“The only thing I knew was my child could not have a child. And all I knew was abortion,” Aretha told AFA Journal.*
Ella seemed to be a well-rounded 17-year-old, active in her church and the community. But she had a secret.
The mom and daughter had a close relationship, yet Aretha had no idea her daughter was sexually active – until Ella became pregnant.
“I just got the phone book and called the first thing in the front of the Yellow Pages,” Aretha said. “And I took her to have an abortion within three or four days.”
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Ella. “I just remember it was a dark place. I was numb, and I was thinking ‘Why am I here?’ And I remember the ultrasound, hearing the baby’s heartbeat, and going through the whole operation. I hyperventilated, and I threw up because I was so scared after that.”
When it was over, Ella told the baby’s father she had miscarried. And though she tried to return to her “normal” life, pain and confusion overtook her.
“I was very angry toward my mom because she made the decision for me,” said Ella.
“As much anger and bitterness as she had toward me,” said Aretha, “I felt the same toward her for lying to me about her sexual activity.”
After two years of anguish, Aretha yearned for their relationship to be salvaged. “I was so desperate,” she exclaimed. “In the black community, you don’t discuss abortion, and in the black church community, people just aren’t receptive. It is taboo. They will shun you. But the guilt, condemnation, and shame had been eating us alive. I cried out for help. And God was so on time.”
Somehow Aretha came across a brochure with a number for a post-abortion retreat in a neighboring state. When she called, she was surprised to be provided with the name and phone number of a post-abortion recovery leader in her local area. Finally, she felt like she could breathe again, just knowing help was on the way.
“I agreed to it because I knew we had so many underlying issues,” said Ella. “But I thought we were seeing a shrink. I didn’t really know what to expect.”
Again, Mom was in the driver’s seat. But, this time, it was in the name of redemption.
When the two arrived to meet the ministry leader, she invited them to take part in separate post-abortion Bible study groups.
“I was 19 when I went through the class,” Ella explained. “Through it, God let me know His love for me – for us. I forgave my mom and myself. And one day, I do hope to have the strength and courage to share my testimony publicly.”
Meanwhile, her mother was experiencing a similar breakthrough. “I never experienced God’s love and forgiveness like that,” said Aretha. “I thank God because our lives were saved through the post-abortion Bible study. It was life changing, soul saving, cleansing, and healing.
“And now I know what I would say if my daughter came to me pregnant: ‘Oh, praise God, I’ve got grandbaby!’”
*Names changed for privacy.
Resources for healing
Post-abortion Bible studies
▶ Surrendering the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion (surrenderingthesecret.com)
▶ SAVEONE: A Guide to Emotional Healing After Abortion (saveone.org) SAVEONE: The Ripple Effect (for those touched by a loved one’s abortion).
Festival for Life
Bring awareness to life issues through an on-site, multi-media educational event.
Contact: Joseph Parker
Festival for Life
American Family Association
662-844-8888 ext. 381
Editor’s Note: This originally ran in the print and online editions of The AFA Journal here.