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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 ::

With permission, excerpts from the email of a wounded dad:

"Today I am obsessed with the damage that abortion brought into my life. I don't think I was so obsessed for many years, but it came to the forefront of my mind a few years ago and has not left.

I've often wondered what it would be like to talk to someone who had their closest family members brutally murdered to see if they also struggled with the obsession. Or maybe to talk to parents who have lost all of their children born to them prematurely due to a terrible tragedy. I, too, have been to some Christian based post abortion healing programs and got a lot out of them, but not the seeming 'cure' that some think I should have. I know how well meaning some of the ladies are about their ministry, and I can never take away the good works they really do.

My abortion story:
I was 26 at the time and had a pretty severe problem with drugs and alcohol. I was also quite promiscuous and not the kind of gentlemen I thought I should be because I was of a split mind (spiritually not mentally). Even though I had a girlfriend in another town I had been seeing publicly for over a year I met and fell in love with this young girl at the college I attended. I had cheated on my girlfriend before but it was always the meaningless hookups found in bars that, at the time, I could dismiss inwardly. I didn't expect to fall in love with someone other than the dutiful girlfriend I thought I should marry. But I did.

I couldn't very easily dismiss such an affair. After many weeks of really sweet talks, walks, and simple exchanges of affection we both found ourselves willing to completely consummate the relationship after a night of drinking. Romantic, eh? It only took one night.

Weeks later she calls me up and says she needs to see me and talk. I did have a little apprehension, but not about what I would soon hear. Nothing I had ever thought of could have prepared me for the news that she was pregnant. If you had asked me what my reaction would be just hours before, as a hypothetical question, of course, I doubt I would have told you I wanted to be a father.

After she spoke for a while, and I sat in stunned silence, the only thing I could say was that I would support her and the child no matter what. Abortion wasn't really in my sphere of reality then. I wanted to do the honorable thing in that instant--that was a shock to me as well as to her. She quickly realized that I didn't 'get' that she was scared and was asking me to help her with an abortion. I didn't know what to say, so she said I could have a day or so to think about it.

My next move after leaving her was to go to a bar and have several beers while I pondered the reality breaking over the top of my head. I was a father, and I got that from those words: 'I'm pregnant.' The question before me in that moment was 'Do I want this child?' to which I unhesitatingly was saying yes.

I had plenty of experiences that had shaped that reality and desire, even if I had been reckless and careless with it. I had an older sister who had miscarried several times before giving up and choosing to adopt just the year before. I had heard many stories of other young couples who were trying to have kids and couldn't; I knew the ability to conceive is not a sure thing.

That night, and the next day I expressed my desire to be a father to her child, our child, if she would only consider it. But I also, for some strange reason, told her I would support her decision whatever it was--even abortion. She let me know that she didn't like the idea but she was going through with it, and she couldn't let me talk her out of it; she didn't want to hesitate any longer.

I came by to stay with her that evening after the procedure. I remember earlier in the day staring at the clock when it was supposed to happen and wondering what it would feel like when my child died, if it would feel like anything at all. Due to my drug and alcohol soaked brain such a wonder was a novelty since I had been trying to avoid and escape such inward glances and emotions for years.

No, no spooky winds blew or bells rang. Nothing really happened that I could tell when my child disappeared from life on earth. But I knew. I knew. My conscience had been pricked in the most severe way. The drugs and booze didn't have a chance at covering up the facts for me to face over the coming days, weeks and months.

Tragedy didn't stop with this one child of mine in the years that immediately followed. I went on to father a child, lost to miscarriage, with the first girlfriend after reconnecting with her briefly. Sadly, I was driven to reconnect with the girl who aborted my first child about 18 months after that, and despite my best attempts to avoid the situation she became pregnant and aborted again. By the time these additional two losses had happened I was sober and working a recovery program. I remember just how much I prayed to God to not let me go through the anguish again. I certainly didn't blame myself for the miscarriage, and the second abortion I made clear that I opposed and would not support such a choice.

God is graceful, I suppose, for over a decade I didn't have to deal with that anguish and loss. My life was very narrow, and I didn't date to speak of. I daydreamed about a future where all would be all right and thought it would just happen. I thought in time I would marry and have kids and I could finally be rid of this stone tied to my heart. But that never happened. I wondered why.

Up until 'the great implosion of 2005' [when I found out that the woman who had aborted two of my children was pregnant with her 'first' child] I still clung to the notion that I genuinely supported 'her choice' which is code for her right to abortion. I don't today.

I don't think she had a right to kill our children, and I know she was wrong for doing it. I also know what part I played in making the deaths of those two children possible, right down to not being able to keep my you know what in my pants! The latter part I recognized way back when it happened and have dealt with it in both good and not so good ways. I did quit screwing around. It's only recently that I can see I was literally protecting my sperm from the awful fate of reproduction turned tragic. It was the only power that I had.

I've struggled in the last few years with the burden thinking it isn't supposed to be there, but slowly I've realized that it is. My thorn, my stone to roll, my cross to bear. Back when it first all happened I became extremely suicidal and that did have the benefit of creating an early and low bottom for me as an addict.

It is one thing to look forward to life's end when so many mysteries will be worked out, but it is another to simply want to stop life to stop the questions. In 2005 it all burst so suddenly into my consciousness that it was unbearable. But in striving to understand and to seek out others it has become more manageable.

Maybe giving it to God is something like working out with weights and God only helps assist in the lift but still expects us to use as much of our own strength as possible. I know I can't simply wish it away, say some magical prayer, or take some series of steps and find the pain and struggle simply dissolves, it doesn't. If I could have gotten 'over it,' whatever that means, I am sure I would have.

Like you I have had to fight hard to find answers that I can live with and accept. I had to confront the silly ideas I had planted in me by magazines and radio, television, the kid down the block, the world at large. It isn't natural for me to agree with conservative religious folk but on the issue of abortion I certainly do, and quite a few other things as time has rolled along.

There are bad events in a person's past that can seem trivial after working through them, but the loss of a child in circumstances like abortion is in a different league. It changes people, or at least it changed me. I do know what part I played and having accepted my responsibility for that has helped. But my spirit is deeply broken. I can never have those children or that family, it is gone.

I have fought being present to my own feelings this past year. Partly because of my anger at her and feeling like it is her turn to grieve. I know I need to forgive, and it is something that I work on each day. Sometimes I feel glimpses of it, but many days I retreat into anger.

Always the obsession with what happened long ago hangs over me. I try to cover it with my jacket and hat when I go out each day. Most people don't know about it. But I know. I know."

:: ashli 10:06 AM # ::

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