One of the many programs that Alpha Center offers is AWAKE: After-Abortion Care. This class is led by women who have been through abortion themselves and have found healing. In this series, we have asked some of our participants to answer questions related to their experience, and they have bravely chosen to share their stories.
It is important to note that while not every woman who has had an abortion will struggle with their decision, many can experience post-abortion stress. If abortion is part of your story and you are hurting, or struggling with your decision, you are not alone, and healing is possible.
How old were you when you found out you were pregnant?
I was 16.
How did you choose to have an abortion?
The father and I had only been dating for about 6 months when I discovered I was pregnant. All I could think of was how much trouble I was in, and what were we going to do? We both decided that having an abortion would be the answer since having a baby would change the course of our lives, and telling people would be too embarrassing and shameful, not to mention what our parents would do. I knew in my being that it was wrong, but I was scared and felt pressured and stuck in a situation that had only one way out.
What was that experience like (however much or little you want to share)?
When I went to the clinic, the waiting room was filled with other girls about my age. No one looked at each other and it was very quiet. They had me sign some papers but never offered me any options as far as adoption or parenting. They told me what to expect before/during/after the abortion procedure. The doctor came in and said everything was going to be all right and to relax. I still remember what the room looked like and the machine next to the table I was laying on. I was put under general anesthesia, and when I woke up I was sore all over my body. They had me laying on a gurney in the hall and I went in and out of consciousness. I was the last patient to leave the clinic. When I left, there was no one in the lobby except for my boyfriend.
How did you feel after the abortion?
After the abortion, I felt horrible and overwhelmed with sadness. I felt I had lost my innocence when I had started having sex, but having an abortion made me feel like I had lost a different kind of innocence. It was a totally different kind of loss that at that time I wasn’t able to grieve. I definitely felt damaged and lived in fear of people finding out about it. I learned very quickly how to hide these feelings and pretend like nothing was wrong. I didn’t know if God would ever forgive me. I spent the next few years in and out of relationships, and when I was 24 I found myself pregnant again. At this point, I was probably the lowest I’ve ever been in my life both mentally and spiritually. The feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and disbelief were overwhelming. How could I be doing this again? I stuffed the feelings that come after an abortion way, way down deep, hoping to put it behind me.
What were you struggling with the most before AWAKE?
I felt I would/could never forgive myself. I was sure God would never forgive me. I was terribly afraid of people finding out about my abortion, especially my kids. I could barely say the word “abortion”, and I tried to avoid any conversation that involved the subject. I felt guilty, ashamed and what a horrible person I must be to have done such a thing. Like I had this black spot in my life that would always be there, tarnishing any happiness that was in my life.
How did the AWAKE program help you?
The AWAKE program helped me understand God’s forgiveness on a deep, deep level. It helped me to reach self-forgiveness completely by learning how to stop punishing myself! I also learned how to accept God’s grace and the freeing feeling that comes with it! The tools learned on how to handle triggers when they come up also have been invaluable. Not only did the AWAKE program help me with my post-abortion issues, but it was a big turning point in my spiritual growth!
What would you say to other women who are considering abortion?
I would first tell them about my experience, and I would say that I regret those decisions down to my soul. Go to the Alpha Center to get a free pregnancy test, they are there to help you make these important decisions and can talk to you about all the options. You have some time. Don’t make a decision out of fear or panic. Happiness is possible if you decide to parent or go with adoption. You can get through this-there are people there to help you. Please talk to someone – I wish I had!
What would you say to women who are struggling with their abortion?
That they are not alone! Stats are that 1 in 4 women have had an abortion. They can be free from the shame, guilt, and fear of others knowing about their abortion. There are ways to learn how to deal with the triggers that cause them to slide down into sadness. They CAN be happy again and have joy in their lives!
Or considering the AWAKE program?
That there is hope, healing, and forgiveness without judgment. They need to be encouraged to be brave and trust God to help them through the process of being free from the shame and guilt they’ve been carrying around for years. They need to know that they are loved no matter what they’ve done, that there is compassion and understanding of what they are feeling. Also, that they can give identity and dignity to their aborted child…that’s it ok to grieve.
If you are interested in connecting with one of our AWAKE leaders or learning more about the program, reach out to us at 970.221.5121 or by using the Request an Appointment form online. We will get you connected to our leaders.