I was 16 coming on 17 in 1987 when I found myself pregnant. I was too scared to tell my mom as Dad had died around 6 months before and I felt she had enough on her plate. I shared instead with my boyfriend and he left the decision to me. I also confided with a lady I worked with at the time, she went and spoke to my boss and I remember him saying ‘You’ll be the death of your mother’. This exaggerated the fear I was already carrying and I felt even less able to talk to my mum – looking back now, no one even suggested I do this, conversations were just focused on the ‘problem’ that needed ‘sorting’. A pregnancy test was arranged where I found I was 10 weeks pregnant and around a week later a private abortion was booked in the Birmingham area. If only I knew then the facts or one person had spoken in favour of life . . .
Sadly, I have never been able to remember where or when exactly I had my abortion, I think the trauma has blocked this out, I just know it was a private clinic to which I travelled by coach. I was in a room with lots of beds, and one by one we were wheeled out, I remember having an injection and being told to count backwards, the next thing I knew I was back on the ward. When I woke the first thing that came to my mind was ‘Jennie what have you done?’ (the same question God had asked Eve in Genesis 3:13 to which she replied ‘The serpent deceived me that’s why I ate of it’).
The reality of what I’d done hit me quickly but I couldn’t cope with the magnitude of it so when a lady next to me asked if I was ok, I lied and said ‘yes’. From then on I had to suppress every emotion in order to cope, and I tried to carry on as normal. In truth though, nothing was normal any more and everything had changed. I split with my boyfriend shortly after my abortion and because my abortion had been private rather than through the NHS, I had to pay back my boss for the killing of my baby through working extra hours.
As I look back I realise the impact of this one decision was huge. I moved away from home to do seasonal work and began drinking too much to numb the feelings of guilt and shame I carried. I had no value for myself and I found it difficult even to have conversations with people. Eventually I got used to this burden though and in a way it became normal to carry it.
One day in 2007 I heard the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ on an Alpha course which affected me profoundly. I confessed my sin of abortion privately to the Lord and experienced an overwhelming sense of His presence and love alongside the lifting of my burden of guilt. A week later I experienced an infilling of joy like I’d never had before and I knew I was forgiven. For the next couple of years I would wake up every day thinking of Jesus which I know was the work of the Holy Spirit.
In 2009 I was invited to a local church where during a meeting a conversation of abortion was shut down. This hit me hard and I felt condemned again and unable to speak. The Lord however, gently spoke to me through different ways and a peace returned to me reminding me I was forgiven, loved and free. I felt God prompting me to speak with my mother who was very gracious saying she wished I’d told her at the time.
I went on a Recovery course talking with other women who had also had abortions. Ilistened to their heartbreaking stories and the lies they had believed, realising how post abortion stress, caused by the death of our own children in our wombs had impacted all our lives. We had all carried shame, guilt and regret yet here we could safely grieve the loss of our babies. During this time I believe God gave me a name for my baby which is ‘Jesse’ meaning ‘God beholds’. I write this today as a tribute to Jesse who I’ll one day meet in Heaven.
Fear plays a big part in abortion both beforehand and afterwards. When in a crisis-pregnancy fear can cloud your decision making, so it seems like keeping your baby is just impossible and then again afterwards, when it can make you feel that facing up to what you’ve done is just too hard. The Abortion Industry deny post abortive stress but then they also deny that my baby was a real little human, a fact backed up by science. Whether you’re in a crisis pregnancy or you’re hurting after an abortion, don’t listen to the voice of fear. I let fear rule me for too long and I know now how it holds you captive – listen to those who are not afraid to share the truth of what abortion is but do so in love and without condemnation – this is what sets you free.