Thursday, December 22, 2011

Birthday Reflections

Tomorrow my beautiful daughter turns ten years old. She is such a perfect soul, a gift from God that I treasure at every moment. I'll never forget the first time I held her in my arms. She was so quiet, her dark eyes slightly open, but looking directly into my own, as though she had known me forever. It left a mark on my soul and transformed me forever. There was no screaming, crying baby like in the movies. Just perfect silence and stillness as mother and child contemplated the miracle that had just taken place between them. Ten years later, I can still feel that moment as I cuddle with my daughter, brush her hair, laugh at her silly jokes, as she laughs at mine. The bond between us is one created by God, it has no words, it has no beginning and no end.

But I wonder, was that really the moment I became a mother? Was it the moment I held her in my arms, or was it the moment she was concieved? Or was it the moment God had created the universe, knowing all that was to be and what was to come? If that is true, than it could not be the moment I became a mother. Because God had already gifted me with a unique, beautiful child many years before Carmella came into this world. But this child never saw my face, and I never saw hers. She was aborted, after living almost 12 weeks in my womb - a unique being, with her own thumbprint and genetic code. But she never took a breath, because she was violently ripped from my womb and killed.

This was over twenty years ago, and I've never forgotten her. I've often wondered what it would be like to have this child. I call this child a "her" only because I feel it brings her some humanity. I don't know if it was a boy. I'll never know. And even though I've wondered about this child, it has only been in the last year, since I first spoke publicly about my abortion, that I have begun to feel the pain. Not the physical pain, but the searing scar on my soul, on my innermost being, the raw pain and horror that cuts through my heart and lays it bare.

I had breakfast with a friend yesterday,and as we were tallking she said, "It must be awful to not know what happened to your baby - to not even know where she is buried." At that moment, I realized with horror, I had never even thought about it. I knew my baby was dead obviously, but I had never thought about how she was treated after she died. Was she thrown into a dumpster? Was she burned with the trash? Was she sent to a company that would use her brutally eviscerated body to create softdrinks and vaccines? I couldn't finish my breakfast, the urge to run and scream was so powerfu.l I had to force myself to stay in my seat.

I cried last night for the first time in years about my abortion. Not because I feel sorry for myself, but because I know that even today thousands of mothers will think they are ending something when they choose abortion, but in reality, their journey is just beginning. A journey of a lifetime of regret, sorrow, pain, and immense lonely suffering. I cried for all of those babies, quietly resting in their mothers' wombs, calm and peaceful, with no inkling of the terror that awaits them. Was my baby in pain? At what moment did she actually die? Why did she have to die? Why didn't I have the strength to say no, I don't want an abortion? Why? Why ?Why? The thought of who Carmella is today - strong, beautiful, confident, talented, funny, pious - it all mingles with the wondering of what her older sister might have done for her on ther tenth birthday. Would she write her a poem? Give her a special book? Take her to the mall, just the two of them?

What I do know is that I couldn't have the strength to speak of this without the incredible gift of mercy and forgiveness that God has given me. He alone has the power to heal. It is He that has transformed my suffering to suffering with Him, and for Him. I am no longer alone. I am so grateful to our Lord for raising me out of the pits of hell and bringing me to Him. If He wills it, perhaps I will meet my child one day. But for now, I will say happy birthday to the incredible child He gifted me and know that somewhere, somehow, her older sister is wishing her a happy birthday too.

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