At the age of 42, I found out that I had survived two attempts to end my life before I took my first breath.
When my mom found out she was pregnant with me, it was not a great time in her life to have another baby. She had an 18-year-old daughter, no kids in between, was knee-deep in business, and was single. She was desperate, and had her own desires and also fears.
The month after finding out she was pregnant, at around 8 weeks, she took abortion pills. The same pills are being given out at clinics and mailed to women today. Four white pills. The first two to stop the baby from growing, the second two to force her body to expel the baby.
Based on her body’s reaction, it seemed as if the pills did their job. However, the following month, in December, she found out that she was still pregnant. She then had a DNC abortion procedure. The doctor said it was a successful procedure, meaning the life of the baby had ended. To her surprise, she found out the following February that she was still pregnant. Unlike today, the law said she was too far along to attempt another abortion.
I was that baby… and I was born full term in July of that year. I survived two attempted abortions on my life.
When I found out this news at the age of 42, I was shocked. I felt rejected and unwanted; this kind of news changes your life forever. I wondered what else in my life had been a lie. My mom had passed away decades before, so I could not talk with her about it.
Convinced that I was the only person this had ever happened to, one day I Googled “Do people survive abortions?” I found more people like me. I wasn’t alone! I was not the only person who had ever survived abortion procedures.
The day that I found “The Abortion Survivors Network” is when I began to experience the hope and healing that comes from belonging to a community of people who support you, equip you, and let you know that you are not alone.
Through that community, I found people who I love like family.
We have so much in common it is crazy! From emotional struggles, to physical complications from the procedures we survived, to family dynamics, and more. If God hadn’t revealed my story to me, I never would have uncovered the earliest wound in my life, and I wouldn’t have known that I needed to pursue the Lord for healing of all that came with this part of my story.
When you buy a new car, say a blue Honda Accord, you begin to see blue Honda Accords everywhere. That is what it was like when I found out I was an abortion survivor. I turned on the news to hear about New York passing a law that allowed abortion up to nine months of pregnancy. I kept hearing of laws– and protests against them–that would allow college-age women to obtain on their campus the very pills that were meant to take my life. Everywhere I turned, I saw abortion. Each new encounter peeled off the scabs of rejection and unwantedness, and it felt like the world was reinforcing those truths. Every ad, every law, and each online debate felt personal to me.
I knew that I was beginning to heal as I found a deep passion that said, “You are not a victim of abortion, you are an advocate for life.”
God opened doors through The Abortion Survivors Network for me to begin working with other survivors and help them find hope and healing in their stories. I realized the past study I had done on trauma and abuse was not just for unpacking my life, but it was to help others in their stories as well.
In addition to founding Reclaimed Story, I now serve as the Healing Program Coordinator for The Abortion Survivors Network where I support other survivors just like me. As of April of 2022, we have connected with almost 550 survivors worldwide. I also get to travel around the country and use my voice, my unique story, to help bring a face to the word “choice”. As survivors, abortion is personal to us, yet we get to make a difference by changing hearts and minds to understand the value of human life.
At first, I was angry with God. I didn’t understand why He would lead me to find this out, when there was no way to have any type of resolution.
What I didn’t know was that God was about to take my pain and turn it into purpose.
Now, I am so grateful that He revealed this part of my story to me. I mean that. He has shown me that nothing in my story or in anyone’s story is too hard for the grace and the love of God to heal.
My mom passed away decades ago. I wish she was here with me now because I would tell her that I love her and forgive her. Then I would tell her that I understand that she made a decision that was hard.
You can’t give away what you don’t have.
I have experienced the love and the forgiveness of Jesus in my life, and I would want her to experience that same love.
I’m sharing this part of my story now so that women who have lost a child to abortion would know that they are loved and forgiven, and that Jesus can reclaim their story too.
I hope my story will shed a different light on a complicated topic, and maybe during that moment of choice, another woman will choose life.
~ Denisha, Founder of Reclaimed Story
To connect with other abortion survivors, visit www.abortionsurvivors.org