Starting a Domino Effect

As difficult a decision as it was to have an abortion when I was 29 years old, an even harder decision was to choose to divorce. Because of my deep Catholic roots and truly believing that, like everyone else in my family, I would stay married “until death do us part,” I never imagined myself in a position to make that choice.

It is just over four years since my divorce has been complete, and I only recently realized a key reason I was in denial about needing a divorce for many years. My husband was the father of the baby that I aborted. Although the abortion was something we were not able to talk about, divorcing meant that I would lose my connection to only other person involved in that hard choice. 

My ex-husband and I did not talk about the abortion after the conversation we had in the hospital the day I found out I was pregnant. ( ). We did not talk about it the day we drove to the clinic, and we didn’t talk about it when we left. It wasn’t until we decided the time was right to start a family four years later that the subject came up, and then, only briefly. 

It wasn’t easy to get pregnant when I finally did choose to! We had a difficult time conceiving – imagine that after getting pregnant while using birth control! I wondered if the abortion had anything to do with our difficulty. After a quick conversation and a bit of research, we determined that was not possible. A few months later I became pregnant and so began another period of suppression. 

Despite our lack of emotional connection on the subject of the abortion, because of our bond in other ways as husband and wife, cutting those cords through divorce brought a finality and deeper feelings of isolation about that experience. 

It was only in watching a friend go through a similar process last year that I was finally able to see for myself how this was true for me. Sharing our stories in safe spaces with those we trust and love helps us to see the resonance of experience for ourselves. It can be hard to see beyond the branches of the trees in our own world, but as we look at the trees and even the forest of the world of those we connect with, our scope of vision expands. As I looked at the forest of my own beautiful friend’s sadness, I saw for the first time a large part of my own.

Healing from abortion truly is like peeling the layers of an onion. There are so many layers of experience to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. As we work through the healing process, and especially when we do the work together, we bring healing not only to ourselves, but to the lives of those we open up to.

Thank you, my friend, for helping me to heal a little bit deeper. Your openness allowed me to further deepen my own healing and understand myself in a more significant way. May we start a domino effect for the millions of others who need to hear our stories.


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