Photo Credit: Gail McNeeley
Prescott, AZ Praise and Coffee Speaker: April, 2011
Met: FBC Prescott
Featured in Praise and Coffee Magazine (October, 2011)
Door Prize: The Shelter of God’s Promises by Sheila Walsh
By Jamie Procknow
At sixteen years old, I was living on my own. The Illinois courts had granted me partial emancipation. I worked two jobs and still went to school full time. It was difficult to relate to my peers because other kids weren’t concerned with car payments or rent and all that went along with it. I looked for anyone who would help repair my brokenness. I was trying to figure out who I was, where I belonged and what I believed. I had very little foundation and no one to hold my actions and choices accountable. I based these solely on my feelings. On matters of great importance, I was fairly clueless. One thing I was taught in my childhood was Pro-Choice. It baffles me still how a child in the third grade could be ready for this subject. My mom was passionate about it. She constantly spoke of this with such fire; perhaps she would feel differently if she knew what I did not.
I was never told that it was a life, a little body, with arms, legs and a beating heart. No one explained that some of the procedures would commence by dismembering and severing and taking apart that body or by administering a poison that the little one would try to flee from. They didn’t tell me about the nerves that would have developed by the time I would be “eligible” to abort, and that the baby could actually feel pain. I was never told about the physical consequences to my body; that it would increase the odds of infertility and many other problems with my reproductive system. The baby’s death left an empty place in my heart forever. No one told explained about the emotional consequences.
I had no idea the ache wouldn’t heal with time. Her void left an emotional infection and it would get worse over the years, not better! Not all women who have aborted babies feel this way. I’ve had women tell me “I did what I HAD TO DO!” I feel this is a survival technique. To realize that you are liable for ending an innocent life is a heavy burden. Adopting this attitude helps them cope.
My mom invested a lot in her conviction. All three of her daughters would abort a baby. From the perspective of a once lost and broken child who is now a parent I have conviction too; conviction to make certain that my children know the truth and that I be diligent in seeking truth! My mom didn’t just state a position once. She spoke it again and again about a WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE! It was effective. It’s here at the “Choice” where it gets hard! The very word “CHOICE,” implies the possibility and optimism where none exists and it is so instrumental in appealing to the masses who support abortion. My baby also might have liked to have a choice! I know several women who I am thankful didn’t make that choice. My mom would be missing out on the grandchildren whom she loves dearly! The fault lies solely with me. It was the worst choice I ever made to ignore the direction of the Holy Spirit within me! I will never forget my abortion. I have spent years haunted by my so called “CHOICE”.
It was my big secret, except for the person who gave me a ride to the clinic. What would people think of me? Ugly adjectives and harsh judgments would dodge my steps. What if they asked about the father? How could I deliver a child? Would they be white or a mix of races? Who would even want to be around me? I didn’t even want to be around me. Also, I had finally just met a nice guy. He was trying to go about dating me the proper way. Would this mess it all up?! He’d drop me like a bad habit! My selfish reasons make me sick to my stomach now. I remember the people who tried to stop me as I went in and something inside me wanted to listen. Inside the clinic, I was handled coldly and abruptly. It still stings today. Of course, I felt that I deserved it all! Etched into my mind is the shock of having the doctor make a derogatory remark to me just before the procedure!
For many years when people heard of my different roles like foster/adopt mom, advocate, volunteer, etc. I would be given a lot of great feedback. It’s nice to hear complimentary things. Do you ever hear mean things in your head? Does someone say you look pretty and then you hear in your head, except that extra 15 pounds I’ve gained; or someone says, you have such a lovely family, and suddenly you think, They should have seen that fight my husband and I had last night; what do these people know?! When someone says, Wow, it’s great that you give these children such a great home! Suddenly from out of nowhere I hear something not audible to anyone else, Yeah, they think you’re so nice. Did you tell them you are a murderer!?
At the time I was initially asked to speak on this at Parkside Church, I had just become the proud mother of what would be my first and only biological child. Joshua was my sixth pregnancy, but the only one living. As is the case for many women who abort I suffered many problems in the aftermath. I lost four other babies besides my aborted child and had many other reproductive health problems too. The doctors diminished all hope after my second ectopic pregnancy. They told me that my problems were too severe and I needed a full hysterectomy.
My procrastination turned into mercy and grace in the form of Joshua. God knows me so intimately! He knew the longing of my heart to produce a child whose heart would beat outside of my body and may perhaps have features I could identify as mine or my husbands. I had fallen into that awful trap of feeling that God was punishing me. This was one of the largest of my spiritual battles. God blessed me with yet another little miracle in Joshua, and all the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy would leave God’s fingerprints all over it! I gave birth to Joshua only one year (almost to the date) before the possibility of conception would have been gone even more so than before because of the cancer that would be discovered in my ovaries.
As a result of this, I was able to look into the face of this little blessing that was ever by my side or in my lap as I began writing about this choice. Sobbing commenced as I wondered if my aborted child would look similar to Joshua. Would the baby have been a boy or girl? Would she know from her place in heaven how sorry I was and that I actually love her? How could I possibly destroy something so amazing?! How could I not have known? I looked down at him as I was nursing. What sin have I committed, what dysfunction in my life, or what self-centeredness, could possibly merit depriving the world of this life! There is no such thing!
Self examination can be a painful process. Looking through the lens of truth can be ugly. Many don’t like to even enter into this process, but it is a critical piece if we desire growth. As I was engulfed in my reflection something strange happened, I realized that I had primarily regarded my baby as an infant. Suddenly, I understood how far away I was from that time in my life and only then realized that my child would have entered their teen years. I began to wander down a mental path of a life extinguished before it began and all the “what ifs” that came along with it! I sincerely understand that I am forgiven but just as it is with many other sins, there are consequences on earth.
A poster on a pro-choice site showed an egg in a frying pan, a silk worm, on oak tree nut, a sperm and egg that are just getting ready to become an embryo. It reads, “This is not a chicken, this is not a dress, this is not a tree and this is not a baby.” How clever and yet horribly misleading! The egg in the pan had not been fertilized; neither the dress nor the tree would ever have a beating heart; the egg and sperm have not come together yet. They wouldn’t want to show the fetus because it is human and takes that shape and form right away and has a heartbeat before a woman even realizes that she is pregnant. Just a slight twisting of truth and suddenly you have found justification to label murder as a procedure. They downplay it so drastically. Has anyone ever gone on YouTube to watch an abortion? My story can save you the trouble. I wonder how many pro-choice have seen it! We should be fully educated, especially when so many children are paying the price of their very lives, because we choose ignorance (sometimes, just so we can be comfortable). Isn’t ignorance nice? We choose it for abortion, world hunger, poverty, AIDS, elder and sometimes child abuse. What do we turn a blind eye to so we can sleep at night?
My foster daughter tells me that while she was pregnant, she felt the weight of people’s judgmental stares. Accountability is most effective when done in LOVE! All of us need grace, accountability and love. Again, this is why I urge you to be transparent and glorify the God who loves you and has forgiven your sins too! Embrace the teen mothers who are doing their best, encourage truth, and spare no detail. For a girl who goes through an abortion, the details WILL NEVER spare her.
Update March 21, 2012: If you would like to contribute to Community Pregnancy Center to help mothers with options and care, click here for details.
The Winner of the Women of Faith Giveaway is: Lisa Notes! Congrats! She won this.