For Emmanuel

Author: Christine
Baby Name: Emmanuel (God is with us)
Birth Date: February 1976
Abortion Date: June 1975

I never chose to abort. When my pregnancy test came back positive, I was actually pretty happy. I fell brutally from my cloud when my boyfriend told me he would leave me if I kept the baby. I was terrified that I would lose him, afraid to face this alone. I was also frightened of what my father’s reaction would be if he learned I was pregnant. I accepted the abortion. I was too scared. I was 19.
It was 1975. Abortion had just become legal in France. First we had to have a meeting at a family planning center. There were other couples. I do not remember much from this meeting. I was from another planet, disconnected from the world around me. The abortion itself was in a strange clinic in Montpellier.
I had to stay the night before the abortion, and I shared a room with several other girls in the same situation. One was there for her fourth abortion. In the middle of the night I had a terrible panic attack. I yelled, cried, screamed. The doctor came and tried to reassure me, telling me that it was just a teeny tiny cell, no bigger than a pinhead, nothing. My roommates also tried to calm me down. I was in my worst nightmare, I wanted to flee. What was I doing here? I felt like a prisoner, completely helpless.
The next morning, they put me to sleep for the abortion. I didn’t see anything, didn’t feel anything. I just remember waking up sobbing, the nurse trying to comfort me. The rest is very blurry.
I was still crying when my boyfriend came to pick me up. He tried to comfort me too, by saying that we would have other children.
I shut down my pain, my tears, and my nightmare, in a tightly closed box that I buried at the bottom of my heart.
My boyfriend and I continued to live together as though nothing had happened. We never talked about it.
We got married a year and a half later. It seemed like nothing had changed in our lives. Problems started after our daughters’ births. I experienced more and more unexplained resentment towards my husband, I became OCD: the house had to be spotless, everything at its exact place. I also was hyper protective of my daughters.
I started having panic attacks at night when my husband was away for work. It was terrible, I had no one to talk to and I couldn’t explain these panics. Finally, I decided to see a doctor. After my fifth visit, I was vacuuming our daughters’ bedroom when I found a teeny plastic baby doll on the carpet. That’s when I understood where my panics came from: the abortion that I had buried so deep.
Sometimes I was surprised to not ‘feel’ love for my children, my husband, as if I was becoming more and more insensitive. I couldn’t revisit our past, our story. I couldn’t talk about it. I rejected all these memories. They were disgusting.
When she turned 8, our oldest daughter started to also have terrible panic attacks each time we had to travel. It made her physically sick. I took her to a counselor who, after talking to each of us separately, made me confess on the spot our abortion to our daughter. She said that Mathilde knew in her subconscious that something had happened before her birth.
My healing has come about little by little during these 39 years. I am certain it is not over and will continue until the day I die. Confession was the first step. Then I experienced in a very strong way God’s love for me in 1982. It led me to return to Church, to rediscover my faith. My husband followed two years later. We met an organization that helped us name our baby, helped us talk about the abortion. Several years later we participated in a Rachel Vineyard’s retreat.
I can honestly say that I didn’t experience a big healing but several small healings, one after the other.
34 years after the abortion, the box at the bottom of my heart started to crack. While my husband was gone on a trip, I had the ‘revelation’ of the state of suffering he was in when we met in 1974. He had just lost his mother from cancer, his previous girlfriend had imposed an abortion on him, and she had just left him to marry another without even telling him. He was terribly wounded when I met him.
After his trip, during the Christmas mass of 2009, I was finally able to cry for our baby. The wall I had built around my heart fell and I could again feel the same amazing love I had felt for my husband at our beginnings, but stronger, purified, deeper. I could let love engulf me again, I could learn to give myself, I could cry again. It took time, but now I love our story, our past, despite everything that has happened and I know deep down that I am forgiven, healed, loved. We will ache for this baby for the rest of our lives, but I know our baby has forgiven us and is waiting for us, praying for us.
I have decided to be silent no more because everything they say about abortion is a lie. No, it doesn’t help women, no, it is never a solution, yes it is terrible! It destroys a child and his parents with him, deeply and for a very long time