My Hiding Place

At the age of 15, I met a 21 year-old man to whom I lost my virginity. After this guy left me brokenhearted and at the beginning of my sophomore year, I began dating one of my classmates. I started having sex with him because I had already done it and it seemed to be the normal thing to do. When I found out I was pregnant, I remember wanting to disappear because I knew I couldn’t come home with something like this. I had always been the baby of the family, how was I going to explain this? I thought that if I told my mom, she would get angry, she’d hit me, and then she’d just cry and blame herself for bringing me to this country. My brothers and sister would hate me for doing this to the family, and my dad, would be so ashamed of me. I pictured all of this in my mind and I also thought what about finishing school, I couldn’t imagine a baby in my plans.

A few days went by and my sister noticed that something was going on with me. She had her boyfriend call me to find out what was happening. He was much older and a psychologist so, I thought he would help me

After he told my sister, she came and asked me what was I going to do. I remember that she referred to my baby as the “problem,” the problem that had to be solved. She said, “you know you’re only 15 and your boyfriend will sooner or later disappear from the picture. You know that’s how men are.” And, indeed, I knew that’s how men were, at least the men in my family. I don’t remember discussing anything about having the baby, so one morning the 2 of us took the train and went into a building somewhere on Park Avenue.

I don’t remember what exactly went on inside the abortion mill, I just know that there were many women waiting to be called. My sister did all the talking and paid for it. I remember crying, crying and praying to the Virgin Mary while someone injected me to put me to sleep. Then, I remember going back home, walking in pain, and not being able to even push the turnstile to go into the subway and my sister looking at me disgusted and very angry and telling me to hurry up. I asked myself whether she knew how I was feeling. I perfectly remember that I also thought that maybe I was not allowed or I was not supposed to feel anything and that I deserved to be treated like trash, after all I was the one having sex when I knew I shouldn’t be.

The abortion was never, ever discussed again between my sister and me. A few weeks later, my mother found out from my sister but, she never talked about it either. However, after that, whenever I did something wrong, my mom would only say, “you see, don’t you come crying to me if anything happens to you again.” From then on, I knew that if something happened again, I would never come to anyone in my family for help.

I got pregnant again after 6 months. By this time I was 16 and had a part-time job, which allowed me to take charge of my “problem” without having anyone involved, except my boyfriend who agreed with what I decided to do. We went back to the same abortion mill and to my surprise we didn’t need any older person to sign for me. No questions asked. Afterwards, I would cry, making sure that no one would see me because I thought that I wasn’t allowed to feel anything. I thought that everything was my fault because I was the one still having sex.

After 2 abortions that same year, a week right before Christmas I took a whole bunch of Benadryl pills. I always thought that I didn’t want to kill myself, I just wanted to fall asleep, sleep and forget about everything, sleep and maybe not wake up to this pain in my heart that no matter how much I tried to forget wouldn’t go away. I ended up in the ER. No one in my family ever asked me why I did something like that.

Somehow, I managed to finish school and by the time I entered college, I already had a new boyfriend. I remember that I didn’t care about anything or anyone, I felt very disgusted with myself and all I cared for was having sex. Maybe that’s how I punished myself because every time I did it, I felt my heart break. I also felt a strange hatred toward men, I wanted to get even with them. This destructive behavior let me to a 3rd abortion. The baby’s father didn’t want me to have the abortion but, to me he had no right to tell me what to do or how to solve my “problem.” I thought that up to seven weeks that it was not a baby. Of course, the relationship with this guy turned ugly. He became abusive but, weirdly enough, his anger and pain made me feel better.

In the spring of ‘98 I was already dating someone else, consciously I was doing my best not to become pregnant, but in the back of my mind that’s all I would think of. So, again I remember getting a positive urine test. This time I thought I was ready to do the right thing, but had no strength. I thought my family would turn their back on me. I couldn’t say anything. I just didn’t know what to say. I found 100 excuses why I couldn’t have the baby, it was only my second year in college, the baby’s father wanted to marry me and have the baby, but he had lost his job. I found myself again in the dark tunnel with no way out but the “legal” solution. Once again I decided to go for the abortion, but this time was different. Before the procedure, during the sonogram, the nurse asked me if there were twins in the family. I almost died, I wanted to die so badly. I remember running to the bathroom, crying. I knew that twins run in the family and I always dreamed of being married and having twins, but not under these circumstances. Another nurse came looking for me. She said not to cry and that if I had gone there thinking that it was just one, what was I going to do with two. That’s all I needed to hear, even when I wanted to run outside, tell my boyfriend and leave the place. What was he going to do without a job? So again, I silenced my conscience, and had another abortion.

In 2001, I became pregnant for the last time. Thinking about it now, I realize that I was completely destroyed. I had no self esteem, no self respect or respect for anyone. I was involved with a very jealous, possessive, violent, much older man, and at the same time I was sleeping around with most of my ex-boyfriends, and with whomever wanted me. When I found out I was expecting, I couldn’t even look myself at the mirror. I was the most horrible, filthy woman on earth. I couldn’t even tell who the father of the baby was.

At this time I had finished college. I had a decent job, but I felt like the biggest loser. Nothing mattered. Nothing made sense. I was dead inside but no one noticed. I learned to survive day in and day out. I thought that even if I wanted to have the baby, how would I take care of him if I felt that I couldn’t even take care of myself. Besides, who was I going to say the father was? Now, it wasn’t just what my family would say, but also people at work. I also thought what was another abortion going to do to me? My life had no meaning anyway. When I went to the clinic all by myself I thought that maybe this time I would be lucky enough to have complications and die as well.

After I broke up with my last boyfriend, I found myself on the verge of suicide. I planned to jump out of the window of the 11th floor where I worked or take a whole bunch of pain killers I had at home. I had to do something to stop the terrible pain I carried with me. 9/11 had just happened and somehow seeing other people suffer for their loss stopped me from doing it. Here is when I realized that I hit rock bottom. I knew that I had tried everything. My last option was to go back to God. I always had Him in the back of my mind, but I knew my sins were too horrible. I always thought I couldn’t be forgiven.

So, in a matter of 8 years I had 5 abortions, 6 babies killed…

Because of the way I was brought up, I thought that having sex before marriage was the greatest sin. No one ever talked to me about what to do if I got pregnant without being married. At the beginning of my spiritual conversion I did ok admitting the sin of fornication, with the grace of God I stopped. But, when it came to admitting the sin of abortion, I didn’t know where to begin, it was too painful. I always knew abortion was wrong, but I didn’t know anything about fetal development and I excused myself by thinking that because I was only about six weeks when I had all of my abortions these tiny babies didn’t have a soul or a beating heart. Admitting the responsibility of having taken the life of 6 babies was very, very difficult. Dealing with the guilt and, at times, with the doubts of God’s forgiveness was unbearable.

This is the beginning of my 4th year coming to the “Entering Canaan” ministry, but it actually took me a long time before I really chose to face reality. I thought the pain would fade away by simply occupying myself with different religious events or by saying a few healing prayers here and there, but it did not. The loss of my babies was real, even when I never saw them or held them. The pain was too real to keep ignoring it. The need to mourn my children was always there, so with the grace of God I surrendered to His Mercy in order to truly heal. When I finally decided to bring it all out and face it, I knew I was too weak to do it on my own. First of all, I recognized that I needed God. I had to remind myself that He is always with me and I had to, and still have to repeat over and over, “YOU ARE MY HIDING PLACE, YOU GUARD ME WHEN IN TROUBLE, YOU SURROUND ME WITH SONGS OF DELIVERANCE.”

Second, I needed to surround myself with caring, compassionate people that understood my pain, and that I knew were there to support me. People like Theresa, the Sisters here, and the priest that guides my spiritual life. Finally, I understood that I was very, very hurt and like any physical wound, emotional, spiritual, and psychological wounds take time to heal so I had to and still have to be patient with myself and with God. I had to allow myself to cry and grieve over the loss of my children without guilt or shame.

I want you to know that there is true healing in the LORD and that no matter how painful it is, no matter how long it seems to take God is FAITHFUL and He will not let anyone down. No matter what the circumstances were, no matter how bad we think we are, He loves each one of us to the point of having His one and only Son die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Always keep in mind that, “the greater the sinner, the greater is His mercy.”