Co-authored Michele Mauer
Christians are called to live in a way that’s backwards and upside down. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hurt you. Love those who persecute you.
But when my own mother discovered an unwanted pregnancy, she realized that sometimes the most intimidating people to be honest with, is other Christians.
Living in secret shame
You’d think the counter-culture Christian life would say that an unborn child’s life has more value than one’s reputation, but sometimes the weight of shame convinces women their is only one way out. I realize every woman’s experience is different, and we don’t know each individual’s story, but I do know my mom’s story:
It is the story of a young Christian girl who didn’t want to lose her boyfriend and agreed to have sex with him. The story of a girl living a double life and now stuck with a difficult decision to make. The story of how one life was ended to try and salvage another that was left in pieces.
Just last year, I was folding laundry in my room listening to music when my mom came in and said she wanted to talk with me about something serious. I must’ve given her a confused and concerned look and she clarified she wasn’t dying [flashback to my childhood when we almost lost her]. Relieved I joked back about what could be so serious, do I have another sibling I’ve never met. “Yes.” She replied.
What is one supposed to think at this point? Where is this person? What happened? Do I get to meet them? Are you pregnant right now?
That’s when I learned my parents had gotten pregnant while they were still in college and decided to have an abortion. I would never get to meet my big sister during my life here on earth.
Finding freedom and forgiveness
My mom agreed to co-write this article with me and share her story. This is my mom’s story in her own words:
I was 22 years old when I found out I was pregnant.
I was in disbelief and couldn’t believe this was happening to me.
As I thought it through I decided adoption was the best option, but my boyfriend didn’t. He said we could get married, but he wasn’t a Christian and I knew I wouldn’t marry him. I had grown up in the church and was afraid, I was the “good Christian girl” and didn’t want to disappoint my parents or the church.
At that time I was living a double life. There was a disconnect, my faith was all in my head but had not reached my heart.
I didn’t know what to do, I had been eating right for the baby but believed the lie that I didn’t have anyone to confide in. My parents later asked why I hadn’t come to them, but I had never thought of that as an option. I was living in fear.
One night during Christmas break I was alone with my roommate and I shared with her that I was pregnant. She proceeded to tell me how she was pregnant about six months ago and had an abortion. At that moment it clicked, if she could do it and it was okay for her, it must be something I can do too.
I called and made an appointment at the clinic for the procedure and they told me to wait a little bit longer, it was too soon and if I came in right away it might not work. A week later my boyfriend picked me up for the appointment.
As we drove in I was looking for picketers. I worked at a local Christian bookstore and many of my customers would stand outside the abortion clinics. If they saw me, I thought to myself, then I won’t go through with it. There weren’t any picketers that day.
My other cry for help was during the ultrasound. I asked what was on the screen waiting for something to stop this madness, and they said it was a blob. They kept comforting me telling me everything was going to be alright, soothing and assuring me.
I had felt like a helpless maiden waiting for a knight in shining armor to save me, when I needed to be the one to speak up for myself and my baby.
After the procedure was over my boyfriend dropped me off at home, and I was all alone. Grappling with a new reality, a new pit, a new emptiness that I couldn’t even comprehend. A numbness no one should ever experience. I didn’t know how to deal with it so I stuffed my emotions and kept pushing them down.
Over the years the hole in my heart had grown into an abyss of PASS (Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome). I was married, a mother of four, trying to balance a healthy family life, but the guilt and shame were too much to ignore. In my mind, my kids were good but I was not.
I didn’t believe I deserved any good in my life. I had turned into a hypochondriac believing I was going to contract cancer, for what i had done. I continued to mentally torture myself year after year.
The abyss was growing deeper and deeper and nothing could take it away.
When I was 31 years old, I came down with meningitis. It’s a miracle I’m even alive today. God not only saved me physically from the illness, but mentally from PASS, and spiritually from the condemnation of the enemy. I humbly accepted God’s forgiveness because there was nothing I could do to earn it.
Being bold and brave
For years my mom lived in bondage, fearing what what people would say. How Christians would judge her for having premarital sex, for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, and for having an abortion. But we are not defined but what others think of us and they are not our ultimate judge. God is.
When we live in fear of what people will say, it can keep us trapped in our sin and paralyze us from finding true forgiveness at the cross.
I am so proud of my mom for finding the boldness and bravery to finally share her story. She wasn’t sure how people would respond to hearing her testimony, but she couldn’t stay quiet any longer. After years of living in shame and silence, she found healing and forgiveness and now helps others find the same.
My mom has had the opportunity to share her testimony and work with local churches to help break the stigma for post-abortive mothers. The statistics are staggering when you look at how many women have had abortions, and it’s even higher in the church than you would expect.
Just this past year she’s been participating in post-abortive ministries and has received a new release on life. Finding a new freedom, she wants to see other women experience as well.
John 10:10 (New Living Translation)
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Psalm 51:7-12 (New Living Translation)
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Sharing help and hope
Alyssa. My sister’s name is Alyssa. It’s etched alongside other lost but not forgotten aborted babies in a memorial garden. I’m looking forward to the day when I get to finally meet her.
If you are struggling with sexual impurity, an unplanned pregnancy, or a post-abortive past, you need to know there is freedom for YOU! There is so much help available. Do not lose hope.
Please, reach out to our team and we can help put you in contact with resources available.
Follow our blog series: What Will People Say
What will people say… when you speak up for what’s right? It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun. But it’s always worth it.
When you live a set apart, counter-cultural life, it won’t always make sense to the people around you. But that’s not what matters.
In the NEW blog series “What Will People Say?”, we will be sharing crazy stories of times we’ve gone against the crowd and gotten interesting reactions from people around us, all because we were doing what God calls us to do.