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My Abortion Story:
A Pagan Mother Speaks Out
by Alura Anwyn
When I was nineteen, my first child wasn’t born. He made his presence known through constant nausea, but I thought I had a virus, not a baby. As a freshman in college, I couldn’t fathom becoming a mother.
I had loved my boyfriend for less than a year, but stayed with him even after I realized that we both deserved someone better. He meant more to me than he should have; I was working for his father and estranged from my own family. Even so, when I learned that I was pregnant, I knew what I was expected to do: keep my unwanted child and try to put up with his father, just like others in my family had done when they found themselves in a similar situation. But I no longer loved this baby’s father and I certainly did not want to be a part of his family forever.
I was already a black sheep in my family: that had happened a few years earlier when I questioned their Christian beliefs. I knew that my beliefs couldn’t just belong to me, but I hadn’t found a connection to anyone else who shared them with me. So I had no one to guide me, no Higher Power to pray to, no one but my own soul to lead me. I knew what had to happen from the moment the doctor said, “possible pregnancy” to me, but I felt incredible sorrow at having to make that choice. Tears welled in my eyes whenever I saw the commercials on television telling girls to “try adoption instead.” I believed that adoption would have destroyed both of our families and I would have no one left to love in the end. I felt soul-crushing guilt; my boyfriend left the decision to get an abortion up to me and then never spoke of it again. I had to cross state lines to find an abortion clinic because it is impossible to get an abortion in the state where I live.
Even though my heart had been shattered by what I had done, I knew I would have killed myself and my unborn child if I could not have made that choice. Eventually my boyfriend and I broke up and I limped onward with my life. I convinced a mutual friend — who I believed to be my “Mr. Right” — to date me, and experienced true happiness for the first time. With his support, I searched for a place to belong. I discovered Wicca. Awe-inspiring Gods and Goddesses, magic, faeries, karma — I had found my home.
I read everything that caught my eye in the magical/New Age section of libraries and bookstores. But many years passed before I found a book that really helped me begin to heal: Pagan Parenting by Kristen Madden.
She says, “The Goddess is not offended by a woman who makes an intelligent choice about her body and her ability to raise a child. We honor Her by the honesty of choice.”1
I went on to read the author’s ideas about reincarnation and the soul’s journey pertaining to terminated babies. “Frequently, if a being was intending to enter that particular family, it will wait for another opportunity.”2 Madden’s idea intrigued me, but it didn’t feel right, at least not for me. (I had dreamed of my “son” several times while pregnant.) Then I found Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, which states that in each cycle of reincarnation something has to be learned, even if — as in the case of a child dying — that soul is not here very long. He stated that the soul learned all it needed to learn in that limited cycle.3 I had found my answer. That soul, my unborn child, had gathered all he required in those nine weeks, but he had a greater purpose, though I couldn’t see it at the time.
Only recently have I come to understand my unborn child’s purpose in my life. I have always believed that “whatever does not kill you makes you stronger” and that first child definitely strengthened me. He taught me to stand up for myself; about grief and loss and how horrible it feels to be completely alone in the world; and not to settle for just anything or anyone. He also taught me to find the good in all situations. Though he was never born and I never gave him a name, he was my first child all the same. He helped to shape the person I am today so that I am a strong, resilient, outspoken role model for my three daughters.
I married my “Mr. Right” at the age of twenty-five, after dating him for almost five years, and gave birth to my first daughter at the age of twenty-seven. Seventeen months later my identical twin girls were born, blessing me again. By finding the Goddess, I was able to overcome my crippling guilt over a decision I felt I had to make when I wasn’t ready to be a mother to my first child. Now I have been able to recognize that not becoming a mother at nineteen prepared me to become a much better one eight years later.
- Madden, Kristin. Pagan Parenting: Spiritual, Magical, and Emotional Development of the Child. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 2000, p. 215.
- Madden, Kristin, p. 2.
- Buckland, Raymond. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, Second Edition. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, 2003, p. 25.
— ALURA ANWYN first discovered the reality of magic at age 20. She now has three magnificent daughters she home-schools, and occasionally finds time to write.
This article first appeared in the magazine newWitch #18
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