This is a Christmas reflection from Mary who worked alongside me in the ministry for many years. Mary has since passed away, but I will always admire her courageous witness, her perseverance in seeking God and His truth and her life of faith. She taught me much….
Christmas, a time that always used to be wonderful and happy, became a terrible time for me since 1979, the time when my aborted daughter, Nell, would have been born. It is also the anniversary of the death of my husband, who died on December 22, 1979, and was buried on Christmas Eve. It is all particularly relevant because I had the abortion as a result of my husband threatening to leave me if I didn’t. The thought of raising my other children alone scared me to death, so I gave in and aborted our daughter. It’s ironic that my husband left me alone anyway by dying. My thought has always been that it was God’s punishment for having the abortion. At times, I still fall back into that kind of thinking, even though I know better now.
I’m sure I am not alone in my negative thinking about Christmas. Christmas can be a major abortion connector for post abortive people just by the fact that it celebrates the birth of a baby, but for me, the connectors were numerous. My sons were 3 and 8 years old at that time and while I know that the 8 year old remembered that Christmas in 1979, I’m also sure that the 3 year old had no memory, although I am sure they both must have felt the effects of my reactions to Christmas as the years went on.
After the death of my husband, my sons became my priority. They needed my care and I tried to give them a normal home, but the truth is, I was depressed, alcoholic and suicidal. During the Christmas seasons, I would be so down that I would self medicate by drinking to excess. My anger would boil up and sadly, rear its ugly head against the boys, but in spite of my behavior, my sons grew up to be wonderful men, so, perhaps I succeeded somewhat in hiding my negative characteristics from them.
hen in 1994 my youngest son went away to college, and I now had the time to reflect. It was as though I had just had the abortion. I became very depressed and sought psychiatric care. The medical professionals kept telling me that the depression I was experiencing was not caused by the abortion. Being told this made me even more confused because I knew in my heart it played a huge part, so my spirits became even lower as I felt there was something wrong with me. I could not bring myself out of the depression as my feeling continued to be denied and spent time in partial psychiatric programs and in house hospitalization. When I finally “believed” the psychiatric diagnosis it made me even more severely depressed and suicidal. I thought at that time that this was the end for me.
By the grace of a very merciful God, in planning my own suicide I learned of the Sisters of Life and the Entering Canaan mission. In September 2002, I attended a “Day of Prayer and Healing”. Thirteen women who had abortions came together that day to find that they were not alone. I learned that many, many women were suffering after having had abortions. Suddenly, I felt hope and not crazy after all!
That day, I discovered that there was healing from the pain I was suffering. There was forgiveness for my sin and hope for a normal life ahead. What a wonderful message from the Father of Mercy and Forgiveness. For me, Christmas could now begin to mean something completely different than what I had been experiencing for more than 20 years. Christmas was now the birth of Mercy Himself, and a sign of His forgiveness for me.
I am so thankful for all the wonderful people who have come into my life to show me the way toward healing. Theresa, the Sisters, the priests and friars, and the many women sharing their experiences have helped me to be in a better place. It’s as though the manger of darkness that I was living in has become a palace filled with light and hope for the future.
Thank you all so much