In her 2021 memoir, Angela Lawrence wrote about the painful emotional aftermath of her abortion.
Pregnant at 16, others convinced Lawrence that abortion was the best choice for her and her teenaged boyfriend. The abortion facility, she says, offered “no other opportunities or options.”
Before her abortion, Lawrence says she was “confident,” “outgoing,” and “fearless.” After the abortion, however, “My fearlessness left, and fear set in, along with guilt, shame, regret, and unworthiness — all the typical signs of trauma.”
After she and the father of the aborted baby parted ways, she married an alcoholic drug addict. She married him when she was still a teen and stayed in the unhealthy and abusive marriage for years, saying, “I truly felt I deserved this because of my carelessness in ending my first pregnancy.”
Lawrence says people she knew expected her to “get over” her abortion and move on. Society, she says, doesn’t give women room to grieve or validate their post-abortion trauma:
Since the abortion, I have always felt like I was missing a piece of myself. But I felt pressured by those around me that I was simply expected to go on about my life, not hurting, not mourning the fact that I once had a life living inside of me, a life no one else would know about except me.
Lawrence tried to repress her feelings, but they haunted her for many years. She couldn’t even say the word “abortion” without crying, and says, “[I]t never got easier or better; I could not talk about the subject, or even read about it without devolving into an emotional wreck… The pain was proof that I was still holding onto my past, thirty years later.”
She had three children, and loved them very much, but motherhood brought no healing:
Having more babies did not replace the one I aborted; it somehow seemed to make it worse. I would look at my three kids, thinking how I had raised them by myself for years; and one more child could not have been that much more difficult.
Lawrence became a Christian, but continued to suffer. She recalls begging God to take her pain away.
Her constant fear of others in her church finding out about the abortion and judging her interfered with her ability to make friends. She says, “Fear has kept me from seeking friendships, from traveling, taking vacations, spending money, and seeking other employment opportunities.”
Then she found out about a Bible study called “Surrendering the Secret” that her church was offering. Through the Bible study, she found healing. She had suffered silently for 30 years before she attended the Bible study.
Lawrence says that the Bible study “dramatically changed my life, and for the first time, I realized I was not alone in my guilt, shame, and regrets.”
The Bible study encouraged her to name her aborted child and hold a memorial service for her. This allowed her, for the first time, to mourn her daughter openly and find closure for her grief.
She wrote her book many years ago, but hid it in a drawer, still afraid of what people would think of her. Over 30 years after her abortion, she finally self-published it, hoping it would help other grieving women and convince other women not to make the same mistake that she did, and choose life for their children.
Source: Angela Lawrence Healing Down the Broken Road to Blessed (2021) 91, 99-100, 1, 2, 83-84
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