Silent No More
The following is a true story from a friend who would like to remain anonymous. It is a very powerful testimonial and she is very brave to share it with the world.
In January of 2000, my mother called me at work sounding distressed. She said my 16-year-old cousin was pregnant. She’d been dating a 20-year-old man for a few months and planned to marry him. They did not, however, plan to have the baby. My uncle (her father) and several other family members were urging her to abort the baby – so that her life wouldn’t be disrupted. They were concerned that she needed to complete high school, etc. The reason she called me was that she wanted me to convince her not to go through with it. She knew I was the most “qualified” person in the family to talk to her.
When I was 17, I got pregnant by my high school boyfriend. I didn’t tell my family. My boyfriend and I decided on our own to have an abortion. I made the arrangements for a Saturday that I knew my mom and step-dad would be away. My boyfriend drove me and waited in the parking lot to drive me home. I had complications over the next couple of days. My heavy bleeding and cramping became unbearable, so I called my grandmother to take me back to the clinic. I don’t even remember what prescription they gave me. For all I know now, I should’ve had a D&C in the hospital. I seemed to recover. After roughly six months, I was pregnant again. This time, I wasn’t completely sure it was a baby by the same boyfriend. I was still seeing him, but had cheated on him with someone else. I let him believe it was his, and we went through the same process. I felt numb emotionally. By this time, I was regularly abusing alcohol and drugs.
I was raised Catholic and even went to Catholic school from third through sixth grade. My parents separated then and divorced when I was 12. My mother left the Church to be “born again” around the time I was 10. This was causing some friction at home, but I don’t know how big a part it played in the divorce. She attended an evangelical church and had my brother and I going to Bible studies. She had been a CCD teacher, but that stopped. I’m not sure of her reasons for leaving the Church but I pray for her return. The timing of their divorce meant I didn’t get confirmed and started attending public school in seventh grade. My brother and I moved with Mom to a townhouse in another city and saw Dad on the weekends. Both parents were remarried within two months’ of the divorce papers. My brother and I were having behavioral problems even before they were separated. Later mine manifested themselves in alcohol abuse, drug abuse and promiscuity.
Through my 18th to 22nd year I got much worse. I had two miscarriages, one of which required two blood transfusions and a D&C. I was taken to a firehouse by a drug-using associate for that one. He didn’t know what to do when I passed out, bleeding heavily. They transported me to the hospital and called my mother. I had been living in various apartments since I was 19. Mom took me home to her house after the hospital released me and cared for me for a couple of days. When I went “home,” I started right back in my horrible lifestyle. I won’t go into all the events of my “using” years. I’m just giving a rough overview of my history. I finally began my real recovery in AA after two treatment centers and a total of four incomplete pregnancies – two abortions and two miscarriages. I was 22 years old.
Contrary to recommendations, I started dating a man in AA who was 9 years older than me. He was known for relationships with young, newly-recovering girls. He already had a four-year old daughter from another relationship. Though I was taking the Pill, I got pregnant after dating him for nearly a year. This time, I had a clearer head. It began to dawn on me now that my judgment wasn’t clouded by alcohol or drugs that I’d been making other huge mistakes in my life. I wanted to carry this baby though I knew I couldn’t provide a life for him or her. I also knew that I really didn’t have a future with this man. I researched adoption agencies and told my family who were just beginning to have some faith that I was on the right track with my sobriety. Both Mom and Dad agreed that placing my baby for adoption was the right thing for me to do. The agency I chose had open adoptions, meaning that I might have contact with the parents in the future. I was able to choose between three couples’ autobiographies. Oddly enough, I never second-guessed my decision to carry the baby then. God was giving me the strength. My prayer life had been renewed with my recovery from alcoholism. I still wasn’t attending church, though. As I went to AA meetings and got bigger with pregnancy, people often asked questions. Usually the conversation would end abruptly when I said I was placing the baby for adoption. No one seemed to know how to react.
My Mom was my labor partner. I never saw my baby’s face. I asked for a private room because I thought it’d be tough to share a room with a new mom and her baby. I stayed at Mom’s for two weeks after the delivery, then went home and back to work. I think I may have been going through some depression then because I lost my job through missed days. I stayed sober and continued going to meetings, though. Slowly, over the next several years, I made a better life for myself. And every January or February I would get a letter and pictures in the mail from my son’s mother. She didn’t have to send me anything but has kept me informed of his life for the last 16 years. Somewhere around the time he turned four, I started writing her back. She has been thrilled to know how my life has turned out and even sent a wedding present to me four years ago.
I returned fully to my faith around the time my husband and I started our engagement. Our pre-Cana training was wonderful. It showed me the evils of contraception and taught the joys of Natural Family Planning. I found a spectacular pro-life ob-gyn practice that is completely in line with the Church’s teaching. We welcomed our son into the family roughly 10 months after we got married. Since then we have had two daughters. We are expecting our fourth baby early next year. God is so wonderful, and so merciful!!
So back to my niece and her story! I had several phone conversations with her, up to the morning of her abortion appointment. Her dad, my uncle, was going to drive her there! I told her that I had special experience to share since I had had abortions, miscarriages, and one baby placed for adoption. I let her know that she would never completely get over killing her baby. I told her that she would be wounded, too.
She kept her daughter and has been raising her now for six years. It has been very difficult for her. She got married, was abused, then had the marriage annulled. She completed her GED while going to a school for young mothers that provided daycare. I am very proud of her and her decision.
God is starting to show me how my history can be of some help to others. It doesn’t take away the deeds I’ve done and their damage, but I am trying to give back some of the blessings I’ve been given.
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