…and why I am high on ‘heart’ and low on ‘head’ when it comes to conversation about abortion, both spontaneous and induced .(I originally posted this in January 2015)
I have two abiding memories of my two miscarriages.
The first is of the doctor saying to me,’I’m afraid you have lost the, er, foetus.’…and then turning to the nurse and saying,’Put that in the sluice.’
My second memory is of lying in a hospital bed and realizing that I had hemorrhaged badly, while also realizing that another patient had been admitted as an emergency in the next bed.She was surrounded by hospital staff and screens, so I couldn’t see her – but I heard every word.This patient was 17 years old and she was in considerable pain following a recent botched abortion.She was advised to have a cauterization of the cervix, and she agreed to that.
Another nurse approached our beds, and I asked her for help with my own predicament.She changed the sheets and so on and then told me I couldn’t have another painkiller because I’d already been given the strongest drug they had – sodium amytal. After I told her that I had been given no drugs at all, she checked it out with a doctor and returned quickly with the drug, the doctor having agreed with her that anyone who was wide awake and talking at 3.00 a.m. had certainly not been given sodium amytal.
I slept after that!
Later, after the screens had been removed from around the adjacent bed, I saw its occupant, a young girl who looked very lost and very frightened.She told me why she had been admitted, apparently unaware that I had already heard all the details. When she asked why I had been admitted, I told her about my miscarriage as gently as I could. I think the conversation was both tough and tender for both of us.
This was my second miscarriage and on this occasion we actually saw the baby. It was a deeply moving experience for both my husband and me.I was almost 25 years old and our lively first-born was just two years old. We had always treasured her, but after this second loss we treasured her even more, if that were possible. A consultant told me that the likelihood of me miscarrying again were quite high. He suggested that I might have a weak cervix:’…and then 12 weeks or so into your pregnancy, pop goes your weasel.’ He said this with a smile. I wasn’t smiling.
My husband and I both wanted another child but for me, another pregnancy was a bitter-sweet prospect. The miracle of conception, which can result in so much joy, can also result in pain and sadness. My greatest encouragement came from my Nan, my Mum’s Mum.She told me that she was praying for me. I still have the letter in which she wrote,’I pray that God will grant you your wish.’I was not a Christian then but those words found their way into a place deep in my heart and mind.
Three years after we lost our second baby, our son was born. Five years after that our second daughter was born. All three children are now fully-fledged adults, two of them with children of their own.
I just want to end with a comment about the word ‘abortion’. When my doctor said I’d had two abortions, I ‘corrected’ him – ‘miscarriages, not abortions!’ He then corrected me, and told me they were spontaneous abortions.I had limited my understanding of the word ‘abortion’ to what my doctor then described as ‘induced abortion.’I still find any conversation about induced abortion difficult because I am deeply aware of our children as gifts from our Creator God, the Giver of Life, and the thought of destroying that life is anathema to me.Yet I can’t forget the girl I met in hospital all those years ago. She was so young and so lost. Jesus came to save the lost.
So mainly, I pray about abortion.
Sometimes I discuss it with a few people, but I don’t campaign, I don’t shout it from the rooftops.
Come to think of it, if I ever shout anything at all from the rooftops, it will be ‘Jesus Christ is Lord.’
Update 3rd August 2015
In the light of the revelations about Planned Parenthood I am more inclined to campaign that I was hitherto.
I highly recommend the Mere Fidelity podcast ‘Beyond the Abortion Wars’ in which Charles Camosy is interviewed about his book, recently re-posted by Alastair Roberts (@zugzwanged )