“After today, you’ll be as good as new. You’ll never have to think about it again.”
That’s what the nurse said to me when, at the tender age of sixteen, I showed up at a clinic—pregnant, unmarried, and terrified. She said after they removed the “tissue” inside me, I could “move on” with my life. I nodded numbly. Her words echoed what my mom had said, so it had to be true, right? I allowed myself to swallow the lies and repeated the refrain, “I’ll never have to think about this again.”
Decades have passed, and I can assure you, every day I think about the child I allowed to be “removed” by an abortion doctor. Every. Single. Day. And let me tell you something else. Since going public about my abortion, I’ve spoken with too many women to count who say that the greatest regret of their lifetime is the same as mine: the choice to abort a baby.
Guilt and shame plagued me for years. I felt in my bones that what I had done was wrong. I told my husband, but otherwise I kept it hidden. It even cast a shadow over the joys of pregnancy and new motherhood. I hoped nobody would notice how it haunted me.
I told myself I’d made the decision when I was young. I had been in a tough spot, after all, and lacked guidance. What did I know? Still my secret tortured me. The shame grew and grew. I finally confessed it when I was facedown in the backyard. That’s when Jesus met me in my brokenness and forgave me. He brought me into his loving light. Now I no longer live in shame, hiding my past. I’ve handed it over to Jesus to redeem—my past, my present, and my future. His redemption is still happening every single day.
Not everyone who has had an abortion reacts exactly as I did. Some respond with anger. They might even resent anyone who, like me, opposes the practice of abortion. This is often true of women who’ve been objectified, discarded, and expected to “handle” the situation on their own. For someone who has been controlled and dominated, the last thing they need is for a person to get up in their face and heap on more shame.
I don’t offer shame. Many of us have had enough shame for a lifetime—more than enough. What I extend is what I’ve been given: the promise of redemption.
It was a choice, yes. It was the worst choice I ever made. However, because Christ died for me, I’m free from the guilt that once plagued me. I didn’t “earn” this freedom. It was bought at a high price and given to me as a free, though costly, gift. Nobody can earn this gift. Jesus gives it not because we are good, but because he is good.
That’s why I share my story. I want to see hearts changed and set free. It’s what lights me up and makes me roar.
To this day, talking about my abortion is difficult. It was one of the darkest days in my life—perhaps the darkest of all. I believe I will be reunited with my unborn child in heaven someday. I truly do. And I have no fear about what will happen if people learn about my “secret.” I tell my story, believing that in God’s hands it is being redeemed. My story can be of help to others. That’s absolutely clear to me. I’ve seen evidence of that time and time again.
I want pregnant women to be assured of the love of God. Anyone blessed to have a life created within her has been shown favor by our God! The people around you may not be helpful, but there are people and organizations ready and waiting to serve women with unplanned pregnancies. Embrace Grace is one of our favorites, but there are many where dedicated, loving people serve daily with compassion. I tell the women I talk to that they can be supported and cared for. Do they have a choice to abort? Yes. But that choice comes with consequences far too heavy for any woman to bear. In the midst of a crisis, an “end” to the pregnancy can be appealing. But I personally know that aborting an unborn child is the most difficult and complicated choice. Choose life. Not just for your child, but for yourself!
There’s another reason I share my story, and that’s for those suffering under the weight and shame of having had an abortion. God has graciously helped me to heal spiritually and physically. I want them to see that healing is possible! We’ll never forget, as the nurse falsely assured me, but we can experience joy again. As I share my story, I see women’s eyes light up in hope when they see a way forward.
If you struggle with the aftereffects of trauma, as I did, please know that God loves you. If you let him, he will draw you close. He will enfold you in his loving arms. He will take away your burden and shame. He will set you free.
Lisa Robertson appears with her mother-in-law Kay Robertson this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from Sister Roar by Kay Robertson and Lisa Robertson. Copyright ©2022 Kay Robertson and Lisa Robertson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.