Out Damn Spot! Out, I Say!

Guilt, part of the human experience. Universal and timeless, as the Shakespeare quote so clearly recognized.

How do I shed it? I feel like it has the power to send me into a psychotic episode. I actually think about that quote a lot lately.  I mean, I’ve always have been fascinated by Lady Macbeth. If you were to ask me, before all this, who my all time favorite literary character was, I would have told you Lady Macbeth.  A powerful woman, yet totally weak and emotionally charged, just fascinating, in my opinion. But now the fact that Shakespeare captures this facet of the human experience so clearly and poignantly,  has me spell-bound for different reasons.

Mondays are my day of mourning, so you will have to bear with me. This has become effective for me so far, to kind of allow all the feelings to be there and very present, and even overwhelming, but only on Mondays. On the other days, I have to actively try not to feel those feelings. I simply say I reject them today…I will deal with them Monday.  It makes monday hard, but the rest of the week easier.

So anyway, back to guilt.  It can really be overwhelming, and  I guess a large part of it really ties into what you believe about when life begins.  And I have always believed that it begins at conception. That soul and body become fused at that moment.  I’m not opening this up for debate, it is of course a mystery, so everyone will have a different belief on it. That’s fine.  It’s just that you must know my belief, because it shapes my experience of this. I guess it also has to do with my feelings on the pregnancy overall. Meaning, I was joyous about having a baby, I truly wanted and loved her. So what was I thinking?

Before I had the procedure done, I kind of shut off and when on autopilot. I started telling myself things like, it’s only the potential for life, it is not life. And that I could choose not to suffer through this.  I tried to convince myself I wouldn’t feel guilt, because I was doing this for the “right” reason. Not simply because it was inconvenient to carry on, but because it was life threatening.  I figure it doesn’t get more “right” than that.

Well, it turns out, I was wrong.  Very.  No matter what altruistic reason I come up with, none of them are “right” enough to make me feel ok about what I did. And the fact of the matter is, I really wanted and loved that baby. And I feel, deep in my gut, that I did something wrong. Especially for me, and all that I feel makes up my being.  I do very much feel that there is blood on my hands. I am thankful that the state is not coming after me, to prosecute it, but I feel like I would understood if they did. (How’s that for being real and putting it all out there on the net)

So what do I do to cope with this guilt? I try to tell myself that I had an experience that was beyond the normal human experience.  That by myself I am very very weak (and even a little emotionally charged) and I have now recognized this.  Recognizing my weakness (or humanness) has sparked a spiritual journey in me, that I have been neglecting.  While growing my family and caring for everyone, I was neglecting my “me” time.  But when I did have “me” time, I used it as an excuse to pamper myself, (or go shopping, gym, etc.) when really I should be using it to make sure that I am cared for and growing emotionally, spiritually and physically.   We are after-all spiritual beings. So although this experience comes with a lot of pain and guilt and overwhelming sadness, there has been an awakening in me.  Sometimes in my best moments, I can allow that to offset the feelings of guilt. Like they sort of neutralize each other. But not really.

At some point, I think I will make a conscious effort to shed the guilt.  Actively reject it-or at least save it for Mondays,  metaphorically you know? I think I haven’t done it yet, because it would feel like I was betraying the baby, by doing that right now.  I carry the guilt like my penance and a badge of my mourning. But I know, that really can’t be the plan for me, to always carry it, because I would go mad, like Lady Macbeth. And the fast and hard truth is: I am here, baby is not.  I am truly sorry for that.  I would switch places in a heartbeat, if I could, but I simply can not, despite all my prayers to the contrary.

Recognizing all that helps a bit.

 I do keep in at the front of my mind that I must and need to find a way to go on and still experience joy. That it is my God-given right, not matter how unworthy of it I am.  So while I can’t exactly conciously shed the guilt, I do conciously try to feel joy, Because that too is truly and wholly a part of the human experience.

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4 Responses to Out Damn Spot! Out, I Say!

  1. S.M. says:

    Yes, my personal journey with this has brought me to a point where I am actively facing the reality that I terminated a life-form. Facing this is hard but is helping me to heal and let go. I too wanted and loved the 7 week along baby. The starvation and dehydration caused me to lose my mind. I don’t recognize who that person was who went through with the termination. It wasnt me in my right mind. But at that level of suffering “right mind” wasnt possible. I feel it was the primitive, survival part of my brain which allowed this method of escape. And lets face it…… We are facing significant damage to health, and if left untreated, potential death! So I am facing it, and it is painful. For me, I don’t think it matters when the soul comes into the body. You are right, every one has a different view. In my own spiritual insight, I see the soul entering the body at 8 weeks. But it doesn’t matter to me the “when”. A life form (at whatever stage) is still a life form. And I interrupted it’s evolution. Now I have to live with that. Our journeys are similar. And love, joy, healing, and present moment awareness is definitely important now and in the future.

  2. Ashli says:

    I don’t think I ever shed the guilt. If I am honest with myself it is still there. Spiritually, it has been a humbling experience; I know my low estate as never before. Thankfully, there is One Who lifts me up, One who gives me this life of joy and purpose. And while I have not shed the guilt, I reject the idea that it is even necessary for me to do so. There are good things and bad things about guilt.

    While guilt confounds me, it motivates me; it is active, I remember. It serves a purpose, and ultimately it is not self-flagellatory for me. I have not embraced it; I would never say I LOVE my guilt! No! But it is there. I won’t pretend it isn’t. It is not unjust; it did not simply come streaming down gently on a sun’s ray and alight itself on the halo of my head while I sat innocent on a hill somewhere singing to the sky.

    I would say that more than anything else I have accepted the guilt; it is a part of my experience. I will not reject it to make anyone else comfortable, and I can’t fool myself, so I do not rail against what it surely is. And in time, the rough edges wear somewhat smooth as it rolls around in the pit of the heart. Time is the Zofran that does not cure but takes the edge off. And while Jesus is perfect and forgives perfectly, we are not and do not.

    Gratefully, having read the entire Bible I must say that I don’t ever remember reading about a self-forgiveness requirement. It is not our opinion of ourselves that ushers us into heaven, and thank God for that! There is one verse I do remember though, and it’s one that has brought me tremendous personal comfort: 1 John 3:20:

    “Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.”

    God deals with me through Christ. That is the Good News. And yet…there is still me who must deal with me. Therefore, two envelopes addressed to Time and Truth carry my letters of thanks. For Time is like an ocean covering myriad wrecks at sea, and the Truth that razed me raises me each day.

    There is life after abortion, and it can be abundant without sacrificing honesty. It is difficult work, of course. But surviving is well worth it.

  3. Diana says:

    Wow, Ashli, I loved what you had to say. That was really beautiful – thank you for sharing!!

    Juliana, I can’t comment here because I’ve never known the pain that you’re going through after an abortion. But I would whole-heartedly echo what Ashli had to say!

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  4. Sue says:

    In addition to everything Juliana and commentators have already said about not being “yourself” when deciding to terminate, I wanted to add that in hindsight, I realize now that I was DEPRESSED! The symptoms of HG, compounded by a lack of quick, responsive medical support from practitioners who “get it” (oh, I hate those nurses who block you from talking to the doctor directly!) and, for me, lack of familial support–my husband was traveling at the time and I was home with two kids–that’s enough to drive anyone to the depths of hopelessness. And I made a regrettable decision in the throes of depression. That’s how I look at it now.

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