I could feel the weight that you carried in the room. From the start of our encounter, I could sense something, but I was not bold enough to ask you. Superficial conversation followed for a short time, and then for a reason I am yet to understand, you offered a secret that was eating you alive.
You told me you had had an abortion just a few weeks before.
You were weighted down with guilt, shame, regret, fear, and I imagine other emotions.
I vividly remember my face filling with heat as I held back my own emotions. Forgive me, I don’t know how to handle this. I fought back feelings of anger and sadness. My silence didn’t ease the awkwardness.
I regret not realizing how brave you were to trust me with something I doubt you had even told your family. You reached out to me, maybe hoping that I would validate your decision, maybe just wanting someone to tell you that you’d get past the intense emotions that were flooding your mind.
You didn’t meet the stereotype I had learned about. You didn’t have 5 kids; actually, you didn’t have any. You weren’t struggling financially; you were paying for college but had no other debt. I didn’t suspect a lack of family support. You said you wanted kids eventually; it was just inconvenient timing.
I judged you more because of your reason.
I was instantly crippled by my own feelings. I’m sorry I didn’t know what to say. I’m sorry I didn’t know where to tell you to go for healing. I still disagree with your decision, but in a way I sense that you do too. I think the weight of your conviction is the real reason you came in my office.
I’m glad I didn’t give you a list of reasons why it’s wrong. I’m glad I didn’t tell you that you may have trouble getting pregnant later on. I’m glad I didn’t ask why you didn’t choose adoption. It was too late for those conversations anyway. Even so, my silence didn’t help you find peace.
To be completely honest, a little piece of me wanted you to feel guilty. In retrospect, I think you felt that enough already.
If I could talk to you again, I would say a few things. Actually, I would start by listening. How are you doing now?
I would tell you that I’ve changed. I still believe abortion is wrong and that you will have to live with the consequences of it, as we do with any decision in life. But my attitude has more grace. I’m sorry that we live in a world where this is such a common thing, where women (and girls) are told that they can make this decision without suffering extreme physical, mental and emotional damage.
I can’t pretend to know how you feel, but I would help you find a supportive place where you would find love and acceptance. Those places are few and far between, but I happen to know of one where you can find healing alongside other women who have gone through the same thing.
Perhaps I would talk about John Chapter 4 where Jesus shows love and grace to the woman at the well even though he knows the decisions she has made. He tells her about the water that will forever quench her thirst.
Finally, I would remind you of one thing. While many in this world would be quick to remind you that you don’t value human life, I would remind you of your own. You are still loved. You are forgiven if you ask for it. Best of all, you are accepted by the One who created you, and that precious baby, in His image.