Saturday, 17 March 2012

Stella's story

Several of the people who have got involved with St John's Pro Life Group as either members or supporters have done so because of experiences that have touched them in some way personally, whether in their own lives or those of relatives or friends.  (This is a not uncommon reason for people, women especially, to get involved in the pro-life movement: those who say abortion leaves women unscathed should perhaps take note...)  They have responded to their own pain by trying to save others from going through the same sort of experience; a hugely generous, not to mention brave, thing to do.

One such is Stella, who supports us in many ways, not least by putting in long hours  - together with her daughter Becca - gardening and tending the site of Horsham's Memorial to the Unborn Child.  The following post has been written by Stella.

"For every woman who has undergone the termination of a pregnancy by abortion there is a personal tragic story.  Many made the decision on their own, they had no one to talk to, to help, to advise or even have a shoulder to cry on.  Others were forced by violent or aggressive partners or husbands and others or by families who were ashamed of them.  There are many reasons.

"I know.

"Whether girls in their teens, young adults or mature women, the terrifying knowledge that you are carrying an unwanted baby; maybe even at the time, in the magnitude of the moment, also unwanted by you.  Panic sets in.  What do you do next?

"Unfortunately the medical profession only offers the 'easy' answer; they do not and are not allowed to counsel and advise.

"After the event is when the real trauma sets in and the realisation that you have killed a new little person lives in your head and stays there forever.  This is when the majority of suicides take place; not at the beginning but at what would be, to the emotionally uninvolved, the end.  Chapter closed,  you can get on with your life now.  Start again, no-one knew: it's your secret.

"But it is not.  There are no secrets from God.

"Here, as a Christian, and especially as a Roman Catholic, your real problems begin.  You have committed a cardinal sin and should be excommunicated.  You are too frightened to confess to your priest in case this happens.  You stop taking Communion because you have sinned and then you stop going to church.  Praying doesn't help, self-loathing sets in, then depression and the never-ending cycle of not being able to forgive yourself stays with you day and night.

"All this heartache and agony need not happen today.  There are now special groups in place all over the country to help women think things through and find support.  They are nearly all voluntary groups and can be accessed through pro-life groups like our own St John's Group and also on the internet and some Citizens' Advice centres.  I personally did not have anyone to turn to but I did have my faith and I am not going to relate my story except to say GOD ALWAYS FORGIVES; the hardest part is forgiving yourself.  After nearly 50 years I am still trying to do that.

"I would like to recommend a very good book which I bought in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Christian Education Centre (DABCEC) bookshop quite recently.  The title is Catholic Women and Abortion: Stories of Healing, edited by Pat King (also available from Amazon for those who do not live in our diocese).  These individual true stories are both inspirational and moving.  I found them personally helpful; but my real inspirational help after all these years came from the Sisters at the Holy Family Convent in Horsham, now sadly gone, my prayer group friends and Fr Terry Martin.  I cannot thank them enough."

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