UPDATE 3/17, 10:35a: Yesterday was an epiphanal day for our post-abortive friend. I received the following beautiful email from her last night:

Hello Jill,

Carla and I have been in contact and have shared many emails today.  Carla has already been so helpful in giving me much information.  She informed me you had gone ahead and posted my email on your blog, and I’ve had a chance to read it and the comments.

The only word I can say is overwhelmed.  I’m overwhelmed by all the comments left by your readers.  I’ve felt so alone and so ashamed all these years and seeing all the prayers lifting me up have really overwhelmed me.  As the saying goes, my cup runneth over.  I don’t feel worthy of all those who have left such encouraging comments.  I actually thought I would read comment after comment about how awful I am as a person.  What I thought would happen is not what I’ve read at all!!

Thank you for sharing my email.  I’m humbled you posted it and I’m humbled by the comments.  It’s encouraging and has really helped.

Thank you so much!!

What a wonderful, supportive community you all are to those among us who have been hurt by abortion. Thank you, and a special thanks to Carla… :)

3/16, 9:29a: I received this email today. May it help others, as the dear author hopes…

As I’ve read your tweets and your blog, I silently repeat, “Thank you God for this woman’s courage.”

Only one person knows my entire story and that is my current husband. I confessed to him a few years ago when I felt the Holy Spirit rising up inside me to let someone know. I had to tell someone I could trust. With abortion, it’s hard to know who you can trust. The shame is unbearable.

During a particular church service, our pastor had us take a small rock at the beginning of service and during the service he explained the rock was representative of our sin and to imagine carrying that rock everywhere we went, never letting it go. When he encouraged us to bring the rock to the stage and letting go of our sin, I put my rock in my purse. Afterward, when my husband asked why I did that, I explained I had to hold on to it to remember what I had done. I put the rock in our garden. That rock, to me, represented the abortions I had. Yes, plural. Abortions. 3.

I’m a recovering alcoholic, a former narcissist, and now a follower of Jesus Christ. I was born again 10 years ago. I’ve committed sins since that time but the sins I committed in the ’90’s will forever be etched in my heart and cause heartache until I come face to face with God.

The first time I became pregnant was by a guy who I had dated for several months. We had broken up and I found out I was pregnant. He told me I had to have an abortion because he was in college and his dad had these plans for his life and they did not include a child before marriage. We talked about this for several days and I eventually made the appointment and killed my baby.

A year later I became pregnant again and knowing I couldn’t go through what I had done the year prior, I had my daughter who is now a beautiful high school student. Her father and I had dated off and on for a couple of years and it was during one of the “on” times that I became pregnant. He told me he was scared but would be there for me. He wasn’t. Thankfully I had a supportive family and friends who were with me throughout my entire pregnancy and to this day are there for me.

A few years later, I married. During my 4-year marriage, I became pregnant twice. But both times, I was afraid my marriage wouldn’t work and he would leave me and though I could “manage” caring for one child as a single parent, I couldn’t manage having another child. At the time, it wasn’t “convenient.” So, in 4 years of marriage, I had 2 abortions. The first time, my husband took me to the clinic. The second time, I went by myself.

The last abortion had major complications. Not during the procedure, but after. The abortion doctor had not fully removed my baby, “the fetus,” and I started bleeding profusely the evening of the abortion. In a panic, my husband rushed me to the emergency room where the doctors informed me that my baby had been partially aborted, but they would need to remove the rest of the tissue that was left behind. My body, in essence, was aborting what was left of my baby. At the hospital, I felt like I was having another abortion all over again. This time I was fully aware of what I had done and promised God I would never had an abortion again and to forgive me. My marriage ended a year later.

I cry as I write this. I’m not sure why I’m sending you this message to be honest. I just want to encourage you to continue the fight of speaking out against the ones who have no voice. I suffer from depression, have had suicidal thoughts, and the guilt I feel from time to time is overwhelming. I often tell my husband it is so easy for me to forgive others because I know that God has forgiven me, but how do I forgive myself? I’ve read books on forgiving myself and they make sense. But to actually put them into practice takes work. Hard work.

If I could talk to one girl or woman who is considering abortion, I would tell them NO. Stop. The hurt of having an abortion didn’t stop when I got up from the table after the procedure. The pain continues in my heart. Nearly 20 years later, the pain of what I did to my unborn babies is, at times, overwhelming. When I look at my daughter now, I wonder what my other children would look like. Would they have her smile? Would they have her sense of humor? Would they enjoy sports and hanging out at the mall with their friends? I wonder what I would have named them. Would I have a son? Or daughters that argue over clothes and makeup? It’s been almost 18 years since I had my first abortion. 14 years since my second. 12 years since my third. I remember every detail of every one. The pain doesn’t stop. That’s why you, Jill Stanek, must continue to fight! Have courage. Speak up! Don’t stop.

I’ve been married for [ ] years to my second husband. I confessed to him one abortion then a few years later, the entire truth. He has continued to love me.

Please keep my email address anonymous. You may use the words of my email to help encourage others but I prefer not to be recognized, not at this time.

Thank you for all you do and for reading this email. May God bless you beyond your imagination!

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