Monica Walker was a 16-years-old junior in high school when she learned of her pregnancy. Her mother was hurt and angry. Her stepfather was disdainful. Due to a sleeping disorder, her parents stripped from her the idea of her becoming a mother. She had an abortion.
“I remember lying on the table, while they sucked the life of my child out of my body. I remember it sounded like a vacuum cleaner. I was also scared,” Monica told OurWeekly.
It wasn’t her choice. Her stepfather wouldn’t allow a baby in the house and her mother, upset with the pregnancy, told Walker she would be an unfit mother.
“My mom made all of the arrangements for the abortion,” she reminisced. “I remember it was raining that day as we drove back home. I remember looking out the window. The weather matched exactly how I was feeling.”
Abortions seem to be a quick fix for many unwanted pregnancies, but it’s the aftermath that always seems to bring the most pain. Women and even the men involved, suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress, and guilt.
November 7 marks the anniversary of the abortion, when Monica tends to be overcome with sadness. Now 33-years-old, Monica still feels the repercussions of her life changing decision.
“I would like to say that I have healed completely, but if that was the case, then I would probably not be feeling so depressed right now,” she expressed. “There have been times that I have had horrible nightmares.”
Monica was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and felt God was punishing her. Guilt was her stronghold and continued to haunt her.
Sally J. Williams, founder of Urban Life Matters, knows the feeling. Growing up in a Christian home with a promising future ahead of her and a career just getting started, Sally felt pregnancy was not an option.
“I was 28-years-old, grew up in a Christian family. I was successful at my job. I was respected by the elders in the church. I had a boyfriend and pregnancy came along,” Sally said. “My boyfriend had a young child with a disability and I didn’t want to put another burden on him. And I was taught you are supposed to be married when you have your children and that’s how I wanted to bring up my children.”
She decided an abortion was the only option. Another baby would be a burden for her family who was also dealing with the loss of her father and pregnant sisters. Shortly after the abortion, Sally’s relationship with her boyfriend ended.
Feeling alone and afraid to disappoint her mother, Sally cried out to God.
“My abortion situation is what brought me into a personal relationship with God. After… I was in church all my life, I knew about God, I knew about Jesus, and I knew the religious things to do, but I didn’t have a personal relationship with him,” she explained.
For five years, Sally suffered from depression, but didn’t understand why until her career took a totally different direction. After becoming heavily involved with the Crisis Pregnancy Center, she entered a therapy for post-abortion patients. The 12-week Bible based program helps women understand the choice they have made, cope with any psychological issues, and reconnect spiritually.
Sally was convinced her relationship with God had healed her and God had forgiven her for the abortion, so she felt the program was unnecessary.
“When I was in this group, we would go around and talk about our abortion experience,” Sally said. “There was one woman there who said she almost committed suicide. There were women who were addicted to drugs and alcohol, couldn’t get along with their children. Didn’t feel like their other children deserved the love that they were giving them because hey aborted other siblings.”
Sally felt her suffering was not nearly as painful as the other women in the group were, until the chapter on depression came up. She was gaining weight, over working and always wearing black. She said nothing she tried filled the void.
“I was miserable for two or three years, even though I had the relationship with Christ,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t going to go out and fornicate and be promiscuous, I knew I wasn’t going to drink I knew I wasn’t going to do the drugs. But I did those other things when it got to that chapter on depression; I was like oh my God. I needed to deal with my abortion issue.”
Sally now helps young women and couples understand the decision they are making by terminating their pregnancies. She also consults with pastors and other organizational leaders to be more avid about the topic.
“We don’t talk about it in the church, like we have our AA support groups. It’s something that we keep to ourselves,” Sally explained reflecting on the hurting women she counsels. “To see these women, sometimes they come in literally crawling, but there is something within them that wants to be healed.”
Her message to women, men and even family members who have experienced an abortion is that healing is possible. Sally says after counseling and going through the program, women come out like brand new people. Relationships, marriages, and even children suffer from abortions.
This year, Sally plans to publish a book, “I now know,” about her journey of healing. She tells her story and even guides the distressed to a place of peace and freedom. Sally also speaks to groups and congregations about the silent suffering. Visit her website at urbanlifematters.com.