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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why the Pain and Sudden Emptiness?

*Publisher's note: this personal testimony is being reprinted in light of the upcoming vote in South Dakota on Initiated Measure 11 and the recent statement by the American Psychological Association that abortion does not threaten women's mental health.

By Kay Painter
Idaho State Leader
Operation Outcry

“Lucky for you, now days you have a choice!” The words came from a nurse standing as an observer in the examination room. How could I have known the impact they would have on my life? I had just discovered I was pregnant at age 39. My two girls were almost grown, and I had a new growing business that demanded my time and offered recognition and prestige. What would I do with a baby? So I latched onto her words, and after discussing it (convincing), my husband made the appointment, I bought their EASY way out. My counseling was, “Does your husband know? and, “Have you signed the release. Step into a gown; you’ll find it down the hall.”

I am thankful that I have no memory of the abortion, but the instant I heard my baby’s helpless body hit the garbage can, I KNEW! I had just killed my own flesh and blood, an innocent life. I was panic-stricken, the nurse callously told me to “calm down, in a few days all would be back to normal.”

Lucky? Normal? No one forewarned me of the repercussions of an abortion. It was a simple procedure of removing “tissue,” so why the pain, the sudden emptiness? I awoke night after night to the sound of screams, they were mine! I know now my girls heard them from their rooms only to pull the covers over their heads. I wanted to speak with my pastor, but what would he think of me? Here I was sitting weekly in the choir, and yet I had killed my baby. I considered my best friend, but she was a Christian. Would she be repelled and turn away? And to those I knew who were not Christians, they’d most likely tell me to get over it! It’s done all the time. It seemed there was not a soul to share with; I held it all in.

The nightmares continued, the depression got deeper, and I found myself detached from everyone and everything. I prayed for another chance, another baby; and within the next year God gave us a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I was sure the guilt was behind me; God had given me a second chance. The screams stopped, but the nightmare of my “choice” was far from over. I would leave the room when abortion was discussed, terrified people would see it on my face, I found the church community was too “goody-goody for me, so I quit. Church was for people who were good.

The abortion followed me through the next 16 years, bringing isolation, bad choices, horribly ugly divorce, unspeakable shame, terrible loneliness, and a depression to deep so I denied its existence.

Finally when my replacement baby was 16, God, in his mercy, brought me to my knees. As my guilt began to surface while at work one day, I pleaded sick and went home. There are no words to express the deep dark hole I found myself in, no phrase to describe the depth of my despair. God placed it on my heart to drive directly to my doctor’s office, where I was rushed into a private exam room. There I took the first step to healing by “telling.” He set me up with a high dosage of Prozac and a Christian counselor who began seeing me immediately and almost daily for the next three and a half months.

It took every ounce of strength I could muster to tell my ugly secret to my new pastor. Daily, I revisited the pain of my “lucky choice” and the “quick fix” I had chosen years before. It was during this time I rediscovered God’s overwhelming Grace and Mercy to even me, one who killed of my own flesh! Mountains of guilt were removed and tons of shame taken away. I was no longer alone. It was then I promised to help other women in their struggle and that I would be “Silent No More”.

Kay was born to a farmer and his wife, in a small rural community outside of Portland, Oregon. She has two daughters and a son. Kay worked in the floral industry for years, until about three years ago. At that time she promised God, she would share her abortion experience to help others. She has been speaking out ever since. She speaks at ladies retreats, pro-life functions, churches, and anywhere possible. She is a counselor at a local Lifeline Pregnancy Center weekly, and works with Generation Life and Idaho Chooses Life groups locally.

*Reprinted by permission of Operation Outcry.


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