Case Study: Kathy Williams
The abortion clinic encouraged the use of a general anesthesia, which only added a little more to the cost. Kathy agreed, happy to accept anything which would make it easier to get through the day. Like so many others, she didn’t want to have an abortion. But in her situation, it was the right thing to do–the only thing she could do. It upset her just to think about it, so she was trying not to, and she welcomed the anesthesia. It worked quickly, and she began to dream:
I dreamed that I was contentedly floating in a beautiful pool, enjoying the clear sky. It was very peaceful. But then I noticed that my legs were becoming entangled in the hose of one of those vacuums they use to clean a pool. At first I was just annoyed to have my peaceful swim disturbed. Then the pain struck. I was trapped by the suction of the hose. It began pulling me apart, piece by piece. I cried and pleaded for someone to stop it, but there was no stopping it. Piece by piece I watched myself being pulled apart, thinking how unfair it was that I was being denied the joy I had known only a few minutes before. When it was over I was just aware of floating through the darkness of the tube, and then there was a sharp slapping on my thigh and a rude voice shouting “Get up.” The nurse at the abortion clinic was waking me. The dream was over but I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Kathy did not need a psychiatrist or soothsayer to explain to her the significance of her dream. She simply “stuffed it in a box” with all her other feelings about her abortion and hid the box away. Guilt and grief occasionally surfaced, but she generally coped well for many years. But eventually, after marriage and the birth of her second child she became more increasingly felt the need to confront her hidden secret. She was drawn to greater involvement in her church and finally found forgiveness in confessing her sin to God and submitting herself to the Judgeship of Christ.
What happened to my box? The old box was now destroyed; God removed my sins from me as far as the east is from the west. But the memories remained; a mother does not easily forget her children. So I gathered its contents up and put them into a new box — one that was covered by the blood of the Lamb and stamped “FORGIVEN” on every side. I was set free from the guilt and condemnation of my sin; I knew I could now stand before God because I had received His pardon. But standing before man was another matter.
Kathy continued to hide her greatest secret. Even though she had been forgiven by God, it was so shameful a secret that she could not endure the thought of her friends or family knowing what she had done. But many years later, 19 years after her abortion, on Christmas eve of 1992, Kathy’s feelings of grief were stirring and she prayed to God:
“Why did you give me that dream? Why did you give it to me when it was too late to save my baby?” His simple and profound reply was, “I didn’t give it to you to save your baby; I gave it to you to save other babies.” It was then that I realized that through my dream, God, in His sovereign and merciful way, had allowed me to taste the reality, the torment, the pain, and the injustice of my child’s death.
I contacted the local crisis pregnancy center, thinking that this could be the arena God may use in which my dream and testimony could “save the lives of other babies.” I was interested in training as a counselor, but they were interested in my first attending their post-abortion support group. I thought, “The Lord has forgiven me; my guilt is gone.” But I had yet to learn that while it takes the blood of Jesus to deliver us from guilt, it takes the acceptance of others to deliver us from shame.
God knew that I needed this small, intimate group, made up of abortion victims like myself. I could be confident in their acceptance of me. Through this sharing with others like myself I began my journey to be free of my shame.
Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 3(2) Spring 1995. Copyright 1995 Elliot Institute