I am the only child of an abortion survivor. When my mother was still in the womb, her mother (my grandmother) attempted to take her life using knitting needles. For whatever reason, she failed and my mother emerged from her mother’s womb miraculously uninjured.
This incident – though it was unknown to my mother at the time – greatly shaped her entire life and basically defined who she was. She became a very timid and fearful person who would put on a mask of appearing to be friendly, kind and loving so that people would like her. She was absolutely terrified of conflict and confrontation and felt deeply rejected by her own family. Eventually, she married my father and gave birth to me. Not long after I was born, she committed her life to Jesus Christ and He began the slow process of rebuilding her shattered soul with His endless love and compassion.
From the day that I arrived, my mother noticed that I seemed continually agitated and angry. I would cry almost constantly and I was nearly impossible to manage at times, according to her. For example, if she was taking me out in my stroller, I would become desperately afraid of the stroller and cry relentlessly because I just didn’t want to get in to it. Eventually, she would manage to get me into the stroller but once the time came for me to get out, I would once again burst into tears and become terrified of getting out of the stroller.
Others may have just written this off as typical childlike behaviour, but I knew deep inside myself from the very beginning of my life that something was very, very wrong with me. From the time when I was about five years old, I stopped asking for cuddles from my mother like I always used to and became afraid of being touched to the point where I would flinch if I was touched unexpectedly. I began having terrible nightmares where I would often wake up screaming and started to become aware of an overpowering sense of dread and terror that consumed me from the inside out. In my dreams these feelings would become unmanageably powerful.
I was an emotional wreck at school. I would cry at almost anything, which resulted in relentless ridicule and mockery from my peers who didn’t know how else to cope with an obviously unstable child. I was a prime target for bullying due to an overpowering sense of victimisation that would make me freeze in my tracks the second I tried to stand up for myself. My schoolwork began to suffer and I began to notice a gradual onset of clinical depression which became very apparent in my teenage years. I also suffered from terrible anxiety and paranoia which became fully fledged obsessive compulsive disorder.
I was terrified of relationships and intimacy which resulted in very few romantic relationships for me in my teenage years. I was also deeply afraid of being at home and terrified of my parents for no particular reason. I had a terrible hatred of losing and even so much as losing at a video game could send me spiraling into violent anger and incomprehensible despair. This lead to people feeling uncomfortable around me and sometimes not wanting to spend time with me anymore (which was understandable). The depression and anxiety became almost unmanageable due to my experimenting with drugs and alcohol in my teenage years.
When I was 18 years old I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ and began a long journey towards wholeness and healing. But, despite my faith, there was still an overwhelming sense of terror and despair I carried within myself, something I feared more than death, a fate worse than death itself which I just could not pinpoint. I got through many, many obstacles throughout my Christian walk but I was never able to get over this hurdle of tension.
Ten years after I was saved, I had a complete nervous breakdown due to a failed potential relationship, poor physical health and overwhelming pressures from work. I reached the complete end of my ropes and wanted to take my own life. My mother (who was by now a strong Christian and had learned through the insight of the Holy Spirit what her own mother had tried to do to her) came down and asked me to tell her exactly what I was feeling and what I feared. I tried to talk around a few different areas to define the pain and all of a sudden I blurted out “I feel like I have to fight for my life at all times because the second I let go and stop fighting, I will surely die”. She realised that I was struggling with the terror she experienced in the womb – being her child, I inherited that fear from her. We prayed against it together and I felt something leave my soul and a peace came over me.
This fear of death was the root cause of depression and anxiety in my life. Though the root of the issue was dealt with – it was only the beginning of the healing process for me. My mother had a prophetic vision of me as a deep spring – tightly wound, with the end only just beginning to unravel. There were layers and layers of deep and powerful emotions connected with this issue which I needed to completely process before I could totally heal and move on. Even though the abortion attempt never happened to me personally – the deeply withheld feelings I inherited were very powerful and needed to be fully addressed. I believe that these feelings were all experienced by my mother when she was in the womb and were automatically repressed due to the highly traumatic nature of those feelings and her inability to cope with them at the time (due to being unborn).
I am still in the process of working through these horrible feelings but I have come a long way and I have a peace and strength in my life greater than I have ever had before. Though abortion never happened to me personally it has had a profound effect on my life. I have written a book which is being prepared for printing at the moment about my journey with God through the complexity of mental illness which talks about this issue. I am also in the process of writing another book based solely on the deep feelings I have had to unpack regarding this issue.
I hope and pray that my story can be used to help others to heal and overcome.