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My Abortion Nightmare

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Hello everyone, my name is Stella. I'm going to share my story of loss below and I know it's not going to be easy for me to do, but I feel like I have to do this; not only for myself, but for the son that I had in my dream.

My story begins when I was 12 years old. At that time, things in my life were incredibly turbulent. I was dealing with severe bullying at school, my mom was being abusive, and I just felt so alone at that time. I was contemplating running away, coming up with plans, and even writing goodbye notes. At the age of 12, something strange started to happen. I started having very realistic dreams about running away from home and these dreams would happen on a consistent basis for years, taking place in the same setting. In those dreams, I was 19.

While in these dreams, a lot of terrible things ended up happening to me, but I'll spare you the details. Anyways, in a dream that I had when I was about 14 or 15 years old, that's a dream that changed me forever. In this dream, I was on the ground in a dirty alleyway and I was clutching my stomach just sobbing uncontrollably. I was only 14 at the time and knew virtually nothing about abortion, but I still knew what had happened. I ended up waking up with tears in my eyes and obsessing about it for the rest of the day. Usually with my nightmares, I'll end up getting over them as the days pass. That's what usually happens, but it didn't happen for this dream.

In the days after this dream, I would find myself crying any time I entered the baby aisle of a store and saw all the things I would have loved to get for my son... and I know I was going to have a son too. I don't know how I knew, but I knew... and his name is Joseph. I also found myself tearing up or crying whenever I thought of him. And you want to know what else? It was not just a surface level of hurt I was feeling either. I was feeling like a part of my soul was missing, and to try and fill that part of my soul, I would buy realistic weighted baby dolls to hold, thinking that would help the pain go away. It didn't help the pain at all and just left me feeling a bit guilty for thinking that I could replace my son like that.

Now, let me be perfectly clear that when I got an abortion in my dream, it was absolutely not because I did not want my son. Even then, I loved him ever so dearly with all of my heart, and to this day I still do. The reason that I did what I did was not because of convenience, not wanting him, or not loving him. I did it because I was trying to protect him. In that dream, I was being repeatedly attacked by people, and I thought that by having an abortion, I would be sparing him from being hurt or having to suffer in any other ways. Even then, I didn't want to do it, but I felt that I had no other choice. I had to do it, for his sake... but that did not make what I did any less painful.

It's been 8 to 9 years since I've had that horrible nightmare, and in that time, I've been feeling sad when thinking of Joseph, but I've also been trying to push down those emotions I've been having, thinking that I didn't deserve to feel this way at all since I only lost my son in a nightmare. I felt this way for a long time, but then I decided to do some volunteer work this summer, and one of the places that I've been wanting to volunteer at was Rachel's Vineyard. For those who don't know, Rachel's Vineyard is an organization that helps women and men who have gone through the pain that abortion brings and are seeking healing. You don't have to have had an abortion to volunteer, so I thought maybe I'd see about volunteering with them. I ended up speaking with the woman who runs our local Rachel's Vineyard and I told her about my nightmare and the ensuing grief that I've been feeling for years afterwards. She asked me if I've ever considered going on a retreat, and I stated that I've wanted to go to one for a few years now, but I didn't feel that I belonged there because I didn't really have an abortion. Besides, some other woman who's actually had an abortion would deserve that space more than me. The woman I was speaking to responded by saying, "But it sounds like the pain that you're going through is very real." And, you know what? She was right. My pain is real, even if the nightmare that caused it didn't take place in my waking life. I thought about it for a few days and then decided I'd sign up to go on the next Rachel's Vineyard retreat, which should be taking place later on this summer.

In the days since I had that conversation with the woman who runs our local Rachel's Vineyard, I've started to acknowledge my pain as valid and real, and I've also started to try and work through it. I had no idea that doing that would open the floodgates to so many painful and heart-wrenching emotions, but that's exactly what happened. Yesterday, I cried twice (very heavily) at the thought of my son, had to hold my tears in all day at work, and was just a complete mess. I couldn't focus on anything because of how sad I felt and I honestly started to wonder if I was going crazy for feeling this way. I know that I'm not, but it still just feels so unreal that I should be experiencing such a deep level of grief when my son was never really in my waking life to begin with.

...You may be wondering why I keep saying "in my waking life" instead of "in real life". There's a reason I'm using that phrase. I'm avoiding the phrase "in real life" because it makes it sound like I'm saying that my son wasn't real... He did not exist in my waking life, but he was still real to me... and he always will be. It's been almost a decade since I had that nightmare and I'm still grieving over his loss; you can't tell me that he wasn't real because he had to be real enough for me to be feeling this amount of heartbreak. Not only that, but it feels disrespectful to his memory to be saying that he did not exist. He did exist in some capacity (even if it was only in a nightmare) and I will always hold a very special place for him in my heart for the rest of my life. It might not make sense to many other people, but that's my reality and I'm sticking to it.

I'm going to be going to see a therapist about my grief next week so that maybe I can start with the healing process. I know that healing from this is not going to be immediate, nor will it be easy... but I have to do it for my son and my future children. If Joseph were here, I know he would not want for me to be grieving over him 24/7. He would not want for me to forget him, but he would not want me to be sad all the time either.

I'm going to go post about how I'm currently trying to cope with my loss in the "Coping with Loss" forum, but before that, I have something I need to say to my son.

To my dearest Joseph: I just want for you to know that your mommy loves you so so much and will always keep you with her wherever she goes. She will try her very hardest to do you proud in this life, and maybe in the end God will let her see you in the next life... I don't care if it sounds illogical that I would see you in Heaven, I'm still praying to God to help me see you again in Heaven where we can properly meet and be together again. And Joseph, I want you to know that mommy is so very sorry for not fighting harder to protect you; for not doing more to try and escape her situation to save both of us. Please forgive me for the decision that I made, and please know that you did nothing that made me make that decision. You were innocent and loved and cherished, and you always will be. Rest in peace, my love, and know that mommy will always love you, no matter what.

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