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Hope and Healing After Abortion: Mother's Day Mercy & The Mother of God

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By Theresa Bonopartis
5/4/2014 (5 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

In the beginning of healing we who have participated in an abortion are so -self- centered. We find it hard to move beyond anything but our own view of ourselves, incapable of believing what we have done, or beating ourselves up more than anyone else possibly could.

This spring, my son Joshua whom I aborted, would have been 44 years old. Hard to believe. I was 17 at the time of my abortion and at the end of my 4th month of pregnancy. Coerced and abandoned by my family, I gave in to the pressure to abort because I felt I had no other choice. It was pre Roe vs. Wade, but abortion was legal in the state of New York, in fact, my abortion occurred at a local hospital, the same place where I would later give birth to my two living sons on the same maternity ward where I participated in the death of my first son, Joshua. As Mother's Day approaches, I know there are countess women out there whose abortion connectors are going off like fireworks. It seems on Mother's Day there is no place to hide from the pain of having participated in an abortion whether you were coerced or it was what you perceive as freely chosen. The accusatory voices inside and outside of your head scream at you a little louder as the world celebrates the gift of being a mother, a gift you refused to accept.

Theresa Bonapartis

Theresa Bonapartis

BRONX,NY (Catholic Online) - This spring, my son Joshua whom I aborted, would have been 44 years old. Hard to believe. I was 17 at the time of my abortion and at the end of my 4th month of pregnancy. Coerced and abandoned by my family, I gave in to the pressure to abort because I felt I had no other choice. It was pre Roe vs. Wade, but abortion was legal in the state of New York, in fact, my abortion occurred at a local hospital, the same place where I would later give birth to my two living sons on the same maternity ward where I participated in the death of my first son, Joshua.

As Mother's Day approaches, I know there are countess women out there whose abortion connectors are going off like fireworks. It seems on Mother's Day there is no place to hide from the pain of having participated in an abortion whether you were coerced or it was what you perceive as freely chosen. The accusatory voices inside and outside of your head scream at you a little louder as the world celebrates the gift of being a mother, a gift you refused to accept.

I can particularly remember two occasions of Mother's Day; one before my return to the church, the other after. The first one found me after my marriage, wandering aimlessly around the streets of my town, pushing my two sons in a carriage. I was crying and filled with excruciating pain, but unable to make the connection to my abortion in any profound way.  Sure I knew I had a son missing, but it was not so clear to me that on this day of celebration, that was the cause for all my grief. I was after all, still walking around in the most welcomed state of denial, and society did its best to be sure I stayed there, denying any such thing as post abortion trauma, something still going on to this day in spite of countless women who have come forth to prove otherwise.

The second occasion came once I had confessed my abortion and returned to church and the sacraments. Through the grace of God, my fog was gently being lifted, as I was honestly looking at my abortion experience through the light of God's love and the mercy He was constantly showing me.

Little by little, I was unfolding the circumstances that led up to my abortion, feeling safe to do so because I truly believed in God's love and forgiveness for me. Still, when I heard the request of the parish priest for all moms to stand up during mass for a round of applause it left me feeling like a hoax. Sure I had two living kids, but I did not deserve any praise. I had killed my own child. I did not want to stand, but then I was afraid it would draw more attention to myself and I would be "found out", so, fighting against all that was in me, I joined all the other moms in receiving praise from the congregation for our vocation as mothers. I can, to this day remember feeling totally mortified, and thinking, "if they only knew".

In the beginning of healing we who have participated in an abortion are so "self" centered. We find it hard to move beyond anything but our own view of ourselves, incapable of believing what we have done, or beating ourselves up more than anyone else possibly could. 

I do not think it is a coincidence that Mother's Day occurs in the same month where we celebrate Mary, Our Mother of Mercy. Although most of us have probably struggled with out relationship with her (after all, Mary said "yes" to God while we said no), she is also a reminder of His great love for us. It is through her that God sent Jesus into the world for the remission of our sins, and she freely chose to accept her vocation as mother of us all, even knowing we were responsible for her sons suffering. It is through her loving guidance that we become able to move the focus from "self", and what we have don,e to Jesus and what He has done for us.

This past Divine Mercy Sunday, at the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John the XXIII, Pope Francis reminded us," The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God's love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: "by his wounds you have been healed" (1 Pet 2:24, cf. Is 53:5)."

So, while we need to grieve our children, we also need to look at the "enduring sign", of the wounds of Christ. A sign present to us in the here and now. We need to believe " that God is love, mercy and faithfulness", and that Mother's Day being honored in the same month as Mary, our mother of Mercy, is no coincidence, but instead a gift given to us at the foot of the cross, where she stands with us to this day reminding us that by his wounds we too have been healed.

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Theresa is the Director of Lumina/Hope & Healing After Abortion, a post abortion ministry under the arm of Good Counsel Homes, founded by Chris Bell and Rev Benedict Groeschel, CFR.  With the Sisters of Life, Theresa also co-developed the healing ministry, "Entering Canaan, a Sacramental Journey to an Inheritance of Mercy". Along with the Sisters of Life and Friars of the Renewal Theresa conducts retreats for women, and men suffering from abortion as well as siblings of those who have been aborted. She also does public speaking and training to educate on post abortion stress. She can be reached at lumina@postaboritonhelp.org , 877-586-4621 or http://www.postabortionhelp.org

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