“The following account was sent to us by a brave woman who wanted to let others know of the great struggles which some expectant mothers face and which leads some to give into the pressure and accept abortion. This mother resisted and fought back against the abuse and gave birth to her children, however the abuse was a primary cause for several miscarriages in the process. I have spoken to many women outside abortion mills who told me they wouldn’t be having the abortion if they had any support. Some have told me of threats of violence against them if they refused the abortion. This unfortunately is common. This brave mother endured physical, psychological and emotional abuse to protect her children. Heroic fortitude. She wishes to remain anonymous however for her children’s and her abusive husband’s sake.”
Living in a tumultuous marriage, oppressed and abused, I remained silent because I was too ashamed of my situation, too embarrassed to seek help, and didn’t know who to trust. After 2 miscarriages, our first child was born. Despite my husband’s insistence on contraception, I chose to disobey his requests, and this only enraged him each time I became pregnant, therefore, several more miscarriages were unfortunately the consequence. I later discovered that my husband had a ‘mistress’ since before we were married, and she was expecting him to divorce me and marry her at some stage, even though we had been married for nearly 5 years by that time. This explained to me why he was so threatened by my pregnancies – he didn’t want his mistress to know of our conjugal relationship, but this was only revealed to me many years later.
While I was still breastfeeding our second child, I discovered that I was again pregnant. This time was not like the other times, where he could beat me to the point of miscarriage, although he did try. He was determined not to have this baby, even if he had to “kill me and the baby” as he threatened to do…or to tell everyone that the baby was not his child, and conceived illegitimately! I was completely baffled, and I just couldn’t understand why he was adamant about not having this baby. I pleaded with his compassion and mercy but to no avail. He drove me to an abortion clinic, and waited in the car for me. This happened in the 1980’s so these ‘clinics’ were hidden away inside doctors’ surgeries and only those who needed to know were aware of their presence. My husband must have been there before, because he knew just where to take me. Once inside the doctor’s rooms, they took an ultrasound as I lay on the table, and I saw my baby’s face turning to look directly at me… I refused to go ahead with anything. They couldn’t stop me as I ran out, thinking of an excuse to tell my husband, so I lied and said they couldn’t do anything for me because it’s too far into the pregnancy already. That just made him angrier and he let out his anger physically and emotionally on me, hoping that he would eventually kill the baby or me.
My mother knew I was pregnant…her only input was that it was my fault for getting pregnant, and why didn’t I just have the abortion? Her reaction didn’t surprise me as much as it hurt me ever so deeply…my own mother couldn’t even support me, and after all these years of turning a blind eye to my abusive marriage, she was still the same. I thought about taking my children and running away from him, but I didn’t know where to run or who to go to anymore…my own mother wouldn’t stand by me. The only option available to appease his anger and threats was to suggest adoption. I never thought he would actually go through with it, and I kept hoping and praying he’d eventually come to his senses. But he didn’t.
My mother was sworn to secrecy and stayed away from us during this whole time. I made the arrangements with the Catholic Adoption Agency. He made sure I stayed locked up in the apartment for the remainder of my 5 months pregnancy, just me and my 2 little girls, running to hide in the bedroom whenever there was a knock at the door, keeping curtains and windows closed as if the apartment was abandoned, and unplugging the telephone line. I turned to education and studies for consolation, and enrolled in a correspondence course, which helped win back some of my self-worth in this lonely prison. My girls and I just ‘disappeared’ until I had the baby – I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I waited for my husband to come home from his night out, during which I had already gone into labour, and I called the ambulance upon his arrival at 5am so that he could stay with the girls. Within two hours my little angel was born. There wasn’t even time for a midwife to assist, and I delivered my baby on my own. I remember how frightened I was, and in my desperation I called upon both Jesus and Mary to help me deliver this baby – Jesus took my left hand and Mary took my right, as I clutched with all my might and pushed to deliver this baby alone. The midwife arrived in time to catch her, and not knowing the pain of my pending heartache, she immediately attached the baby to my breast…words cannot describe the death I was undergoing…this new life I was feeding, was to bring the end of my own life, and I would never be the same again, for as long as I lived.
I remained in the hospital only for one night, as I couldn’t bear to see the other mothers with their babies…while my baby was cast aside in the corridor alone…I just wanted to die. I went to see her for the last time before I left – so many thoughts going through my head…should I just take her and run away? But my husband had threatened that I would never see my girls again if I didn’t go through with the planned adoption…what would happen to them if I did run away? Yet, I couldn’t put her down, and I embraced her ever so tightly, so close to my heart and sobbing into her newborn skin that I almost lost consciousness of what I was doing. The nurse took her away from me, and that was it…she took my life with her…my reason for living went with her…I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was alive, but I was dead, and I had no one to console me, no one to confide in, no one. I felt that even God had abandoned me.
I was angry and hurting so much, but not allowed to show any emotion. I was grieving in unbearable sorrow, but not allowed time to grieve. I was severely depressed, and this became worse when my unused breast milk caused fever and infection that needed immediate treatment by a doctor, and I was forced to relive my worst nightmare to a complete stranger who didn’t even care – all he gave me for my heartache was antibiotics, and a referral to a social worker. Why didn’t I just die? Why did God allow me to live? Why was I even born? Why did God do this to me? Why? Why? Why? But there were no answers for me in this dark and lonely place of despair. I was not loved, I was not cared for, I was abandoned, and my heart was broken. I was truly alone.
One night, sitting alone as usual while my husband continued living his own bachelor lifestyle, I tried to calculate how many tablets of painkillers it would take to kill me, and how I could get the girls to swallow them also, so that they wouldn’t be left behind without me. I couldn’t work it out for sure, and I didn’t want to risk leaving my girls alone in this nightmare, so I just drank myself to sleep. I was in despair. No hope. No support. No life. I couldn’t tell anyone what I was going through because it was all my fault – It’s my fault I married this man, and didn’t listen to all the advice against marrying him; it’s my fault for wanting children when he didn’t; it’s my fault for not seeing all the signs he displayed before marriage… and now I’m the one who has to just put up with my own decisions. I needed God, but I couldn’t find Him…. there was no reason for me to live…no reason except my two babies…and so I resigned myself to living for them. I would do my best to be a good mother if nothing else. I was informed some time later by the social worker assigned to my ‘case’ at the adoption agency, that the parents of my baby had kept the name I gave to her and that she was born with a hole in her heart that required open-heart surgery. How ironic, I thought….she was born with a hole in her heart, and her birth had left me with a permanent hole in my heart that no amount of surgery could ever repair. I didn’t even know if God was listening to me anymore…I had distanced myself from Him, and had only just started to return to regular reception of the Sacraments, thanks to the encouragement of the Legion of Mary within the area. I was on the brink of despair…both my body and my soul needed healing that no doctor on earth could possibly provide. I needed to reconnect and regain my trust in God, despite these feelings of abandonment that would later become my greatest source of strength, when I grew in spirituality.
Seven years later, after more miscarriages and finally running away to a women’s refuge with my two children, there was an opportunity for reconciliation. We would give our marriage another chance, and he promised to mend his path. Within a year of reconciling, we were again pregnant, and since it was the first pregnancy since the adoption, my mind and my body naturally relived all the memories and experiences of that last pregnancy. Sadly, I sank into depression and couldn’t avoid blaming myself for what happened to my previous child. The feelings of guilt overwhelmed me for having a baby that I could now keep, and wondering how I could ever justify this pregnancy to myself. I began to speak with the social worker associated with the adoption…she came to visit me when my depression became worse and strongly recommended that I meet my little angel face to face once I’ve had this baby. The guilt of having another child, and keeping this child, was killing me. I couldn’t bear the sorrow and grief I was experiencing. The only answer was to accept the reality that my baby is now having a life of her own and living with another ‘mother’ and ‘father’. So, I agreed to meet her after I’d had this child.
My new baby boy brought joy back into my life – I loved every minute with him and I would hold him in my arms in the middle of the night, even while he slept, just so that I could be sure he wouldn’t be taken away from me…I thanked God for giving me another chance to hold my own baby again.
The day came for me to meet my little angel for the first time since leaving her in the hospital. She had just turned 7 years old. I had to spend some time on my own before I could face her and her ‘parents’…I cried until I could cry no more….and then I was ready to meet her with a smile and a hug and a kiss … she knew who I was – I was her ‘birth mother’…that’s all I was to her…the woman who gave birth to her…and a sword has pierced my heart from the day of that birth. She showed me photos of herself after the heart surgery, plus other photos of events I had missed. No matter how painful it was to see what I had missed, my heart rejoiced at knowing she had a wonderful life and a loving family. Now I could see that God had never abandoned me, but rather had made a better way than I could have imagined. He gave her life, amidst my tears, which now are replaced with smiles and gratitude.
After our first meeting, we stayed in contact through the social worker, by mail. Eventually, as the years went by, the social worker (after mutual agreement from both sides) allowed us to have direct contact without any mediation…and to this day we meet on regular occasions. She is now happily married, with 2 children of her own…my very own grandsons, whom I absolutely love beyond words. We have been best friends for many years, attending her wedding and the children’s Baptism, and her family has always thanked me for my ‘gift’ to them and accepted me as part of the family. The miracle of God’s Love is ever present in this circle of life. What a blessing to be able to hear grandchildren call me “Nanna” for the first time, without even asking for such a gift. God has surpassed all my desires, bringing life out of death. I thank Him every day for giving me the courage to remove myself from that abortion clinic, and for His bountiful graces to endure the unbearable persecution to follow, and the unfathomable heartache attached. The joy that I feel now, in seeing my little girl alive and well and fulfilling her vocation as a wife and mother, is beyond words. My choice to choose LIFE will always fill my heart with joy, long after the memories are healed and gone, thanks be to God.
~ anonymous mother ~
My life today
Today I live with a structured focus on my prayer life, and everything seems to fall into place, in my heart and in my mind as well. It was a miracle to have survived my life as I had up until this point in time, but it was another miracle to have lived it the way I have, by the grace of God alone. Throughout my life I have seen so much sorrow and pain, too much to recount in this brief testimony, but God has never abandoned me, despite the darkness and the destitution I have found myself in so many times. It was He who gave me the courage to fight in my weakness and to carry on. It was He who picked me up each time I fell and I didn’t want to get up anymore. He urged me to endure the unbearable, and He did this by always fixing my gaze upon His crucified Body on the Cross. In my spiritual journals that I’ve written over the years, I have recounted the miracles He has allowed me to witness. The many gifts He has outpoured into my soul that have drawn me into a divine and intimate union with Him that cannot be explained in words. He has lifted my soul to the heights of heaven, and I could never find the words to describe the ecstasy He embraces me with….He has stooped down from heaven just to console my tears with a brush of His Spirit against my soul in passing, and I have breathed Him into my life and into my very being each time. “Beauty so ancient, and yet ever new…” my soul gasps for air….He overwhelms my existence.
I have never known anything as beautiful as the life of a victim soul. It gives purpose to suffering – redemptive suffering – and to everything under heaven, and overshadows all trials with the radiance of eternal Hope. In my struggles to be faithful to the God who has been eternally faithful to me, I have found ways and means to serve Him without diminishing my service to the duties which He has chosen to place in my care. I have worked to support my family financially as well as emotionally, and maintained my household to the best of my abilities even when in the poorest of health. I have kept my children under my wings, always protecting them, teaching and guiding them, and sharing good and happy times with them. I have exhausted myself beyond human capability to the point where my family doesn’t even know how much I am doing, as long as I am doing all they need me to do for them. After being married to my husband for over 30 years, God found a way to change his heart and draw him back to the Church through the Sacraments. He still has a long way to go before he can even acknowledge the pain and trauma he caused in those years, but all in God’s time.