this medical procedure. 

What I’ve Learned 

I’ve learned that the nurses and doctors believe in what they do. I know that some abortion clinic nurses and doctors believe that they need a job and are able to – much like myself! – cover over all personal beliefs and feelings. I have learned that the post-abortion menstruation and clotting were mixed with my 6 week old’s fetal parts. I’ve learned that my belief is much greater and deeper than “Pro-life” movements can ever go. It goes beyond the moment, opinions, scientific facts, and so on. 

I have learned that I could’ve lost the opportunity to conceive, like many women post-abortion. I have learned that my post-abortion after-effects were minimal in comparison to the many women who’ve suffered mental, emotional, and physically trauma. 

And lastly, I have learned that no matter where you’re at in your life, when you make a decision to have an abortion, the crisis is real. You are abruptly coming to a halt when you find out that you are pregnant. And the easiest, subtlest thing to do would be abortion, especially before the growth takes shape of a child and the guilt would be less to deal with, (if any at all). This was my thought. But what I later learned when I revisited my decision is that fetal development begins at conception. There is no “better” time to have an abortion that will lessen the feeling of loss or guilt. Like me and many other women who’ve experienced abortion, it catches up to us in a big way, whether through the eyes of your children, God’s gentle tug at your heart, or a history of complications following the procedure.

Abortion cuts to the core of the woman years later, who cannot understand why she feels so strongly about a month or day each year post-abortion… To the woman who now has one or several children and sees life in a whole new way…. To the women who have suffered from depression or anxiety and don’t know why. 

Or perhaps you are one of the lucky ones like myself who carried on without a visible scar. But one day you realized that crisis and that decision as much more, resulting in much more healing needed than you can imagine. I am with you. I am praying for you. I am writing this on the anniversary of my abortion, but with an entirely new perspective. When God formed you in your mom’s womb, He already knew your mistakes. He knew what the outcome of your choices would be. He mourns with you over the choice you’ve made. But you don’t have to carry this internal “scar” forever. All it takes is a whisper… “Heal me. Forgive me.” And that is exactly what He will do. That is what he longs to do for you..

Many struggle with the notion that they’ve altered their original “life course” or perhaps even their purpose, post-abortion. This thought may manifest years later, or even right after the procedure. Just know that when you come to God for that inner-healing, you are made NEW. It does not change the fact that you had an abortion, but it does release your destiny and your life trajectory to God, who can and will redeem your life, your purpose… your heart.

For those who have experienced abortion as people of faith, whether pre or post coming to faith, we sometimes think that this is something God just can’t, or won’t, somehow forgive. Our shame and regret keep us at arm’s length from experiencing the fullness of life we could have… and of forgiveness. This distance you may feel from God’s heart is something he feels too, but from yours. He is here. Waiting.

No one should go through this alone. I would love to pray with you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time.

God loves you.

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