I was 16 years old.
I was given a new name and then I was drugged. I didn’t like the IV. My dad held my hand but I started to get really fidgety. They upped my drug dosage and wheeled me away. I was so cold, so they gave me a blanket. I counted backwards from 100…99…98…
The end of my first baby’s life.
It was always weird for me when I was pregnant with my first born, because people would always ask, “Is this your first?” I hated that question. I didn’t know how to answer.
“Um, no, I killed my first baby, this will be my second.” That wouldn’t work. “My first is in heaven.” That won’t work either, people will think I miscarried. I landed on, “This is my husband and I’s first.”
It’s been 23 years since I had my abortion. Even though I have been forgiven and set free from the bondage I was once in, the memories of that time in my life and my fateful decision still hurt so deeply upon remembrance.
I’ll never forget when I called to tell my dad I was pregnant. He was so kind and loving towards me. I’ll also never forget the words out of my grandmother’s mouth when I told her the same thing, “I’ll take care of it.” What? “No, I’m keeping the baby.”
Three months later she had “it” taken care of.
The three months I was pregnant when I was 16 were probably the three hardest months of my life. I was very sick, I felt very alone, and I was being torn in directions I wasn’t prepared for. Everyone had a solution to my “problem,” but no one wanted to hear mine. I wanted to keep the baby…at first. I figured I could get married and start a family. After talking with others and them telling me how I would miss such important things if I had a baby, like prom, I thought it would be better if I gave the baby to someone who couldn’t have children. Nope, people didn’t like that idea either. During this time, my mom totally checked out of the situation. She almost became numb to the whole thing. She had her own demons to deal with and couldn’t handle mine. My dad, a wonderful father, had decided that abortion probably was the better choice. I don’t think he really believed that, but he had pressures of his own. One person in my life even wanted the baby for themselves, but I couldn’t bear that person raising my child. Did I mention that my grandmother, who I thought was my “best friend,” stopped talking to me during this time? She wouldn’t even look at me. The final straw was when my other grandmother came to visit me. She convinced me that having an abortion really would be the best decision. She spoke to me so kindly and she showed me love. I was desperate for any signs that I was lovable at that point, so I agreed right then and there to have an abortion.
I went to see the doctor who would perform the abortion. He had the nerve to tell me,”only a fool makes the same mistake twice.” He seemed so wise…I wonder how many mistakes he’s performed over his lifetime.
The night before the “procedure” I asked the baby to forgive me. I held my tummy and cried.
The day arrived and my dad accompanied me to the hospital. Yes, the hospital, not the local abortion clinic. The doctor thought I would do better being at a hospital where I could be totally put out…drugged to unawareness. He even had my name changed so there would be no record that I had an abortion…I did have a fairly prominent family. That afternoon I didn’t have an abortion, Sandy Charles did. Sandy Charles gave up hope that day…Sandy Charles let them stick a needle in her arm, drugs in her veins, and a murderer into her private domain. Sandy Charles offered her baby up for slaughter.
I slept for two days. When I woke up I was at my grandmothers, the one who wouldn’t speak to me before but was now serving me toast with a smile. I had moved in with her…it was better that way. I ate the toast. Nothing was ever spoken about my abortion. It was a new day. It was like it never happened.
Under the fierce fluorescent
she offered her hand for me to hold
she offered stability and calm
and i was crushing her palm
through the pinch-pull wincing
my smile unconvincing
on that sterile battlefield that sees
my heart hit absolute zero
It was my senior year of college. Tears were pouring down my face as I fell to my knees sobbing, crying out to the Lord, “what is wrong with me?! I am at the bottom and can’t go any lower. Please help me.” Darkness crept all over my spirit and I was worn down. My eyes were going dim and my bones could barely hold up my flesh. I was in a pit of despair.
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry…”
I wanted to be a counselor and I needed some experience for my resume. I knew of a little place about two blocks from my apartment that might give me an internship. As I read over their application, one of the questions struck me, “What do you know about abortion?” I thought to myself, “nothing…hmmm…I better get a book on it.” Yes, I was that detached. I found a book called Forbidden Grief, The Unspoken Pain Of Abortion and set out to read it so I would be able to write an answer to the application question. I went to a little coffee shop, sat in a cushy chair with my notebook and pen all ready to take notes. That day, however, ink didn’t fill the paper, tears did. I came face to face with my hidden pain.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire…”
I went back to the little place two blocks from my apartment. It just so happened to be a crisis pregnancy clinic. It also just so happened to be a place that had a wonderful, kind, gentle and loving woman who counseled post-abortive women. I told her, “I think the Lord wants me to deal with my abortion.” She took me under her wing as we went through the bible study, Forgiven and Set Free. She gave me a safe place to unabashedly experience all of my emotions – denial, anger, depression…(yes, I was a perfect example of the stages of grief). I was able to admit my sin, mourn my loss, and accept forgiveness and grace. I finally felt like my feet were beginning to be planted on something…someone real.
“He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand…”
I can hug women. Ha! I know that sounds funny, but that is one of the ways I was healed. Part of my pain included a mistrust of women and if one tried to hug me, even a friend, I got stiff. I was so walled up. Now, if you ever meet me, please give me a great big hug and I will melt. I am also able to watch pro-life commercials and not leave the room. I can smile when I see little children instead of tear up. I can fully embrace my own children, knowing that it’s okay to enjoy them, God isn’t going to punish me for my sin of abortion – Jesus Christ already took that punishment for me on the cross. I am free. You know what else? I can tell my story. I am covered in grace and protection…I am loved and forgiven. The shame I once carried lies at the foot of the cross; Satan has no power over me. God is the only one who has the authority to tell me who I am…and I am His.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40: 1-3
As a sort of addendum, I want to share a beautiful and profound thing that God did for me. One of the things I really wanted to know was the sex of my baby so I could name them. The Lord gave me a dream. In my dream a blond haired, bright blue eyed boy about seven or eight years old was hugging me and telling me it was okay. I kept telling him I was sorry, but he just kept saying it was okay and he’d see me again one day. His name was David.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3