Thursday, June 11, 2009

Counseling Weeks 6-10

These are weeks 6-10 of my post-abortive counseling I did last summer. These entries are from my Cafemom journals, which are no longer there.

Week 6

This week's session was over the bible study about forgiveness. I learned a little bit from this lesson but not as much as the week before, which was about anger. See, after the anger bible study I went ahead and forgave everyone I was angry with regarding my abortion. So this lesson was a breeze for me! Melissa had an activity all set up to do this week and I didn't even give her the chance to try it out since I had already made that step. So we went over a few bible verses and talked a little about forgiveness. I did learn more about forgiving people no matter what-forgiving them before they come to you, forgiving before being asked, etc. Definitely a good point! After the session we just chatted for a bit. I had Kyndra with me (I had taken her twice before too). She pooped during the session so I had to change her and we had fun laughing about her. Melissa told me of a girl that came into the center that was going to have an abortion. She said she talked to her and gave her all the options but she has an appt scheduled for Monday to get it done. So, please, please, please if you are reading this pray for this poor girl! I know she will regret it and don't want her to make such a horrible mistake! She couldn't tell me her name b/c of privacy laws. I should've asked how far along she was. I hope not too far.

Melissa said she was glad I was the one she was doing the bible study with since this is her first time going through this particular book. She said she's glad she didn't get someone who was a "basket case". (She didn't say it in a mean or offending way.) She said it made it much easier and that God definitely sent her the right person! Thanks! What a sweetheart! :)

Week 7

My gosh the weeks are just flying by. Week 7 has come and gone already. We went over Chapter 6, which was titled Depression. It went over guilt, shame, anxiety, anguish, depression, and suicide. It was overall a good lesson and I had a few eye-openers. I definitely knew I had shame and guilt and I could fit a few things in the depression. Nothing in the suicide section applied to me. But I was surprised to find I did have some anxieties and anguish. So we talked things out and it helped.

Melissa gave me a book titled I'll Hold You in Heaven. It is a book for parents who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, or early infant death. It is supposed to provide healing and hope. I look forward to reading it. Not a big book so should be a quick read. Melissa told me to "consider ways to acknowledge the death and mourn the loss of my baby". My memorial ceremony is going to be June 27 instead of July 11 and that actually works out better. But she said that the memorial is for my baby and I should think of ways that I want to celebrate/mourn my baby. So that's something I have to ponder.

I asked Melissa about the girl who was supposed to have an abortion on Monday. She hadn't heard anything from her so she thinks she went through with it, which makes me sad.

Week 8

This week's lesson was Forgiven & Set Free plus we had a little side lesson called Grieving the Loss. First, I'll say that I finished the book I'll Hold You In Heaven that Melissa had and I wanted to read. It was a very good book and I recommend it to anyone who has lost a baby, whether it be to abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant loss. I think it will be especially helpful to women who have lost babies to abortion.

I went a little early to the session since my husband had his graduation ceremony that evening and we finished up pretty quick, but it didn't take anything away from the lesson. We went over both lessons. One thing that stood out for me in the first paragraph of Forgiven & Set Free was "Women who regret their decision for abortion may struggle with feelings of unworthiness for having chosen abortion". Many think they are branded with a scarlet A. I don't know how many people have red the book The Scarlet Letter but I had thought that about being "branded" with a scarlet "A" for abortion before I had even read that statement in the lesson b/c that book had came to mind. (Although the woman's scarlet "A" in the book was for adultery.) I do think society "brands" us and I'm sure a lot of post-abortive women would agree with me.

The beginning of the lesson it gave verses to help you understand the reasons for why you chose abortion-if at the time you were or were not a Christian. I was a Christian at the time and the verse that I thought best described me was Isaiah 29:13, which pretty much says that I honored God with my lips but not my heart. We went over how Satan likes to work on us by bringing up guilt about abortion. Once forgiven then there is no need to continue to feel guilty because God doesn't hold it over our heads-He forgets! When all those emotions come up it is the devil at work so when that happens I know I need to pray. Like what the Bible says-submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. I know I haven't tried to work for my forgiveness or atone by replacing my baby with anther or becoming some type of supermom, which the lesson talked about. It also talked about restitution. I feel God has allowed me to help other women who have needed my support and encouragement and I am more than willing to do whatever He wants me to do in this area.

The last section of the lesson touched upon my baby. From the Scriptures I know my baby is in Heaven with the Lord in a new and glorified body. I believe that when I see my baby again in Heaven we will recognize each other immediately and it will be such a joyous time! It is comforting to know my baby is at peace and is happy. The section asked about naming the baby, which I had done before starting counseling. I had never thought of doing so until I joined my abortion group on Cafemom. I named my baby Jordan Leigh and while I don't know whether my baby was a boy or a girl my feelings are more for a boy. The lesson asked me to pray to God to help me understand who my child was and tell Him everything I ever wanted to say to my child and then dedicate my child to the Lord's care, which I did. I was to also write a letter to God about my aborted baby-so here it is:

Dear God,

You know I am sorry for aborting the baby You gave me and I know You have forgiven me. I know you are taking good care of Jordan. One thing I never got to say to my baby is that I am sorry and I love you. I long to hold my baby in my arms like I do with Kyndra and it hurts me that I can't. I've always been afraid to tell my parents and I'm still conflicted about doing so. I'm leaving this in Your hands, Lord. If You want me to tell them then I believe You will bring about the right opportunity to do so. It hurts me to think about the pain I put Jordan through with my abortion. I know You eased my baby's suffering and wiped away the tears. I will always regret my abortion as long as I live. I will never forget, but I believe You can use my experience for good if You want and I am willing, Lord. You know I named my baby Jordan Leigh and I am sorry I waited so long to give my baby a proper name. I look forward to the day when I can see You and my baby. I want to hug Jordan and not let go. I will be so happy to be with my baby at last!

With love, Holly

Well, my next session will be the memorial for my baby and then I'll have one more. My memorial was going to be the last session but I guess the last session has to be the last lesson the way it is set up. Anthony won't be able to go to the memorial but I asked my best friend, Lindsey, to come with me and she is. I think it is fitting that the memorial is going to take place on my birthday-June 20. I'm going to write a poem for the memorial. I haven't started it yet but I'm going to work on it this week. I know they'll be making a certificate for my baby but I'm not sure what else is going to go on. I'm pretty sure I will cry.

Melissa gave me a card to carry with me. (Below)
Week 9

Today (well, I guess really yesterday since it is like 1:30am) was another counseling session but different from the ones before. Today was my birthday and my baby's memorial. It was a time to honor my baby I lost to abortion and to grieve. My best friend came with me and I also took my daughter. My husband couldn't go because he doesn't get off of work until 5om and he just started a new job. So at the memorial it was me, Lindsey, Kyndra, Melissa, and Donna. Melissa and Donna are from the women's center. Melissa is who is going through the counseling with me and Donna is just always there when I come. :)

When I first arrived Melissa gave me a white rose signifying my baby. We went back to a private room that had 4 draped chairs. A cross hung on the wall with a table beneath. The table had two levels. On the first level were a name card with my baby's name and some lit candles. On the second level was a basket. We started out the service with Melissa reading from some note cards about how I have progressed through counseling and how healing has taken place. I placed the white rose I was given in a basket and Donna covered it with a veil. This represented Jesus accepting my baby for me. Melissa then gave me a red rose signifying Jesus dying on the cross for me-His blood washing away my sins. Donna read a chapter from the bible-Psalm 103 (Praise for the Lord's Mercies)

Psalm 103

Praise for the LORD'S Mercies.

1Bless the LORD, O my soul.
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6The LORD performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
7He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
8The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
9He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
14For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
15As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
17But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children,
18To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
19The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

After Donna read the scripture Melissa had me come to the table up front. There were candles on the table. A large candle was lit to represent Jesus and a small one to represent Jordan. With a taper candle I lit a flame for Jordan's candle from Jesus' candle and then blew out the taper. Melissa had me say my baby's name out loud. At this point I read my poem I had written. I did pretty well reading it until I got to the end of it and then I got kinda choked up. They all said my poem was very good and beautiful and that made me happy that I did a good job on it. I had been struggling with what to write and then I sat down one day and got it all done in one sitting. Next Donna read a poem. I got teary-eyed during this. Next Lindsey, Kyndra, and I spent some time alone in the room. After I was given a certificate for baby Jordan. It really didn't last very long but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to honor my baby. I will always love my baby with all my heart.

This is the poem Donna read:

Here is my certificate:

Week 10

This is it....this was my last week of counseling. Some people may be relieved to have it over with but I was sad. I have gotten to know my counselor Melissa and another woman Donna very well and I will miss them. I will miss the time spend studying Scriptures and with God but I plan on doing my own bible study or joining my church's. Before I went to my last session I stopped by Kroger. I had to get Kyndra some formula so I picked up some cards for them. I wanted to thank them for how kind and caring they have been to me. They are wonderful women.

The last chapter was pretty short so our session didn't last long. We talked for maybe a few minutes about the lesson. Melissa said that the only area of healing I still need is the secrecy and I agreed. And this is because my parents still do not know that I had an abortion. I do want to tell them but I am leaving it up to God. I know He will bring about the right opportunity to tell them. Melissa gave me some stuff to fill out about and asked me if I wanted to get their newsletters and I said yes. She asked me if they could put my poem in the newsletter and I said they could. I'm glad they are using it. Maybe it will help someone.

They want me to come back and see them once in awhile and I very well intend to. I can't just simply forget about the impact they have made on my life. I will forever be grateful to them and to God.

I have found so much healing but that doesn't mean I forget my experience. I will never forget it and I will also wish I had made a different choice. I will use my abortion experience to help other women. I want to get more involved in speaking out about abortion-it hurts women and it hurts others. It is something we cannot ignore. Sure, there are women who say they don't have regrets or don't care. But I have met many more women who do regret it and suffer from their decision on a daily basis. America needs to wake up about abortion. And contrary to what some may think it is not an easy answer.

So don't try and make me be silent. Don't try to judge and accuse me. My Father in heaven is my judge and on my judgment day I will hear Him say "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

As Genesis 50 verse 20 says, 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.'

I wanted to add this song by Matthew West. I think this can speak to so many women who are hurting from the pain of abortion.

Matthew West
From the album Something to Say
All The Broken Pieces

Did you feel, feel it break
From all the weight of your mistake?
You never knew how much it cost
Feels like your innocence is lost

So much for the perfect life
So much for the perfect day
It's like no matter how you try
Perfection's just too far away

So lift them up to Me
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces of your life
To Me
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces of your life

All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces

Did you hear what I said?
Did you read the words I wrote down in red?
I was broken once for you
And no one loves you like I do

And that's the beauty of this grace
It can put the pieces back in place
And shine reflections of forgiveness
In a million different ways

So lift them up to Me
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces of your life
To Me
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces of your life

'Cause I can take even your greatest mistake
Every scar, every tear, every break
And I can turn it into something
More beautiful than you have ever seen
So lift them up to Me

All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces
All your broken pieces
I'll put them back together, yeah
Are you broken, are you broken?

Just lift them up to Me
All the broken pieces
Give all the broken pieces of your life
To Me, yeah, yeah, yeah
All the broken pieces
All the broken pieces of your life

Lift them up to Me
Let Me carry you
I will take your pieces
And put them back together


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