Saturday, January 14, 2017
My Secret Loss, Finding Peace After Abortion - a book review
At the age of seventeen, Sheila finds her self in a difficult situation as she discovers she is pregnant. Unmarried and still in school, Sheila is desperate for a solution. She is afraid to tell anyone her secret and doesn't quite know what to do. After mustering up enough courage to borrow a car, Ms. Luck travels to a doctor's office for an examination. The doctor confirms Sheila's suspicions and verifies she is indeed pregnant. Sheila listens carefully as the doctor presents her options. She can have the baby and try to raise the child with the help of her parents, she can give the child up for adoption at birth, or she can abort the baby. She is instructed to go home and think about her options but is also reminded time is of the essence. Sheila is about eight weeks pregnant and abortions then were only performed through the twelfth week.
Out of fear, shame, and guilt, Sheila is forced to make the biggest decision of her life alone. As she ponders all options, she decides to call a friend who lived in another state. She says in the book, "Not knowing what I wanted to do for certain, I loaded my pockets with quarters and walked to a phone booth. I called someone I knew who lived in another state. After he answered, I tried to nonchalantly ask, "Can I come visit you?" I didn't tell him why I wanted to visit. I couldn't seem to say it out loud. I couldn't face it. But somehow I thought that this friend could help. I was relived to know someone I thought I could trust with my problems." Shelia felt very scared and alone. Before visiting the out of state friend, she wrote a letter telling him about her situation and asking for his help.
Sheila was relieved to find abortion clinics did not require parental consent in her friend's state. Her friend helped Sheila get an appointment and took her to have the procedure performed. Sheila is very frank about her experience and says, while at the clinic waiting to have her abortion, "My heart appreciated having a solution. I felt relief. I didn't seem to understand or believe that being pregnant meant a baby was already well formed, taking shape and growing inside of me. I understood and thought only about my need to resolve my problem. It seemed to me that I was just taking care of a health problem. I needed to solve this problem, and abortion was the best way to do it. It was my only feasible option."
After the abortion, Sheila says, "she felt physically fine. The pregnancy was terminated, but it wasn't really over." She was overcome with emotion and had not only to deal with unexpected grief over the loss of the child, but also with a heavy burden of guilt.
The book contains the ugliness of a bad decision made in a hurried panic, but also contains the grace and mercy God provided Ms. Luck as she finally learned to forgive herself and heal.
I appreciated the candor with which Ms. Luck shared her story. I could hear her pain as I read her heartfelt words. It was not difficult to empathize with her as she processed through each stage of grief.
This book was a difficult one to read. Ms. Luck and I are about the same age. I could only imagine how I would have felt had I been in her shoes. For women who have made the decision to have an abortion, Ms. Luck's book could provide a ray of hope. The workbook section of her book offered helpful questions, Bible study, reflections, and encouragement. This would be a perfect help for a small group situation or a one on one encounter.
In closing, I'd like to share more words from Ms. Luck: "I am beginning to take down the wall. I am on a path for life. My secret loss will always be my loss, but thanks to God and his loving grace, the loss is one with which I can learn to live. The consequences of that choice remain forever, but I am forgiven. I am finally finding the life that I lost. Through him, I am able to have peace after abortion."
This book is published by Aneko Press. You may purchase the book here.