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Punishing Myself

It’s an honor to be able to give my testimony but before I begin, there’s a phrase a dear friend of mine always said after she spoke at AA meetings….and I feel it’s also a great way to start a testimony.  If no one has told you today they love you…..I do. 

My name is Patti Smith and I have had two abortions.  One in the mid 70’s and one in the early 80’s.    I didn’t think twice about the first abortion because my career was on the rise and to be honest, I didn’t know who the father was.  With my second pregnancy I wanted to keep the baby but my parents convinced me it would ruin my life and my career.  Both abortion experiences were the same, I recall them like they were yesterday and they were over twenty-five years ago. The clinic was cold and sterile; there was no one there to provide any type of comfort or assurance.  They treated the abortions like something routine as a dental filling.  The sound of the vacuum echoed through my ears and the tugging felt like something was trying with all its might to hold on.  There was something trying to hold on, my children. When I left the clinic both times, instead of feeling relief, I felt empty … like I had left something behind, which I did.  My children. 

I was a party girl to start with but after my first abortion my promiscuity escalated as did my drinking and I was hell-bent on self destruction.  My life went completely out of control.  I lost so very much during those days, including the love and respect of my family but most importantly, the love and respect of myself.  I also purposely lost the ability to have a child as I convinced a doctor to give me a tubal ligation at the age of 30.  I didn’t know then, but I know now, I was punishing myself for the abortions.  I didn’t deserve to be a mother.
15 years ago I finally reached the point where I could no longer stand to look in the mirror because of how far down the abyss of depravity I had gone.  That brought me to believe suicide was the only alternative.  God had other plans and I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and then to rehab.

Although successful in maintaining my sobriety my soul was still heavy and I didn’t know why.  A few years ago I attended a church seminar and heard a woman speaking about her abortion and how it affected her and it was like she was talking directly to me.  She spoke about post-abortion healing retreats and I immediately knew that’s where I needed to be.  The woman that was speaking just happened to be Leslie Brunolli, San Diego Silent No More Coordinator.  I signed up for the next retreat which started me on my wonderful journey of healing and forgiveness. 

I learned the guilt, shame and self-hatred I had over the abortions had been buried deep within me and my drinking and promiscuity was a way to keep it buried.  I numbed myself with the booze and slept around for, what I thought at the time, was love and acceptance.  The retreat put together the pieces of my broken heart and provided me a way to ask for and receive forgiveness not only from God but from my children and myself. 

The reason I’m standing here is to openly admit my regrets. I want the silent voices of my
children – Matthew and Sarah, heard. 

That’s why I’m Silent No More.


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