"Love One Another!" 13/2009 → Family Life
At thirty-five I had three children, a very interesting though demanding job, and a hard-working husband, who, aside from his job, was studying in the evenings.
My life was one big bustle. I worked from dawn to dusk. On the one hand, there was my professional work, which gave me a great deal of satisfaction and promised me promotions; on the other hand, there was the caring for the children (who had more than their fair share of sickness), cooking, cleaning house, etc. — all of which had a claim on my time. Then, when our youngest son was not even a year old, I discovered I was pregnant. I fell into a panic, for even with three children I was short a pair of hands. What would it be like now with a fourth child? The thought of abortion flashed through my
mind. And I seized hold of it as a drowning person clutches at a straw
I told no one of my intention to abort my child. But abort it I did. Though the child did not belong to me, but rather to God, I denied it the chance of life. I came home after the “procedure” with a feeling of total emptiness. I felt remorseful for a week or two, but then my job and daily routine silenced the voice of my conscience. Our children grew older and proved to be quite independent, so that after a certain time it began to occur to me that we might have found room for another child after all. But through cowardice and a love of comfort I had not allowed it.
Time passed very quickly. Before we knew it, our children had grown up, finished their studies, left home, and gone their various ways — all of them abroad. My husband and I were left alone — I with an overwhelming sense of guilt. Every time I saw a small child — I would often peep into baby carriages — my stomach would tense up. In time this feeling of guilt grew stronger, so that by the time I was retired, it became unbearable. I never imagined that I would suffer so much in my later years as a result of an abortion I had had when I was comparatively young.
Lately I have given quite a bit of thought to the child I had denied the gift of life. I imagine what it would be like now. Perhaps it would not have left us. And yet I do not even know its sex; nor was I able to baptize it. When all of this sank in, the feeling of inner emptiness grew even greater. I fell into despair and, eventually, into a deep depression, from which I suffer even today. I never supposed that depression could cause so much suffering in a person. I have had to seek medical help and undergo specialized therapy.
But all this is not as easy as one might think. At a certain point you fall into a vicious circle. Of course I know that through the Sacrament of Penance Christ has forgiven me this appalling sin; and yet I am unable to forgive myself. For this reason I decided to make a general confession, focusing on this most serious of sins — the sin of murder. Seeing my despair, my confessor comforted me and advised me to turn to Christ, entrusting to His loving arms the child that I had not allowed to live. He also urged me to spiritually adopt another unborn child that might be facing the threat of abortion. People who spiritually adopt a conceived child pledge to pray a decade of the holy rosary every day. This I do as well. For though I cannot in this way restore the life of my own child, I can, through constant prayer, fight for every human being threatened by abortion. I can also spread good in numerous other ways.
I know that even though God’s mercy is unimaginable and has no bounds, the enormity of the evil I committed binds me to make amends for it. All that is left to me now is humble prayer and doing good to my neighbor in restitution for my earlier act of disobedience to God. I try to do this, but the suffering caused by my depressions continues to afflict me. I do not know when I will be free from it, but, despite this, I trust the Lord implicitly and believe profoundly in His mercy.
A suffering mother
I would like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion….The wound in your heart might not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope….Give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will discover that all is not lost, and you will be able to ask forgiveness of your child as well, for it is now living with God. Your painful experience can now make you one of the most eloquent defenders of the right to life of every human person. Through your commitment to life, crowned perhaps by the birth of new human beings…you will forge a new way of looking at human life