The person I’ve had to forgive the most has been myself. For all the mistakes I’ve made and for my own role in the trauma I have experienced. It’s not a matter of blame or accepting a victim role. I am not a victim, nor am I powerless. I have come to understand the person I was that allowed such trauma to occur. I’m a different person now; someone I respect, someone I am proud of. I have become the woman I hoped I was (and never believed I could be). She was always in me, and she was able to emerge when I allowed myself to feel the pain I had inflicted upon myself and found my own forgiveness.
A few years ago I was at a major crossroads. It was an exciting time in my life for I had embarked upon an adventure I had dreamed of for 10 years. I had a partner, no responsibilities, and the open road ahead of us. I left my career as a therapist, moved to Hawai’i for three months, and returned to the mainland for a road trip around the country. We were doing it Jack Kerouac style (minus the freight trains and hitchhiking). We had no home or concrete plans. We shuttled our measly belongings on an Amtrak train New Year’s Eve and arrived excitedly the next day, ready to become van dwellers. I had faith and it was all I needed to start the journey.
In a matter of days I bought a sweet van and a book on van dwelling. An unexpected miracle happened a few days later: I learned I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed with joy and believed, without a doubt, my partner would be as well. I was dead wrong. When I told my partner he was far from excited, and looked scared in a manner that indicated dread, not normal nervousness or surprise. Even though I knew my partner was not happy, I promised myself that I would have the baby with or without him. Then I broke that promise.
As days passed, I became fearful, confused, deeply sad, and lonely. My partner wanted to keep the pregnancy a secret and suggested an abortion. My mind was reeling and cloudy. Somehow I began to entertain the idea of an abortion. Fear of being alone overtook my mind and I began to believe that an abortion was the right answer. A kind of relief began to shape, as if deciding to have an abortion would make everything that felt bad, everything I had caused, go away. I could fix this. No one will feel bad if I fixed it. I’ll have an abortion and we’ll embark on our road trip as if nothing has happened. We’ll be together. He’ll be happy. He’ll be happy with me again. I’ll fix this. We’ll be normal again. I won’t ruin his life or mine. No one will know. I have plenty of time to be a mother. We’ll do it together one day. Later.
I’ll never forget the abortion, or the emotional and physical pain of the procedure. I wanted it to be a dream and for my partner to tell me I didn’t have to do it. I wanted him to stop me; to know how much I wanted to be a mother and to stop me from making the biggest mistake of my life. He didn’t stop me and he paid for it without blinking an eye. We sat in the clinic for most of the day. I turned off everything that was me. I don’t know who I was sitting in the clinic. I dissociated and blocked the abortion out of my mind in order to continue the road trip. The trip continued and seven months later I broke up with my partner. However, after a few months of aimless wandering, I returned to him. I didn’t know what else to do.
A Path to Healing
Everything happened exactly right for my healing. When I returned to him, I began a new life and started my first business. My saving graces were becoming an entrepreneur, my therapist, and the unwavering support of my friends. I began to build up my confidence as a human being and the floodgates finally opened.
With my therapist’s help, I was vulnerable and began to tell more people about the abortion, including my mom. That was a turning point. She showed me unconditional love and support. The grief was all-encompassing and I allowed myself to feel it. With support, I began to shed shame and guilt and I hated myself less. I began to be more assertive with my partner about how much responsibility he held in the decision. The point of returning to him was to grieve, to feel everything I had suppressed, and to finally sever ties with him. I needed him to witness my grief and for me to witness his. Finally, I mustered the courage to leave him and move to my true home, Portland, Oregon, to start an empowered and inspired life.
Here are the things that helped me to heal:
- Allowing myself to grieve and feel all my emotions
- Learning to listen to my intuition
- Seeking help from healers (Energy Workers, soul retrievals)
- Positive meditation, affirmations, visualizations
- Focusing my attention on positive and impactful activities such as running my business
- Love from friends and family
- Helping people
- Forgiving my former partner and myself
Forgiveness allowed me to know that I did nothing wrong. I know I can get back on the path to motherhood at anytime. Forgiveness has paved the way to a daily practice of gratitude. I am thankful for all of my experiences. At first I had deep regrets for having an abortion. Forgiveness has eradicated those regrets. Living with no regrets is the greatest gift I have given myself.
This story has been a coming up for me and I’ve written this piece for both of us, sacred reader.
Thank you for holding space for me to share. There is hardly anything out there that speaks honestly to the painful experience of an unwanted abortion. Many women feel liberated upon making the decision to have an abortion, but there are also women who feel shame, guilt, and deep regret. This piece is for those women. I hope this lets you know you are supported and understood. You are not alone.
I invite you to contact me so I can hold space for you regarding your abortion decision. I offer you a non-judgmental and understanding space honoring the complexity of your decision. Please email me or call at any time: email@example.com, 503-885-4807.
Many blessings to you on your forgiveness journey.