All of us are sinners, and we all are prone to cover our works in darkness so that our deeds will not be exposed (John 3:19-20). But we can’t hide our own faults from ourselves, so we have a tendency to rebrand our faults so that they are not faults after all. In other words, our hearts tend to suppress what they know to be true so as to salve our guilty consciences (Romans 1:18). But sometimes, there’s no getting away from the guilt. Even after we do our best to deny the evil of evil, it nevertheless haunts us at a visceral level.
This is common to the human condition, but I have seen it time and again play out in the regrets that women express after having an abortion. Sometimes, the sorrow leads to repentance and hope. At other times, the sorrow leads to a conscience-denying despair that casts a shadow over all of life.
Testimonials such as the one you are about to read are not uncommon—not even from pro-choice women. This one appeared about a year and a half ago as a letter to an advice columnist at Salon.com. The good news for her is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), and that includes women who have had abortions. The Lord’s arm is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1), and my hope and prayer is that this woman will see and believe this news very soon.
Read this. Weep. Pray.
I have always admired your candor and advice, now I am in dire need of some. I apologize if this is lacking in eloquence, but it is honest.
In December of 2010 I had an abortion. It has haunted me ever since.
It was a very early, first-trimester abortion, but nevertheless, I was pregnant and I chose not to continue the pregnancy even though deep down I desperately wanted a child.
I made this choice based on my relationship with the baby’s father, who dropped me off at the clinic and I never saw again, despite having a three-to-four-year, on-and-off relationship. He promised me marriage and more children when we were ready for it, i.e. five or 10 years from now.
His last words to me were, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back.” But that never materialized.
I am only 25 (24 at the time of the abortion), but I am now convinced I missed my only chance to have a biological child. Is that crazy? I haven’t dated, least of all had sex with anyone, since that day. It feels like a part of me died that day and will never return.
I am no longer upset about the end of our relationship (good riddance!) but I am truly disturbed by the entire experience. I have nightmares about my experience at the clinic, though I know they followed every medical and legal step to the T. I wish I could forgive myself and move on, but I just can’t. I wake up every morning and it is the best minute of my life before the knowledge of what happened returns to me and the cycle of sadness and regret begins all over again.
I am a liberal woman and as pro-choice as you can be! Which is even more upsetting!
Can you please offer me advice on moving forward with my life and freeing myself from this unending cycle of regret?
Crushed With Regret