Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Truth Hurts

I loved this poster when I first heard about it, and I believe the message it portrays to be true. But, I also understand the reason why it was removed from the New York building to which it was displayed...nobody likes to be confronted with a painful truth day in and day out. We don't quite know how to handle the hurt, the guilt we feel, even those of us who have never personally had an abortion. Archbishop Dolan plainly and clearly speaks to this intolerance in his most recent blog post.

But I face these truths nearly every day in my work-life. Just yesterday, in fact. There we sat, face to face, a young mother and I. As I cozied up to her and shared the fact that we are both mothers of five children, I expected us to get along just fine because of our commonality. But then she said it, she said those words I dread, those words that put a knot in my stomach every single time I hear them..."My most recent pregnancy ended in abortion."

My most recent pregnancy ended in abortion.

Maybe I should be keeping track of the number of times I've heard those tragic words, those words that cause my heart to harden, that make me turn away from the client I am with, unable to face her, unsure of what to say. I quickly pray, for her and for her now-dead baby, that's for certain. But I am unable to draw any sort of compassion from my heart, for those words have been uttered in my presence far too often.

Once is far too often.

I want to see inside her heart and I wonder about how she might be feeling. Is she sorry? Is she hurting over her decision and what she's done? Or, is she relieved with no regrets?

But, I can't dwell on my thoughts; I'm paid to do a job. I've got to give this woman nutrition counseling and vouchers for six months of nutritious foods even though she killed her baby, because according to WIC (Women, Infants and Children) policy all postpartum women who qualify based on financial need and nutrition risk are allowed to receive WIC benefits (nutrition education and healthy foods-milk, eggs, cereal, bread, fruits, vegetables and juice) for six months following the termination of a pregnancy-whether that termination resulted in a birth, miscarriage or abortion.

The truth hurts, yes, but abortion hurts with a damage beyond repair.

Lord, give me a heart of compassion, a heart of love for all. Wake me up from the dread fear and sorrow that grips my heart in the presence of painful truths. Give me strength to cope and courage to turn the hearts of others so that everyone will value life, will give life, your greatest gift to us all. And please, God, don't ever let me grow comfortable upon hearing those words "My most recent pregnancy ended in abortion." Let me always feel the discomfort and pain that the loss of innocent life rightly deserves. Amen.


  1. Anne, thank God you are there. Your hidden prayers are doing so much good; only God knows what His plans are for them. You never know when you are going to encounter someone whose life is forever changed by your sorrowful love for the baby she couldn't recognize as a precious gift from God.

  2. Oh that would be so hard not to say "I'm so sorry." or something like that. Keep up those Hail Mary's for each of those mothers, offering them to the only Mother who knows exactly what to do! God Bless you and the work you do, Anne:-)

  3. Great post, Anne. I thank God for your heart, your faith and your love of life!

  4. My heart sank when I read that line. But credocatholic is right .. thank God you are there praying for people like her!

    God Bless you.

  5. Great post. That must be very difficult to hear and must be difficult not to be able to know the hearts of these women. God bless you and keep praying for them!