This entry was sent to us from a blog reader - and outlines some of the painful ripples that abortion brings...
It was around midnight several years ago that I sat hunched over my computer keyboard, the light from the monitor illuminating the dark room. A message popped up from my daughter P. She asked how I was, I responded that I was well and asked how she was doing. She told me she was worried about her brother G, but angry with him too, saying he had been nasty to her lately. I sighed. I knew it was true. Then she said she needed to tell me something. Inwardly I froze. No mother wants to hear these words from her child, especially over an internet connection in a dark room late at night.
My daughter is a terrible typist so waiting for the next message, which I was sure was going to contain bad news, was endless. Finally I read: "I want to tell you something about M (my son's wife) but you have to promise never to talk to anyone about it or M and G will never speak to me again if they find out that you know - they don't even know that I know. Also I am afraid to tell you because you might treat them differently when you hear this." I promise P I will keep her secret, having no idea what she is about to divulge.
P had hinted previously that she knew something about M but I had decided to wait for P to tell me in her own time. M has always been a bit secretive but I chalked that up to the fact that I was her mother-in-law and we didn't have the sort of relationship where she confided anything to me. The next message from P tells me something disappointing about M but then another message pops up. It reads: "but there's more." I decide that since we've gone this far I might as well plunge in all the way.
I type: "she had an abortion?"
There's no hesitation in the response. The single word "yes" pops up on my computer screen.
And all of a sudden everthing starts to fall into place. The outburst by my son towards a family member who innocently asked if he and his wife were planning to start a family soon, the estrangement from certain family members, the abrupt move half way across the country and the ongoing prickly attitude towards me, his father and his sister. I feel an icy hand close over my heart. I ask my daughter how she came to learn this information but I know I don't need to check her sources - she couldn't lie if her life depended on it. My daughter feels better now that she has unburdened herself but now I must carry this Cross - the knowledge that my first grandchild is dead. I want to split in half and cry forever.
Instead I begin to blame my daughter-in-law for what has happened and as time goes by I nurse this grudge until I can no longer look at her photo or speak to her on the phone. It's easy to get out of speaking to her on the phone as she has a very soft voice and I have trouble listening to her due to my hearing problems. Since she and I were not close to begin with this new pattern emerges of only speaking to my son when he calls.
As the weeks go by I try to piece together the fragments of information that P has given me and I determine that M became pregnant about nine months before her and G's wedding. This hurts me even more as it feels like she has chosen her expensive white dress and a big party over her unborn child. My anger and resentment continue to fester. I might have found relief if I could have confronted M and G but I had promised P I would not. By now my husband also knows what has happened. He is so ashamed he literally forbids me to talk to anyone about it. We are also terrified that our already strained relationship with M & G will break for good if we confront them even though we would tell them we forgive them.
Being a Christian I keep telling myself I don't hate my daughter-in-law, I hate what she did. I tell myself that God loves her and made her in His image. I tell myself that she didn't choose to abort but that she felt she had no option but to abort. Except that I cannot accept that, no matter how hard I try. My husband and I would have taken that baby in if my son and his wife couldn't care for him. We would have kept him forever or given him back when his parents wanted him. We would have given them money, support, anything to help. But they never asked us.
As the years go by I step up my commitment to ProLife. I want to spare other people the pain I have experienced. I want the babies to live. I volunteer at a pregnancy centre and join prayerful endeavours like Life Chain. Every time we hear a sermon against abortion I want to stand up and cheer - except that the sermons always encourage us to reach out in love and mercy to the post-abortive mothers and all I want to do is shake the living daylights out of my daughter-in-law. I want her to hurt as much as I do. I want her to tell me she is sorry. It's probably a good thing she lives half way across the country from me.
Finally I reach a point where I can no longer sustain this level of personal misery. And it's then that Abby Johnson comes into my life.
Abby Johnson once worked for Planned Parenthood. It was after she assisted at an abortion that she finally came to the realization of what she had long suspected. Abortion was killing babies. She left Planned Parenthood and wrote a book about her transformation from "prochoice" to ProLife. I bought her book and read it in one day. It resonated with me on every single level even though I had never had an abortion myself. More than anything I wanted to participate in 40 Days for Life, the prayerful vigil that had done so much to convert her.
Within two weeks a lady at my church announced we were going to participate in 40 Days for Life. My heart jumped and I was one of the first ones to sign up! My husband, while supporting the cause, was very concerned that I would be assaulted in front of the clinic while holding my 40 Days sign. I asked him "what if some lady had been standing in front of the clinic the day that M and G went to her abortion appointment - what if her sign or her smile or her words caused M to reconsider the abortion and carry the baby to term?" He didn't stop worrying but he didn't ask me to stop going either.
The 40 Days for Life campaign took place while the weather was damp and cold. Some days it rained, some days the wind blew through my coat. But slowly as the earth moved towards Spring my heart began to thaw a little along with the ground. I spent many hours on the front lines praying for the mothers and their unborn babies. Sometimes I thought of my grandchild. I know he is in Heaven and prays for his mom. He's forgiven her. I know I must too.