Has a movie ever affected you in ways you didn’t expect? I recently saw October Baby, inspired by a true story of an adopted child who, in searching for her birth mother, discovers she is an abortion survivor. The movie left a deep impression.
When I was a young teen, I learned that my parents, unmarried and unprepared, were encouraged to consider abortion when my mom discovered she was pregnant with me. Although it bothered me, I never understood its impact until recently. I read that someone who “experienced not being wanted at conception or birth learns to doubt his basic self-worth and develops patterns of hiding his real self from others.” Although intellectually I knew that to be true, God was about to expose this pattern in me at a far deeper level.
The day after the movie, I attended a prayer retreat. Participants were asked to find a private place and spend some time with God in silence. Complete silence. I hadn’t anticipated how difficult this would be. Usually when I spend time with God, I begin by praying.
My mind starting roaming the Bible. I tried to find a place to silently rest in God’s presence. I sat at Jesus’ feet (like Mary in Luke 10), I went to the cross, then to the tomb. But…no rest. I went to the Tent of Meeting (like Moses in Exodus 33), nothing. Finally, I imagined God’s Throne Room but couldn’t enter without wanting to say something, acknowledging His majesty. I re-entered again and again. Finally, I imagined entering as a young girl. Crawling up into His lap, I finally found rest. But I was not prepared for what happened next.
I imagined God gently stroking my hair. His touch was tender and comforting. But it reminded me of something else, something from my past. When I was 15, I became pregnant. Because I never felt like I had any other choice and my mother believed she was doing the right thing, we went to get an abortion (I never conceived since). After the abortion, something happened.
I became uncomfortable around displays of tenderness between mother and children. Whether on TV or at the mall, it made no difference. Whenever my mother tried to stroke my hair, I became tense and distressed. I viewed my feelings as ugly. Knowing she wouldn’t understand (even I did not understand at the time), I tried to hide my feelings from her. Twenty-nine years later, as I lay curled up on the lap of my Heavenly Father, He prompted me to finally confront my feelings. After some resistance, at last I told Him how I felt.
Why should my mother, who took me to get an abortion, have the right to enjoy tenderness with her daughter when I’d never get that same chance? There, I said it.
Though I had found God’s forgiveness and healing through a post-abortion recovery group several years ago, and believe I will one day be re-united with my daughter in Heaven, I had no idea I was still hiding such ill feelings towards my mother. God can even use a movie to bring those feelings to the surface—to a place where only He could heal them. Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry, and I forgive you.
October Baby is a beautiful story of loss and love, fear and forgiveness, hope and healing. Please don’t miss it; it’s playing in theaters this week only. You never know how God may use it to speak to your heart.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’” (Matthew 11:28-29)
If you or someone you love has suffered the heartache of abortion, my Bible study, Worthy of Love: A Journey of Hope and Healing After Abortion can help. We all know someone who needs hope.