Stories: Abortion & the Loss of Motherhood

The other day I attended a small gathering of Christian men and women.   As the speaker started to talk about families she also started to talk about abortion.  Hearing that one word was a reminder of why Women in His Presence exists.

If you were to ask me the purpose of Women in His Presence, I would tell you that it is going to be a women’s ministry without walls.  It will be a ministry that any woman can participate in no matter what church she does or doesn’t attend.  It’s to provide a service that creates opportunities for women to gather, be encouraged, and use their gifting.   But the foundation will always point women back to the Bible because the decisions I made without it, scarred me forever. The Bible and Jesus eventually saved me and if I would have had this in my life in college, it would have saved my unborn baby.

It was my 3rd year in college, spring semester that I found out I was pregnant.  I remember being in the dorm restroom taking a test while my friend waited outside the stall.   The double line appeared quick and like that fear struck me.  “Crap, I’m pregnant.”

My mind had such quick thinking in that moment induced by fear.

  1. I can’t have this baby.
  2. I’ll lose my college softball scholarship.
  3. I won’t be able to play softball.
  4. My boyfriend is not the one. “Though he was 10 minutes before.”
  5. I don’t want to be a single parent.
  6. Who is going to want a girl with a baby unmarried.
  7. Will guys think I’m easy?
  8. I’m going to have to move back to Houston and go to school to be a teacher instead.
  9. I’m not the kind of girl who sleeps around.
  10. What will people think of me.
  11. I know not to get pregnant because my parents had me in high school.
  12. If I have this baby, I won’t be able to give it up for adoption.  I know the moment I would see it, I would want it.
  13. I’m going to be single forever and my dream is to be married and have kids.

This was not what I planned and it wasn’t a part of my dreams.  I was pro-life before, but when it happened to me I felt as if I needed a way out of this mistake…this accident.

My next step was to call my boyfriend and tell him I was pregnant and that I was not having it.   He didn’t say anything that day and I didn’t give him the chance to anyway.

I remember getting it scheduled pretty quickly.   That day, my boyfriend drove me to Corpus to an abortion clinic.  I cried the entire way up there.  Part of me wanted him to say something. Part of me wanted him to ask me to marry him so I wouldn’t have a baby in shame.  Once we got inside, I continued to cry a lot.  I remember a worker coming up next to me telling me that if I didn’t  stop crying the doctor wouldn’t do it.

Once I stopped crying enough, they took me back to the room.   It was determined I was almost 6 weeks. They explained the procedure and what would follow and then it happened. I mainly just remember the sound of the suction and thinking it was all just a clump.  I never thought it had a heartbeat.

After that, I remember filing it away pretty quickly and living life.  After that I had two serious relationships, in which there came a time it was appropriate to share that with the other person.

Each time, I was afraid they would no longer like me and each time the facial expression was of disappointment.

It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties, that the abortion came back and effected me emotionally and mentally.  As I started to become a follower of Jesus Christ and not just a believer and church attender, I began to know Jesus.  In reading the Bible I started to see how the Lord is a part of creation from the beginning.  I began to realize that my decision out of fear could have been given to the Lord.  If I knew the Lord, I would have known that life wasn’t perfect and that I can’t control my life and make decisions that aren’t mine to make.  Had I known the Word, I would of held on tight in the storm knowing that there would be a blessing waiting on the other side that I would treasure forever.  A treasure far more valuable than my career, relationship status, or myself.

The years to follow I struggled with infertility.  At first it was unexplainable and then low levels of endometriosis.  Not the best case scenario to conceive, but not impossible.  The infertility was a constant reminder that at one time I could, but it wasn’t happening now.  At church retreats or conferences, I would hear other women tell their stories of the after affects of abortion.  The emotional pain, regret, shame, and secrets.   Yet, they always testified, “But God gave me children.” So there I sat, wondering why I didn’t get a second chance.   

Divorcing in my 40’s brought another reality.  The opportunity to even attempt to have kids looked real impossible.   

So when I first moved back to Houston it hit me again.  “Here I am in Houston, single, and working in education (which I do love but didn’t plan).” And at the time of the abortion, the thing I was most trying to avoid was being unmarried,  working in education, and living in Houston.

I can’t begin to tell you how different I feel not having kids when around women my age.  I can’t tell you how many times I feel regret when a kid asks me, “Do you have kids?” The answer is, “I don’t,” but inside I’m saying I did.

The regret never goes away no matter how forgiven I am and grieving still comes for what should have been.  God’s will is always better than my will.  Sometimes, it’s a hard lesson to learn and live with.

This is my story of loss and the insight I gained when I became a follower of Jesus Christ and sought God’s truth and wisdom through scripture.

Erica Salazar

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

 

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Psalm 51:6

 

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Women in His Presence

This weekend I was blessed to participate in an event hosted by Living Proof Ministries. The intent was for women who feel called to communicate the gospel through writing, teaching, and speaking to be poured into and mentored for a day by Beth Moore. The event also had in its presence Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, and Jennie Allen who were part of a Q&A panel at the end of the evening.

The close proximity to these women in such an intimate setting was an experience I’m sure will never happen to me again. Each of these ladies at some point in my journey has mentored me from afar whether on stage, TV screen, Bible study, and/or book.

It is easy and available for men within a church setting to be mentored and encouraged in their calling for Christ. But, as a woman, it seems to be a struggle. I have had no shortage of “spiritual” mothers within the church and they have been integral in my life. Finding a woman who can guide me on how to be a better student/communicator of the Word is a rare find and a deep desire. This seems to be a common struggle for women who are hungry to be students of the Word and communicate it. Interestingly though, mentors were the common denominator in Beth Moore’s life and the other panel guest.

Many times, I was awed being in the presence of these women. Not because of idolization, but because in their calling they are constantly walking in the fire. The battle I have faced the week before a speaking event is brutal and in the moment I ask myself how these women do it. I know the answer is because of Jesus and I know these women know how to go to war and lean into God. And for those reasons, I just wanted to touch them.

I can imagine what that woman felt like who just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’s garment. Again, not in idolization, but knowing they are like the apostles. They are closer to Jesus than I am. Jesus is available to me in that same way, but I know to do what they do they have invested more time and intimacy with Him.

They are Women in His Presence.

As amazing as that was, one of my favorite parts was meeting women who God perfectly orchestrated me to meet through a last minute email, elevator ride, or wandering the desert (AKA the Galleria), for fifteen minutes when it should have taken just two minutes to find our way out of there.

The conversations that revealed our similarities, differences, and fears we share when we step out, was most precious. These are Women in His Presence, like me, who are navigating through this calling and trying to figure out how can I communicate the gospel? How do we do that responsibly without having gone through seminary? How does that balance with life? How do we balance that with work? How do…..????

I’m a firm believer that women’s ministry events draw women in to be in His presence. But, the speaker or activity is really just the bait. I’ve experienced where he really goes to work is with the women we sit beside, across from, run into, and meet. Once again, He did not disappoint and proved He is ALWAYS in OUR PRESENCE.  Blessed am I with Sisters in Christ: Allison, Laura “Nicole”, and Brittney.

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters Colossians 3:23

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. Matthew 9:20