I'm 21, single, a senior in college, and yes, I'm that girl. It happened on my 21st birthday. Most people get to enjoy a few too many drinks, and possibly a bad headache the next day for their 21st birthday. My experience was a little different. I was that girl that got way too drunk, that girl that was insecure, that girl that had a random hookup, that girl that couldn't say no, that girl that got pregnant.
It should be understood that one drunken hook-up did not change my life. The devil had been working through the details for years leading up to this. He had been working the day I had my first illegal drink of alcohol. He was there when I lost my virginity to a guy I hardly knew. He was there when I lost all self-respect and repeatedly got drunk and acted promiscuously. He was there when I searched for guy after guy for security. The devil was there the day after all those miserable hookups, feeding the thoughts of unworthiness and self-hate into my head. The devil was working the whole time.
It's no surprise that on my 21st birthday, I got drunk 'justifiably' because it was my birthday, and had sex with some guy. It was no surprise at all; in fact the devil had this in the works for many years.
Fortunately, God was working this whole time too.
The day I saw those two lines indicating a positive result, my whole world completely turned upside down. I was living every young girl's worst nightmare. I was pregnant. At the time I found out I was pregnant, I was single, alone, and afraid. I literally felt I had no one to turn to. The weight of my own embarrassment, shame, self-hatred, and loss of self-worth was too much to bear and I never told a single soul I was pregnant and scheduled an abortion even though I knew to my very core it was wrong.
The devil works when we are alone, and that's exactly what I was – alone.
Inside I was desperately screaming 'Who could possibly love me?' There was no way I could tell anyone. I was afraid. I was afraid no one would love me if they knew that I had gotten pregnant. Being raised Catholic all of my life I was well versed in Church teaching on abortion. I knew that every aspect of it was wrong; it was emotionally, scientifically, theologically, spiritually, and fundamentally wrong … yet I was still going to do it.
However, God loved me too much to let me off the hook. The days leading up to my abortion, I would attend Mass. I would sit in the very back, by myself, head down the entire time. I would shamefully watch other people receive the Eucharist as I sat there, unworthy of it.
The weekend right before my scheduled abortion God pierced my soul with His unconditional, perfect love. It was as if all the readings and the homily were directed specifically at me. That day at Mass I learned about God's infinite mercy and forgiveness.
I had obviously known intellectually about forgiveness and mercy, but that day was different. That day, God gave me the grace to feel His presence and His mercy and forgiveness in my heart. For the first time I knew with every ounce of my being that God did love me as much as he loved the little life inside of me.
For the first time in over a month of depression and turmoil and shame, I felt loved … in the midst of my brokenness. I realized that God gifted me not only with my life, but also entrusted to me the life growing inside me. In that moment I felt overwhelming peace and the courage to offer my life back to God as a gift and do His will, no matter how scared I was.
By the grace of God alone, I cancelled my abortion.
That day changed me forever. I know His love is real; He has confirmed it to me time and time again. God confirmed His love for me when I finally built up the courage to tell my parents I was pregnant; my parents never condemned me, but instead embraced me and loved me and supported me.
God confirmed His love for me when I finally went to confession and the priest praised me for my choice of life and gave me the grace to forgive myself.
God confirmed His love for me when I told my friends and they not once judged me, but loved me and affirmed me of my worth.
God confirmed His love for me when my doctor never questioned my age or why I didn't have a husband and instead rejoiced in the development of the baby inside me.
God confirmed His love for me every day at mass when I witness His sacrifice for me, so that I, a broken girl, could be forgiven and come to know Him.
I am now proud to say I am 39 weeks pregnant with a beautiful little girl. Any day I will get to hold this beautiful gift of life. I am proud to say that I have given my life back to God as a witness to life as I am one of the few, if not only pregnant girl attending a secular university.
I also have a new found passion for helping the broken women found in an unplanned pregnancy as a volunteer advisor at our local Pregnancy Resource Center. Finally, I share my story with anyone and everyone, with just the small hope that another broken person can feel loved and know his/her life is truly a gift and that they are valued as a child of God. Life truly is a precious gift, and I'm so blessed that God gave me the grace to understand that, even in the midst of brokenness.
This blog was originally published by Focus on focus.org and was used with permission.
If you've had an abortion you know how much it hurts. It’s not over and done with when you walk out of the building.
I want you to know something. And I say this from the bottom of my heart. You are loved. You can be forgiven. And healing is possible.
I want to share a video that has a powerful message of hope for those who’ve suffered through an abortion.
Here is a link to a video of a woman named Lisa who dealt with abuse, divorce, and had three abortions. She has an incredible witness about the healing she received. The beauty of being Catholic is that besides counseling, we have the Sacrament of Confession where Christ Himself forgives us. Lisa experiences peace when she stopped hiding her abortions in the dark. Her shame was wiped away.
The most moving part of this video to me is when she says she can’t wait to get to heaven and have Jesus tell her, “you have three beautiful children here to meet you.”
When you hear the word “abortion” you think of a woman. And rightly so. A woman is the one who carries the child, undergoes the procedure, and loses her motherhood. But men are not numb to what is happening. Just as many men are stripped of their fatherhood by this horror. Those who haven’t experienced an abortion, are still passionate about protecting women and children and are saddened by abortion.
I asked a handful of men some questions about abortion and I was deeply moved by their answers. It convinced me that it’s not just women who are hurt by abortion. Men have strong feelings about it and want to stand up for life. They are affected too.
To me abortion is one of the saddest things that happens in our world. It breaks my heart that we live in a society and in a world where we feel like we can take life away. I think I've gained a new appreciation for what it means to have life beginning at conception now that I have a child on the way. – Eric Porteous
I was a public school student and I can remember in 5th grade in 'sex ed' I was taught that abortion was one of three equally appropriate actions to take when a child was conceived. Since that's what I was taught, I thought it was right. Praise God for the gift of my faith and the grace to learn what is true. Especially as an adopted child, I value the gift of life. It would have been easy for my birth mother to 'terminate her pregnancy' but she chose to give me life. – Scott Williams
Are men affected by this issue? How?
Absolutely, and I speak from personal experience. 11 years ago my girlfriend at the time told me she was pregnant, but because she already had one fatherless child and I was a drunk and an addict she told me she was going to abort the baby. I was not practicing my faith back then but I knew it was wrong. I fought for her to keep the baby but in the end I gave up.
Eventually we split up, I went to rehab and straightened out my life and found myself working in youth ministry, all by God's grace. I thought my life was pretty good. But there was something missing. Although I had a lot of joy in my life I felt like there was an emptiness in me that I couldn't fill.
A few years ago I was driving home, listening to our local Catholic radio station and there was a man talking about abortion. I can't remember his name or much of what he said, but the one thing I can remember was that he spoke about how men suffer from abortion too. At that moment I realized what the emptiness in my own life had been, it was the loss of my child, the child I gave up on years before.
I had to stop the car and pull into a parking lot. I sat there and thought about all the times certain T.V. commercials brought me to tears unexplainably, how I was never able to talk about that incident and I could go on and on about all the other bad choices I had made. I tried to forget the part I played in the abortion of my child and it was tearing me up inside.
A few months later I heard about a Rachel’s Way retreat for women and men suffering from the loss of their children. It was there that I learned more about how and why women and men suffer from abortion and how to deal with it. I was also given a special grace from God. As we watched a video of men and women sharing their stories, I heard a small voice. It was the voice of little boy. I heard it clear as a bell, he said 'Joshua, Joshua, my name is Joshua.' I knew it was my son and that God had allowed me to hear him so that I could grieve his death and begin the process of healing.
Today I still regret my lost fatherhood, but I'm able to share that with others. I still cry when I think about Joshua, but I pray for him and ask that he prays for me. The hurt is still there, but the emptiness is gone. – Bert Hernandez
When one hurts, we all hurt. If a woman is hurt, that is our mother, sister, daughter, or friend that is hurt. God has a plan for us all. We can’t pretend that if one life is gone, the world will be the same. – Michael Grothem
As a man, I want to be able to support the woman I love as much as I can. That means that when a woman becomes pregnant, the father needs to be there just as God is there for his bride, the Church. Just as Joseph was there for Mary. Men are affected by this issue because having children means accepting responsibility. Agreeing for a woman to have an abortion is saying no to the responsibility that has been given to the man. … Andrew Jones
Absolutely. We've lost a whole generation of children. That affects us whether we're men or women. It breaks my heart personally because life is something that should be treasured and sacred. We've lost millions of people that could be doing amazing things in this world and we'll never know. Suppose one of those babies could've come up with a cure for cancer, suppose they could've been a great priest, or the next pope, we'll never know. And that has an impact on all of us.ÌâåÊ- Eric Porteous
Men are certainly affected by abortion. Some men don't outwardly show their emotions, making it hard to spot or it is often quickly dismissed because it's 'not their body' and shouldn't concern them. While walking across the country, promoting the pro-life movement a man came up after we did a speech at mass with tears rolling down his face telling us a woman he conceived a child with had an abortion without him knowing. He pleaded with us never to let someone go through the same misery he has. He still suffers the loss of his child to this day. – Scott Williams
What would you say to a woman who’s about to have an abortion?
You are beautiful and loved. You matter. God has chosen you to be a mother, to bring a life into this world. You can do this. God has trusted you with this child. He gave you this child for a reason. You can change the world. – Michael Grothem
Clearly, this is a decision that weighs heavily on any person. When people are faced with such dire decisions, meeting these with anger and legalism doesn't change hearts or minds. Explaining that there are options like adoption, and programs, both Church supported and secular to support mothers who need help can create an environment of love where fear is trying to take hold. Replace fear and doubt with love and support. – Adam Eichelberger
I'd talk to her about the life inside her and the beauty of parenthood, but more than anything else I would try to convince her that she's not alone. I believe a large percentage of women who get abortions have been convinced by the industry that they can't do it; that they can't give their child a good life. I think many just need to be told that they can do it. That there are people who can and will help them be great parents. … Rey Guevara
Why do you care what a woman does with her body?
The claim of pro-choice goes beyond a woman's right to do what she wants with her body. When the leading atrocity being executed in our country and across the world is played out from our very own hands it's not a claim of rights or choice for the mother. It's a claim of liberty for the beating heart in the depths of her womb that is being silenced beyond it's already limited stature. Our voices must rise in resounding shouts of love in defense of the very breath we take for granted each second. – Cristopher Matthews
Blessed JPII said that every man has the duty to uphold the dignity of every woman. Unfortunately too many men think more about what a woman can give him than what he should be providing for them. Men are built to protect, it part of our nature. – Bert Hernandez
I care because she is a daughter of God and deserves the truth when all she's been hearing are lies. I care because she is my sister in Christ and I care a great deal about my sisters and want only the best for them, and the best is God's will. – Bryan Kujawa
Because she is a child of God. As a servant of God, I have the right to stand up for God's creation. This stands for both the child in the womb and the woman who carries that child. – Andrew Jones
What can men do to stand up and fight against abortion?
Men can do a lot to fight against abortion and stand up for women and unborn children. They can start by living lives of holiness and virtue. They can start by truly seeking to honor women in all of their interactions with them. They can show women that they genuinely care about them. They can realize that their actions have consequences and think about these consequences before doing anything. They can seek the truth and educate themselves so they may be better informed when asked about tough topics. They can live holy and chaste lives. … Bryan Kujawa
First, understand what being a man really is. Realize that the gift of creating life is set aside for the bond of marriage between a wife and husband. When we choose to pursue selfish pleasure rather than the true embodiment of love, we become the problem. So much of the problem that we have made when it comes to women feeling cornered into ending life, if we respected life as men and honored women with true, selfless love, there would be no need for abortion.
Second, stand for life. Be unafraid to lovingly stand for life. Don't engage those who are facing such a hard choice with anger or frustration. Remind them of the power of love by being an example of love. Show love not only in how you speak, but how you act. Invest time, be kind, realize how vulnerable and conflicted women who face abortion are. … Adam Eichelberger
Why do you think men sometimes pressure women to have an abortion?
Fear and misunderstanding. There is a generation of men who grew up without someone to tach them what a it means to be a man, so men have misunderstandings about the role of the man. Society has portrayed men as either womanizing playboys or incompetent dolts. So naturally, thats what most men have become. When a man find out he is going to be a father they fear the responsibility that comes with a child. They are afraid of their inability to provide for the child or afraid of change of lifestyle that happens when you have a child. … Bert Hernandez
Because it’s so easy. It’s not our body. It’s not our choice. It’s not our life on the line. And yet this is the argument the pro-choice people use as well. It’s not our body, it’s not our choice. We, as men, have to act like the men God wanted us to be. Protectors. Redeemers. Counselors. And yet so many of us panic. We freeze, like Adam froze in the Garden. We blame it on Eve. When ultimately it is our fear that outweighs our responsibility to protect the new life that God has breathed into the wombs of our women. … Steve Gonzales
Men don't pressure women to have an abortion. If a male pressures a woman to have an abortion, he doesn't deserve the right to be called a man. A man's role is to love, protect, provide, and grow chest hair. When males pressure women to have an abortion, it is because unfortunately, they lack what it takes to be a man, to be a father. … Scott Williams
When faced with fear people tend to act courageously or cowardly. That's not to say there isn't a time for the fight or flight instinct, but it would seem in the case of a man faced with an unplanned pregnancy he's reaction is either one of courageous nobility or cowardly fear. Thus, the latter results in seeking to eliminate the inconvenience in order to remove the internal angst. – Cristopher Matthews