When I became involved with the Entering Canaan post abortion ministry, it was not long before I recognized many similarities between the way the older women discussed their emotional traumas and my own mother’s behavior. Over the months, I began to feel that there was more of a connection than the mere proximity of age and socio-economic status of these women to my mother.
Since I was a young child, in fact, for as long as my memory exists, my mother has been horribly plagued by depression. So much so that there have been entire portions of my childhood where she was hospitalized or so heavily medicated and affected that she was completely dysfunctional. She would often spend entire days in bed, leaving us, as children, to our own devices. The picture began to replay itself in my mind as I listened to the stories of older women who suffered the guilt of terminating their pregnancies and a curiosity grew about my own mother.
I am a forty-one year old post-abortive man. The termination of my child’s life took place sixteen years ago. My mother never knew about the abortion and, like so many post-abortive parents, I have not shared the secret with many people outside of the safety of the ministry. One Saturday last year, I sat with my mother and shared my story of guilt with her. She was so moved that she shared her story with me.
I am the youngest of three children. Between my mother’s pregnancy with my older brother and with me, there was a fourth child. It was the early 1960’s and my mother was a young mother of two children already with an ambitious husband who was not at home much to help with the children. When she suspected that she was pregnant again, she went to her doctor and expressed an inability to deal with another pregnancy so soon. Her doctor gave her an injection which was supposed to bring on her menstrual cycle. When her menstrual cycle did not start, she returned to her doctor. He told her that he wanted to examine her and as he did so, she said that she felt a sharp pinch and asked him what he was doing. Without discussing it with her, he had pulled the developing embryo from her uterine wall, aborting the pregnancy.
Her mental and physical well-being deteriorated steadily from that point on. Two years later, I was born. Though I never felt any lack of emotional nurturing from my mother, she was never fully with us. She eventually came under the care of several psychiatrists and was hospitalized numerous times during my youth. My sister and brother and I spent large blocks of time being cared for by our grandparents and we did suffer some neglect, though nothing so serious that it posed any kind of a threat. We missed our mother and the abortion took her and our sibling from us.
She is not ready to discuss this episode of her life with anyone. She told me that she divulged it to one psychiatrist whom she trusted. Knowing that she was a Catholic, he recommended that she confess it to a priest. She did and she received absolution, however, it was not enough for her. She has since dwelled upon the sin and never healed. She will not come with me to the Entering Canaan ministry’s Day of Prayer and Healing. She is not ready.
Abortion hurts women, it hurts families and it destroys lives. My undeveloped sibling had his or her short existence destroyed. The tragedy is multiplied manifold by the destruction of my mother’s health and my family’s loss of having a whole person to raise us. I have no hatred or resentment for my mother, as I am sure that she worried would be the case. I cannot judge her, having committed the act myself, knowingly and with premeditation. I grieve for her loss, so great and unfathomable. A lifetime swept away with guilt, wasted and unforgiven. I pray for peace and quiet to embrace her soul and the soul of my lost sibling and I pray for their joyous reunion in an eternity of love and forgiveness. Meanwhile, I wait for her, in His time, to accompany me on my journey of redemption.