Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Counseling Weeks 1-5

I'd like to share weeks 1-5 of my post-abortive counseling. Maybe it will encourage others who are hurting through abortion to seek help and healing for themselves. These entries are from my Cafemom journals, which are no longer there.

Week 1

I had my first counseling session today at the Clinton County Women's Center. It went really well! We didn't do a whole lot today. It was mostly introductory and filling out some papers. My sessions are one on one and not group, which doesn't bother me because I don't have a preference. My session was from 3:30 to 4:30 pm and I met with Melissa. She was really nice. I was so glad to hear KLOVE playing at the center when I walked in. I had just been listening to it in my car! Once I heard it I knew right away that I had made the right decision in wanting to do these sessions.

We introduced ourselves to each other and I filled out some papers like my name and contact info. Then I filled out a paper about when my abortion was and some of my feelings afterward and in the last 6 months. I signed a commitment paper to complete the 10 week bible study. We'll be doing the book Forgiven & Set Free. I'll be meeting with her every Friday and my "ceremony" will be July 11.

Today we went through a pre-lesson for the bible study. It's described as my opportunity to "think on paper" about spiritual matters. So we went through that and it was good. The questions were:
What is you reason for wanting to be involved in the post-abortion Bible study group? How do you view God? Who is Jesus to you? How do you view the Bible? How familiar are you with the Bible? What is your idea of how a person becomes a Christian? How do you view your abortion(s)? How do you think God views abortion? What does the word "repentance" mean to you? What is your understanding of "forgiveness"? Do you FEEL Forgiven? Explain.

So we went through these questions together and I answered them how I honestly believe. Melissa said I was a really good candidate for the bible study. Hooray! Melissa asked me to share my experience with her and I did. I'm not very good at talking about emotions and feelings so I didn't include a lot of that. I'm sure we'll get more into that later.

I'm soooo optimistic about doing this! I'm sure the sessions will bring up some stuff that may not be so pleasant but I'm ready. I hope next time I won't be so nervous. I was all hot and sweaty, but I guess that's ok going into an unfamiliar situation. I can't wait until next week!

Week 2

Today wasn't quite as long as the last time. It was about 1/2 hr session. I am so glad everyone is so nice there! We all chatted for few minutes beforehand and I showed a couple pics I had taken on my cell phone from my Mommy & Me session. They thought they were cute!

We started the session off with me filling out a paper that we didn't get to the last time and then we prayed. Melissa and I went over the lesson she gave me aka "my homework". It's titled How Do I Know Where I Need Healing?. We went through each of the questions at the end and I answered them as she jotted some notes.

I recognized that I had been through some of the stages of grieving. The stages are relief, denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. My relief of course was right after my abortion followed shortly by denial. My denial lasted 5 years until my daughter was born in Jan 08. Then I went into anger and depression. Now I'm slowly getting to acceptance and I think the bible study will help me get closer to that point.

She also gave me some scriptures: Psalms 51:6, Hebrews 4:12-13, and James 5:16.

I was nervous again when we first started because I was a little sweaty, but I calmed down some during the session. It's just not easy for me to talk about my emotions and stuff. I'm used to keeping it all of that to myself. What can I say?....I take after my dad! I'm much better at writing out my feelings. I just get embarrassed and feel ashamed but I know Melissa understands. We are doing one-on-one and granted it my be a little easier in a group setting but I am enjoying our sessions.

Until next week.....!

Week 3

My 3rd counseling session went well. My homework assignment (chapter 2 of Forgiven & Set Free) was a long one with lots of scriptures to look up! It was nice though to dive into the Word of God. It took me pretty much the whole week before the session to finish it though. So we went over it a little. We also went over an article about punishment and discipline and also a cross illustration for the verse Romans 6:23-For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. I had seen the cross illustration before (can't remember where) so it was familiar to me.

On the punishment and discipline article the first paragraph stuck out to me: "Post-abortion women often believe God is "punishing" them because of the real or imagined consequences of their sins. Fear and lack of trust in the goodness of God supports blaming God, who is perceived as a vengeful tyrant who is inflicting pain, loss, and suffering for their sins."

I often hear women who have had abortions talk about being punished. I know God is holy, pure, righteous, just, loving, merciful, and forgiving. God desires an intimate relationship with us. When we are born again of God we are not condemned and will not perish but have eternal life.

At the end of our session I asked her about finding out how long Ohio keeps abortion records because I couldn't find any information on it. So Melissa gave me a list of websites to look into. I haven't done it yet but I will sometime today.

Week 4

My homework was to go over the bible study titled Relief and Denial. I had papers about the biblical view of sexual immorality/fornication and human embryology Melissa gave me to look over. I also had to fill out a responsibility pie. With that I had to divide a circle into pieces according who I felt shared the responsibility in my abortion. I also filled out a paper about my abortion experience.

What I realized filling out the paper about my abortion is how little I actually remember from the whole experience. I told Melissa I wasn't sure why I don't remember a lot of things-maybe I was just blocking it all out. I don't know. I couldn't remember some of my feelings, the majority of what happened at my appointments, what rooms looked like, etc. I really tried to remember but I just couldn't.

We went over some of the bible study questions together too. She asked me when I thought life began and I told her conception-when sperm and egg meet. She had me trace the development of my baby until when I aborted, which I believe was 12 weeks. The following is just a few.

Day 4-9 The fertilized egg implants in the uterus and begins drawing nourishment from the mother.
Day 20-21 A simple tube which is the heart begins a rudimentary beat. Brain and nervous system begin to differentiate.
Day 28-30 Arm and leg buds begin to appear. Spinal cord, nervous system, thyroid gland, lungs, liver, stomach, kidneys, and intestines are identifiable. A primitive mouth with a tongue is recognizable.
7 Weeks Baby is kicking , swimming, and is able to suck its thumb.
8 Weeks The baby responds to touch and can feel pain. Cartilage cells begin being replaced by bone.
10 Weeks Baby can swallow, move tongue, and squint. Brain structure is complete. Vocal chords allow baby to make sounds. Fingernails develop.
12 Weeks Sex is clearly identifiable. Tooth buds are developing and taste buds are working. 3 inches long and about 1 ounce.

We then talked about the part of the bible study where it talked about my role-from the conception, the decision, and the procedure. It helped talking about things. I think I have benefited the most from this week so far but she says that the later sessions will help me most because I am probably an 8 out 10 on a healing scale, which I guess is really good! But that's all thanks to God. He is my Healer!!

We got to the end of the session and she copied some scriptures I can look up. She also gave me this little plastic baby that was 12 weeks along and she read something about development but I honestly didn't hear what she said because I was staring at that little plastic baby just thinking-this is what my baby was when I aborted. It was heartbreaking. I mean you hear everything about development but actually seeing it is another. Below is a pic I took of that plastic baby in my hand.

Week 5

This week's topic was about Anger. So I did my homework-answered the bible study questions and filled out another responsibility pie. Going through the bible study and talking with Melissa helped me realize that I do have some pent up anger. To me, it's really not a lot because I'm not one to get real angry. But still it's anger and that's not good. The bible study talked about God's anger, Jesus' anger, and asked questions about mine.

In the Bible it says that we should never go to bed angry because then Satan will use that anger and cause us to sin. Letting it sit inside us day after day is just letting it ferment until one day we let it out in the wrong way. We should be quick to listen and slow to speak or get angry. I should always step back when I want to get angry and ask myself "is this really worth getting angry over?". The best thing to do is to just let it go. I need to learn to forgive those I am angry with.

My study asked me if there was anyone in my abortion experience that I am angry with. So I had to sit and think. First thing I thought of was the clinic. I was angry with them that they didn't inform me more of what I was doing. Then I thought of my parents. I was angry at them because I wasn't able to go to them for support. Then I thought of Anthony. I was angry at him for making it seem that the decision was mine alone. Well, I have decided to let all this anger go with everyone involved in my abortion.

I guess I never realized before that I was feeling anger til I had to face it head on. But now I have and I am better!


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