I want you to know I went to Confession tonight [as you suggested in answering my letter to HopeAfterAbortion]. I was terrified. Needlessly.
The priest who heard my confession was not disgusted by me, or angry with me. He never stopped smiling at me even as I revealed my ugliest sins. He was gentle, kind, and loving. Of course, this made me cry. Hard.
He was patient.
He absolved me of my sins. Told me I was worthy of all God’s kingdom.
So not what I expected.
This website planted a seed of hope in my heart that I could really be forgiven. God took it from there.
Thank you so much for being there in a way that didn’t make me feel dirty or contemptible. For making me feel human again.
I was thirteen the first time I was pregnant. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. HopeAfterAbortion saved my life. I don’t know what I would have done without it.
I pray for forgiveness for us all and for our hard hearts to be touched by Jesus Christ.
My child forgives me. This I know by special graces. That is the icing on the cake, because I know that Christ forgave me long ago. Sacramental penance and laying her properly to rest through Project Rachel are invaluable [paths to] healing.
I had an abortion my senior year in high school. I found out I was pregnant and was petrified to tell my family, so I didn’t. My boyfriend at the time said maybe I should have an abortion.
I was so scared and felt so alone in my decision. I called an abortion clinic and skipped school to meet with them. They assured me that I would be alright, and that I had bright future ahead of me, this was just not the right time to have a baby. I trusted them because they were older than me, I really even thought they cared about my well being.
They told me I didn’t have to tell my parents even though I was a minor, as long as I could get it approved through the court system. I skipped even more school and went in front of a judge with my case. He granted that I could have my abortion without my parent’s consent, and I had it the next week.
I was in the recovery room after they finished the abortion and I remember feeling like I was dead inside. I felt lost, suicidal, and not like me anymore. I lost my self esteem, my confidence, I lost Molly!
The adults at the clinic told me I would have a bright future, when in reality I did not want to live at all.
When I couldn’t bare the pain anymore I screamed out to God to forgive me for what I did, and soon after God converted me to Catholicism. Through the ministry of the church I had found hope, guidance, and strength.
Soon I found out about Project Rachel and joined them on a retreat. Here I was surrounded by other women that had gone through an abortion. I was not alone anymore. I left the retreat with a new outlook on myself and the world around me. I loved myself again.
I still have sad times concerning my abortion, but I learned that my baby was with God, and I asked my child to forgive me for what I had done. I named my baby and began praying for him.
Today I am still healing, I still cry, but I can honestly say I love life.
I am driven to be pro life, and I can only hope to make a difference in the world. Abortion not only took my baby’s life, but it almost took mine. I am thankful for the Church and Her ministry, for teaching me to love myself, and to live for God.
I was 18 years old when I found out I was pregnant. With the dreadful advice of my family I had an abortion. It has been 14 years and I never realized how much pain was buried deep within me. The denial was so great that I didn’t know that I hated myself so much. I treated myself horrible because of what I had done so long ago. I allowed people to treat me bad and I felt I didn’t deserve God’s love or forgiveness. Most of all, I didn’t deserve to live a happy life. My wonderful friend told me about Project Rachel. It was hard to get myself to see an advisor, but I became so depressed that I had to do something. I have since completed Project Rachel through the Respect Life [Office] and I’ve never been happier. My journey towards a better life has begun. I finally feel I deserve better things and I know that God wants me to live a happy life. I have asked and received forgiveness from the Lord for what I did and I have made peace with my beautiful baby Ashley.
… If anyone that reads this is even considering an abortion – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t do it! I beg you to find a way to have a precious child that God has blessed you with. I know it might be hard. … Don’t worry, God will bless you and your baby. You will somehow find everything you need. BELIEVE ME if you decide to have an abortion you will regret it for the rest of your life. …
I had 2 abortions; one when I was 17 and the other when I was 22. I lived with the pain and depression caused by those mistakes for over 27 years. I spend most of that time trying to deny that I had any lasting problems from those procedures.
During this time I suffered a major depressions and suicidal thoughts. I felt like I wasn’t worthy to be anyone’s friend or even to be alive.
It wasn’t until I heard someone from Project Rachel tell her story. My husband and I were in our car coming home and I began crying along with the lady on the radio and I knew right then that I needed to grieve and mourn the death of my two children.
I contact Project Rachel and went to a retreat to heal. It was the most extraordinary experience I have ever experienced and I now feel forgiven by both God and myself.
I am a single 40-something woman who chose to have an abortion at the age of 27. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. … I went through it alone, never telling anyone at all. It was many years later, after I had got more active in my Catholic faith, that I began having some memories or little flashbacks about the abortion. I really didn’t think I would ever forgive myself and I just knew God would not either. I was full of guilt, shame, and all the things that are mentioned here on this site. I had a lot of anger at myself, the man involved, and many others as well. I had finally had enough when every time I was at Mass and the word abortion came up in any way, my heart just ached worse each time. I saw Project Rachel listed in our church bulletin many times, but just couldn’t call them for some reason. I guess it was that I thought they would judge me in some way if I did. Something made me schedule an appointment with our seminarian at church, and we met, but for what seemed like forever, no words were spoken, at least by me. Then somehow and without any eye contact at all, and many tears, I finally told someone my story. I was very nervous and anxious and constantly worrying about what he must be thinking about me the whole time. His words could not have been any nicer or more supportive. It was this man who gave me the information for Project Rachel, and when I finally made that phone call, I talked to the woman on the other end for over an hour, telling her things that I hadn’t thought of in several years. There were many tears as well. She gave me names of priests involved in the program. … To shorten this story, I met with the priest, and later another newer priest at my own parish (who was also just ordained the year before) and once again after at least 10 minutes of silence, I poured out my heart again, tears flowing freely, and still felt totally supported by these people. I went to a weekend retreat in Virginia, and the people I met, from both those of us on the retreat and the leaders, could not have been more wonderful. The priest at my own parish, had it not been for scheduling of events, would have been there himself to support me. All of this will never be forgotten by me as long as I am alive. I still struggle with things, but have received much support from my church. Please know that you are not alone, even though at the time you don’t really feel that way at all.
My personal journey of healing began after six long years of the most deafeningly silent pain. Six years of the heaviest regret. Just as profound as my deep need to turn back the clock was my triumphant return to who I once was, thanks solely to Project Rachel.
I remember during those dark years, I would wake up each morning, and for a few brief seconds, all was well. Then I would remember what I had done. The grief was all-consuming. But, like so many other women, I kept it locked inside. I had accepted my fate. I was unforgiveable. The enormity of what I had done actually made my steps heavier. Even my shoulders hung lower. I cried alone almost daily. For brief periods I could take my mind off of it. Sometimes I would even forget long enough to try and enjoy a comedy at the movies, but then mid-laughter I’d remember and my laughing would stop because, well, I didn’t deserve to laugh.
Growing up in a Catholic family that attended Mass every Sunday, I never expected that I, of all people, would be in this situation. I convinced myself that I had committed an unforgiveable act. I felt utterly alone. I desperately needed to connect with other women who were suffering as I was, and I longed to be the woman I used to be. And then one fateful Sunday morning during Mass, my husband handed me a church bulletin, pointing out the words on the back: “Project Rachel — a program for post-abortion healing through the archdiocese.” I couldn’t believe my eyes.
It took me several months to muster up the nerve to call. I had done a fine job of beating myself up for years and I certainly didn’t need the person on the other end of the phone to make me feel any worse. But, when I finally called, it was not like that at all. The voice on the other end was warm and full of hope for me. My journey of healing began on that day that I made that phone call.
Thanks to Project Rachel, I am me again. The retreat allowed me the opportunity to experience God’s love and forgiveness — something I had decided I was not worthy of. Little did I know that God was there, all along, offering me his love.
Project Rachel literally lit the path for me. From the moment I arrived at the retreat house, the warmth of God’s love engulfed me. Furthermore, I was able to connect with other women who knew the despair that I knew, and we were able to experience the joy of receiving the gifts of hope and healing together. I actually feel lighter. The power of forgiveness is life altering. I am happy again, and the people whom I love sense that. I will always regret my decision, and I will continue to carry my quiet secret with me. It has become a part of who I am, but it no longer defines who I am.
In June of 1987, I saw the last thing I ever expected to see — a positive result on a home pregnancy test. I had just turned 18 years old.
I had been raped four weeks before by an acquaintance at my prom. I hadn’t told anyone what had happened to me, and I told no one that I was pregnant. I simply dealt with it on my own. I stood up, went to the phone book, opened it up, and called the first abortion clinic I could find. I didn’t stop to think, to pray, to question. I didn’t consider any other option — I didn’t think I had another choice.
I went to the clinic a couple of weeks later for an abortion. I remember the feeling of complete isolation and utter terror as I sat in that waiting room. I was surrounded by other people, but completely alone.
I promptly put away all of my feelings and thoughts about what had happened to me — the rape, the abortion, the baby. I graduated from college, worked through my twenties, got married, got pregnant with my first child. My pregnancy was joyful but also tinged with fear. I didn’t deserve to have a baby. I had killed my baby — God would take this baby away from me as a punishment.
I went on to have three children. I rocked them to sleep, kissed away boo-boos, pushed them on the swings and caught them on the slide, took them to swimming lessons, soccer, and school. Along the way, I always felt like someone was missing. I thought that loss I felt was that first child. I didn’t realize that loss I felt was God. There was a hole in my soul that could only be filled with God, and I felt separated from Him.
During my thirties, as I was outwardly being a wife and mother, I was also descending further and further into depression, anxiety, and ultimately active alcoholism.
I struggled with alcoholism for almost a decade, looking for help from medical treatment and fellowship with other alcoholics. Nothing was touching it — nothing was helping me put down the bottle and take control of my life. I sought mental health treatment for the trauma I experienced around the rape and the abortion, but I was still suffering, and I was still drinking. It constantly weighed on my mind that I was in a state of mortal sin — I had killed my baby. I needed to go to confession, and so I finally did. Even though my priest granted me absolution, somehow I didn’t feel forgiven. I continued to drink.
I had heard about Project Rachel somewhere, I don’t remember where exactly. Should I call them? I had already been to confession for my sin, how can this be something different? I just hoped and somehow felt that it was.
I finally summoned the courage to contact Project Rachel. I got a call back from a beautiful woman, who simply and lovingly talked to me as if I were worthy of her time, and her help. What a gift!
I attended a one-day retreat in May of 2009. I was a mess, sick with fear and anger. I even took a few drinks that day to get myself to the retreat. Sitting in a room with other women who were in as much pain as I was, hearing their stories, sharing my own out loud, was an indescribable relief. I didn’t know I could say, out loud, that I had had an abortion and have those words be met with acceptance and understanding.
I thought I was sitting in a room with other women. I really was sitting in a room with God, loving me and welcoming me home. His presence was manifest in the physical presence of the others in the room. It was a full circle from the day in 1987 when I sat in an abortion clinic, completely alone.
I didn’t know it then, but that day at the Project Rachel retreat was the beginning of my journey back from the depths of alcoholism. Slowly, with work on my part, and help from others who suffer from the same spiritual malady, I found myself on the path to sobriety and in a relationship with God. I have found peace and forgiveness and mental wellness.
I know that my child is with God. I know that my living children and my husband and I are also with God. We are all together today, in God’s hands. I hold that child and my children in my heart every day, and I am grateful for Project Rachel for bringing me to this place of peace.