Chemical reaction

"Chemical reaction" Continued...

Issue: "Pro-baby," Jan. 30, 2010

She would stop at the local mall and eat a slice of pizza alone, looking across the table and thinking that her child could have been sitting there. She cried when a doctor who knew about the pregnancy but not the abortion told her, "Congratulations!" after her due date and asked if she had her kid with her. She cried when someone texted her, "Happy Mother's Day!" for a joke. She cried when people asked if she had any kids. She cried when she did a favor for someone who then offered to be the godfather to her first child. She couldn't walk down the baby aisle in stores. She couldn't go to baby showers. Even being near children made her uneasy.

The image of the baby she wrapped up and threw away would flash across her memory for a year afterwards. Stacy Massey, counselor and founder of Abortion Recovery InterNational (ARIN), said the visual memory of an RU486 abortion is the hardest. Massey lay on a table 30 years ago for her own abortion and played football the next day. But women who have a chemical abortion actually see-­sometimes floating in a toilet or a shower-the graphic aftermath of their own abortions.

A seven-week unborn child already has brain waves, a mouth, lips, forming fingernails, eyelids, toes, and a nose. After women expell their unborn babies, they have to dispose of them. Massey said she once got a desperate call from a woman who said, "My baby's floating in the toilet. What do I do now? Do I flush it?" And one couple went to a hotel to have an abortion and the woman locked herself in the bathroom, sobbing and screaming.

The feelings of guilt can be more intense for women who have undergone chemical abortions, said Massey, since they themselves administered the pill while they were fully conscious: "For me who went and lay on a table, somebody else did it. Yes, I made the decision but I was always able to rationalize that. I didn't kill my own baby-somebody else did." Massey said that the trauma seems to be more severe with younger women since many older women have experienced natural miscarriages.

The effects are similar to any abortion: grief, guilt, shame, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, nightmares, mood changes, panic attacks, fear, worry, and relationship difficulties. Massey refers women to counselors who help them grieve, find forgiveness, and deal with the loss of a child, matching each woman with a counselor who can help her after something triggers the memory of her abortion. They will hold a memorial service for the aborted child-sometimes as simple as planting a tree or going to the beach and throwing flowers off the end of the pier. One difficulty in finding empathetic sources: Few counselors have undergone RU486 abortions themselves, since the drug has only been available in the United States since 2001.

As for Stewart, she has pulled through, thanks to faith, medicine, and the love of her older sister. She remembers hearing her sister's words-"Always remember I love you"-one time after she saw a little girl who reminded her of what her baby might have looked like, cried through a counseling session, came home and asked, "Why am I even here?" She still has ups and downs-still became emotional recently when she told her story to a group of women. She is now married to another man and has a 3-month-old baby she calls a "screaming little bundle of joy." And she has finally been to a baby shower-her own.

Other Roe v. Wade articles in this issue:

A pro-baby wave | Optimistic signs point to a changing abortion debate | Marvin Olasky
Learning to wait | Denied federal funds, abstinence educators plan next moves | William McCleery
'Look after orphans' | Twenty ways to become an adoption-friendly church | Paul Golden
Eyewitnesses | Ultrasound technology is one reason more Americans are becoming pro-life | Alisa Harris

Finding searchers | Pregnancy centers buy Google real estate to reach abortion-minded women | Emily Belz
Higher learning? | Catholic colleges have become training ground for pro-abortion politicians | Anne Hendershott
Life changes | Anti-CPC forces alter their tactics and auditors eye Planned Parenthood | Alisa Harris
Called to a cause | The pro-life movement won over Marjorie Dannenfelser, and now she's working to help it win over Congress | Marvin Olasky
'It all clicked together' | How one Christian volunteer found herself in the right place at the right time at a crisis pregnancy center in Texas | Susan Olasky
The telltale protests | The abortion issue did not die after Roe v. Wade | Andrée Seu

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