I had two abortions. They weren’t “crisis pregnancies.” They weren’t “unplanned pregnancies.” They were simply unwanted.
I was a teenaged girl living with her boyfriend, playing house. Our “unplanned pregnancies” were nothing more than “not planning ahead and being responsible pregnancies.” I didn’t use birth control.
So abortion became my birth control.
1987 was the first time I had ever heard the word fetus. When the nurse said it I asked her what she meant . . . “The tissue in your uterus, dear.” They never called it a baby.
I didn’t have a sonogram. I never heard the heartbeat. Options were not discussed. Doing the math we knew that I was 11 weeks pregnant. The second abortion was at 13 weeks.
I felt so ugly. I felt so ashamed. I felt so angry. My crying woke me after my first abortion, screaming, swinging my arms . . . eventually landing a solid slap across a nurse’s face.
I lost a part of me that day. No . . . I got rid of a part of me.
Tears streaming down my 16 year-old face. Snot dripping from my nose. Feeling the blood gush out of me as I attempted an escape.
Realizing there are other girls in the same room recovering from their abortions, they’re all staring at me, and I hate every one of them. I hate them for seeing me; for knowing what I had just done.
Yet all that turmoil, all that pain, did not stop me from being a repeat offender the following year. I was the “Oh, you’ve been here before” patient during check-in.
This was the abortion that left several more scars. Emotionally, mentally, and physically. Scars that would begin to heal but my guilt was so strong that I wouldn’t allow them to.
The very moment I’d spot healing I would peel the scab back just enough to reveal the reality of what I had done. I didn’t deserve to heal. I deserved the pain.
I made myself pay for it every single second of every single day.
And no one could offer help because I told no one. It was my burden to carry—it was my wound to own.
Oh, but how it owned me.
If I allowed myself to forgive my actions then that would mean I’d have to let it go. But it was all I knew. What would I turn my attention to? It became my identity, my false security. Even in the dysfunction of my thoughts, it was my normal, it was my self-imposed prison sentence I would have to live out.
I had no healing because I had no hope. Hope. HOPE.
It was my burden to carry—it was my wound to own.
Some of you may be thinking around about now, “That girl needs some Jesus!”
Yah, this girl was missing her some serious Jesus. He would be my missing link to healing and hope.
Still, even after recognizing my need for him, at age 19, I spent several more years in that same self-destructive pattern. Too afraid, too ashamed, too damn prideful to loosen my grip on me.
It was all about me. The abortions, the punishment, and the grave of regret I was digging were all about me.
I eventually got married and gave birth to my first child. One of the hardest things for me to talk about still is how I briefly hated my firstborn. I hated her for reminding me of what I had done. I hated her for looking like what my other two babies may have looked like. All she did was remind me of the pain.
Five months would pass before I’d completely snap out of my self-pity.
In short, God had had it up to His holy ears with me. He struck me to the ground. Literally. I fell to my knees in a visceral heart pain like nothing I had experienced before. It was a soul-deep firm grip to my shoulders as God’s hands rested heavily on me and we had it out, oh-yes-we-did.
Yelling at God I told him I would not confess my secrets to a soul nor would I forgive myself. I was not willing to disturb the “peace.”
God: Oh? This is peace? Look at yourself, Tam. You’re a mess. You have snot all over your face, you can’t even stand from the weight of your guilt. You live in constant fear of being found out. I let you have a beautiful daughter and you resent her. THIS is peace?!
The day I left Planned Parenthood after my second abortion they told me to give it a few days and I’d be back to normal.
No. Nothing was ever normal again. They don’t prepare you for what’s to come. They don’t tell you how this will forever affect your life and the lives around you. They don’t prepare you for the depression. The self-harm. The physical consequences.
They take your payment, they take your baby, and you leave a part of your soul there.
Had it not been for that holy whoopin’ from God, I sincerely believe I might not be here today.
My choice to abort my babies wrecked way too many years. I can’t get those babies back. I can’t hit “undo.” But God gave me back something. He gave me Hope. If not for His unrelenting love, forgiveness, and grace I would be a hopeless mess today.
I didn’t find healing. Healing found me.
Tam has written a book about her experiences called And Now I Choose.