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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Children

I realized something recently. It is a hard thing to confront, but now that I'm aware of it, I am determined to work through it that much more. There is a part of me that still struggles with the fact that I have been unable to have my own children. Regrettably, I'll never know if this is a result of my abortion or the birth control pills I took for years while I was younger. Still, the fact remains that I am without children and I find that quite bothersome.

For all the healing I received at Rachel's Vineyard, that is the one thing that I cannot seem to completely shake. Recently, while touring the new Catholic Charities facility, we found ourselves in the Madonna House. It's a residence for unwed mothers-to-be and/or mothers. Oh, how I wished there had been something like this open to me at the time I was pregnant. But, that is neither here nor there - it certainly is not healthy for me to dwell on the "what ifs" of this life.

As we walked down a hallway, one of the residents came out of her room. A tiny little thing, she was all baby. Completely adorable. She's due anytime and it shows. At that moment, I found myself envious of her condition. I wanted to have that feeling...to know life was growing inside of me and that as a result, life would come from me. During her chat with the other ladies, she mentioned that she never wanted children. Yet, there she stood, about to give birth. I found myself admiring her courage and determination. It wasn't about what she wanted, but rather, about the life growing within. That was a courage I had lacked all those years ago. I smiled at her, but could not bring myself to stay there as a few of the other women did. A sadness came over me and I knew it was because I have never known that completeness nor the courage that she was exhibiting as an unwed mother about to give birth - even if she was unaware of it herself. And, at this point in my life, it's very likely that I will never know the gift of having children of my own. Something that haunts me on a regular basis.

It does occur to me that had I not been to a retreat, I would have left the facility almost immediately with tears filling my eyes. The fact that I did not, in itself, is progress. So, I have to be thankful for the healing works God has placed into my life. The sadness, I fear, is perhaps a cross I shall have to bear. A type of penance. Not a penance that is the lot for all who experience abortion. After all, there are many women who have been able to go on and have children afterwards. No, this is all mine. For me. I'm not quite certain how this will play out in God's overall plan, but I do know one thing. It wasn't God's plan for me to abort my child - that was completely my decision. A decision I must reconcile every day for which I accept full responsibility. Had I not attended a retreat, however, I know full well that this sadness would overcome me and I would not be able to be around my many friends with babies of their own. Babies I love and cherish more than anyone can ever truly know. Babies that are blessings beyond belief.

The journey of healing is not always easy. Even after you've received the tools for that healing. What I do know is that the tools give you the strength to face that sadness and move beyond it. Rather than curling up into a little ball, I was able to accept it and allow myself to experience those feelings. Then, I was also able to move away from it. It didn't consume me and it didn't take me over. There will always be challenging days like that one. Thankfully, I have my faith and the lessons learned at my retreat to help pull me up after being knocked down for a moment. I hope that one day, the sadness will be gone, but for now, I am thankful to at least be able to have the strength to walk through it and not be defeated by it when those difficult emotions come for me. At the very least, it means I am still able to feel and that is a good sign.

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