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Feb 26, 2022 1025 Eileen Craig

Healing From Guilt of Abortion

Now that I was married, I thought I could move ahead as if none of the past things happened and the pain would disappear; but instead I began to struggle with depression and anger…

I was born as the ninth child in a big Irish Catholic family. My mom was truly devout Catholic but my father’s addiction to drinking caused a lot of problems which set me up to be vulnerable. When I was fourteen, I was raped, but when I disclosed it, someone told me, “You should not have let that happen. Now you are a whore”. So, even though it wasn’t true, I believed that about myself. Because I didn’t want to be a whore, I got a boyfriend. Because I’d picked up a false sense of morality from the culture around me, I thought it was okay to have sex as long as I was in a “relationship”.

By the time I was sixteen, we were pregnant. He pressured me to have an abortion so we could finish high school. I was sick, confused, scared but saw it as a problem that needed to be solved. When he took me to an abortion clinic, I was shaking so badly that the nurse gave me valium to calm me down. Then she said, “Don’t worry about it, honey. It’s not a baby. It’s just a clump of cells.” I went completely numb, but the laughter of the abortionist as he exclaimed, “That’s the way I like to get them,” still haunts me. I still feel the tears rolling down my face, saturating the paper sheet I was lying on. 

My first day back at school is embedded in my memory. I was standing in the hallway when a kid came up to me, looked at me with concern and said, “Eileen what’s wrong?” Immediately this wave of denial came over me and I quickly answered, “Nothing, Why?” 

“I don’t know, you look different”.

I was Different! 

My life spiraled downwards. I began to drink and use drugs to keep myself numb and to stay in the same “relationship”. By the time I was eighteen, we were pregnant again and had another abortion. I was so traumatized by the experience that I remember nothing about it—even the location. But my sister and boyfriend remember. I couldn’t deal with that much pain.

We broke up, but I started another “relationship”. If I were to describe my soul then, I would have to say it was in total moral decay, like the culture I had allowed myself to be sucked into.

When I was twenty-three, I was shocked out of my torpor by the worst event of my life. Mom was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. At her funeral, I was transfixed by the incense rising above the casket. It’s a symbol of our prayer rising up to God, but I saw it as Mom’s soul going to be with God. Mom was a faithful woman, so I was sure she would end up in Heaven. I longed to see her again someday, so I wanted to go there too, but my life would have to change. I hit my knees then and cried out to the Lord. I began to go back to church, but a month after Mom died, I found out I was pregnant. I had this overwhelming sense that Mom knew everything now that she was with God.

Unforgotten Pain

I got a job to support my daughter, had her baptized and gave her the love and care I was longing for. The Lord brought a good man into my life, so I prepared for our wedding by making a good Confession of all my sins, including the abortions. When the priest absolved me and told me that “Jesus loves you”, I wasn’t convinced because I felt that I had committed the most unforgivable sin. I was in denial about how much pain I still carried, even though I thought about it every day.

I had this idea that everything would be good now that I was married and we could have the good life together that I had always wanted. I thought I could move forward as if none of the past had ever happened and all the pain would just disappear.

Instead, I began to struggle with depression and anger. I was really struggling with intimacy with people. I felt unable to be myself and be real with them, so I had difficulty making and maintaining friendships. I had a fragmented sense about myself and although I still thought about the babies I had aborted every day, I never talked about them to anyone.

But the Lord hadn’t forgotten me. I made a new friend, Grace who introduced me to Sister Helen, a nun who had the gift of healing.

When she prayed over me, she told me something about myself that she could never have known. That terrified me. Abortion affects women on a lot of different levels and one of its impacts on me was a fear of Jesus. In church I was okay because I imagined Him as somewhere far off in Heaven. This time she said, “Eileen I don’t know what it is, but there is something that Jesus wants you to tell me.” I broke down in tears while I told her about the abortions. “Okay I understand”, she murmured gently. “First I want you to pray about this. Ask Jesus what your children’s names are.”As I prayed, I felt the Lord tell me that I had a little girl named Autumn and a little boy named Kenneth. They were going to be a part of me for all eternity. So, I needed to stop denying them and embrace them. It gave me the permission that I needed to grieve—a pillow soaking, gut wrenching grief.

Cuddled in Her Arms

One day, my husband came home from work early to find me lying in a fetal position on the basement floor engulfed in tears, because I had finally admitted to myself that I had participated in taking the lives of my own children. My husband gently picked me up off the floor and asked, “Honey, What’s wrong?” I was given the grace to finally tell my husband about the abortions. He held me close, whispering, “It’s going to be okay, I still love you”.

When I returned to Sister Helen for more healing prayer, in my mind’s eye, I saw myself sitting on Jesus’ lap with my head pressed to His chest. Then I saw the blessed Mother cuddling my babies in her arms. She brought them to me and I held them close as I told them how much I loved them and how sorry I was. I begged for their forgiveness before I entrusted them back into the Blessed Mother’s loving arms. She promised me they would be with her and Jesus in Heaven for all eternity. Then as Jesus and Mary embraced me again, I heard Jesus say, “I STILL LOVE YOU.”

I had been inspired by people who bore witness to God’s loving mercy, so now I felt called to do the same by telling my story, helping with the Rachel’s Vineyard retreats for women seeking healing from the effects of abortion and becoming a therapist.

Restored to Life

When people ask me, “As a therapist, how do you hold all this trauma when you hear all these people’s stories?” and I tell them that I don’t do it alone. Mary does it with me. I am consecrated to her, so everything I do is for Jesus through Mary. Daily Rosary and daily reception of Our Lord at Mass give me the strength I need. It is there that I meet my children every day because all of Heaven comes down to surround the altar at every Mass.

After more than thirty years, I contacted the father of my aborted children to tell him about my healing and offer that hope to him. He thanked me because it gave him insight into why his life felt so directionless and gave him hope that it could be different. His voice broke as he told me, “Those were the only two kids I ever had.”

ARTICLE is based on the testimony shared by Eileen Craig for the Shalom World program “Mary My Mother”. Eileen is a wife, mother and a licensed counselor. Married for over 34 years, she and her husband live in Michigan and they have three adult children. To watch the episode visit:


Eileen Craig

Eileen Craig

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