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Friday, June 12, 2009

And here we go...

Well, here it is...I'm officially a blogger now - wow! Can't believe it. But, I suppose when an idea starts to take over, there's not a lot of use in stopping it. So, here I am - putting this out there for anyone in the world to see. My dream would be to help someone...someone out there who feels alone or just needs a shoulder. I figure that online we can all remain anonymous, if we so choose, and in a matter such as abortion, many people do choose to remain so.

But, we still need help. We still feel that burden within ... growing, holding us back. It's that pit in your stomach or that sense of your chest tightening up. A moment away from panic because you think that at any moment, someone will figure it out. Someone will know the secret you've kept hidden away in the darkest corner of your life. Someone will know that you've had an abortion. And, it's not even just that someone will know, but it's the flooding of all the emotion that comes with that knowledge, which finally overcomes you. That's the do we deal with those feelings suddenly rising to the surface?

For me, it took years. Years of thinking I had conquered it. Years of believing that I had "moved past" it. I fooled myself quite well for a time. I actually believed I had done all I could to heal from this pain. Having an abortion is more than removing tissue from your body, it's a life and death decision that many of us make in state of fear or duress. Afterwards, we are often left alone to deal with the jumbled up feelings we have about what has just occurred. No one wants to talk about it and no one seems to understand. It's either "time to move on" or "what's the big deal" type of comments. Or, in some cases, there are people who do care and want to help, but even they have their limits on how many times they can listen to your story. It's written all over their faces and you once again recoil and stuff your pain so no one else has to endure it.

This is such a difficult existence and yes, unless you've actually been through this, you truly do not understand. It's ok. It's not your fault and I applaud you for never having had to A) be in a position to make such a decision or B) made the right choice when it was time. Yes, I did say the "right choice" because if it hadn't been wrong, why would I have felt so immediately disgusted by what I had done? Why would I have suddenly clutched my body and screamed for my baby if it was all "ok" so-to-speak? There is something that happens to a woman's body when that life is taken from you and it's almost impossible to explain it. You are forever changed at that moment.

When I finally had enough, when I finally couldn't take one more anniversary of Roe v. Wade without feeling that I would burst open, I made a decision to get healing. My husband was so supportive of this for he had seen the abortion take its toll on my life for years. He is not the father of my child, but he has had to live with the after effects of that long ago decision. Together, we decided to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat.

Initially, I was excited. An entire weekend where I would finally get to talk about this and with people who truly understood me. Wow! Then, I got nervous...wait...I have to REALLY talk about this with other people! The irony of the situation was quite apparent.

In an attempt (quite successful, I might add) to keep me from bailing out at the last minute, my husband signed up for the Retreat, as well. That meant he had to participate just like sitting back and just taking it all is brave!

We arrived on a Friday, early evening. We were greeted by smiling, but not overly friendly volunteers (which I found refreshing because I may have run if someone jumped out at me filled with all kinds of glee and happiness). It was a mixture of post-abortive men/women, a priest and a counselor. Then, there were the other two women who had decided to suck it up and attend, too. They were much braver than me, however...they came alone. There was a nervous energy in the group and we made a lot of polite small-talk at first. Then, it was time to adjourn to the the real work would begin.

I can honestly say that after the first night of going over various, sorted details of my life (before and after the abortion), I started to feel the flood gates open. I wasn't sure just how much I was going to "allow" them to hear or see. After all, these were strangers and I was not accustom to being vulnerable around most people, let alone complete strangers. But, God was smarter than me that night (as He is every night, let's be honest) because there was a release button that was pressed and look out because it all came out. There were things that I realized that weekend I would have never thought about otherwise. It was frightening and difficult, but healing all at the same time. I started to feel "me" somewhere inside...closer to the surface...again. Amazing!

By the time Sunday rolled around and we all gathered for our "goodbyes" together, I was a different woman. I know, you're rolling your eyes at me right now...but it's true. I embraced what the weekend had to offer and even though there were moments leading up to a particular activity where I was thinking, "This is is this going to help anything?" - I found myself able to release the years of anger, frustration, guilt, sadness, horror, etc. Finally, I could accept that I was still a good person and that no one was secretly waiting around the corner to expose me. One weekend and a whole lot of healing. What an incredible journey.

Since then, I have continued along that path. I have found myself again. Yes, I still have difficult days. That can't be avoided. However, I approach those times in my life from a different point of view now. I am aware of what's happening and I respond accordingly. Now...if I have a "sad" day, it's a day. It's not a month or months. That's amazing in and of itself! I have also chosen, as my path, to continue with the program as a volunteer, so that perhaps I can help to offer the same healing and acceptance to someone else. I've been interviewed about it and gave a speech at a rally. Yep, it's a whole new life for me. Now, I'm a blogger! Watch out...who knows what I'll think to do next!!!

It's not to say that everyone who attends the weekend leaves with the "I'm going to conquer the world now" attitude. No. Everyone takes something different. What this weekend does allow is a person to find themself, to see what they need to do to find their own healing. Whether this weekend is just the beginning or the final step, it's worth every moment!

That's all I have for today. I'll be blogging as often as I can. Hopefully, the more people find out about this page, the more we'll have to discuss. Let's be open...let's ask questions...let's talk...let's help each other to heal!

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