Author Noemi Morales tells her story in her powerful book.
By Sarah Terzo
In her 2015 book, From Trauma to Triumph: My Journey after Abortion Noemi Morales describes her decades-long heartache after two abortions. Morales suffered for 25 years before she sought help.
In her book, she says, “With abortion comes lifelong trauma, whether you realize it or not. Life may seem to go on, but it doesn’t. You are among the living, but you cease to live.”
A Deliberate Choice to Get Pregnant
As a young woman, Morales became pregnant intentionally. The man she was dating, who would become the father of her first aborted baby, planned to leave her. She wanted to have a baby, so she slept with him.
She says, “I didn’t think. I just couldn’t think sensibly at all.”
Morales’s older brother had children who her family was “crazy about,” and her younger brother, who was just 15, had recently gotten his 14-year-old girlfriend pregnant. This influenced her decision.
Morales did become pregnant. She says, “My desire to have a child had been realized. I would raise my child as a single mom with the help of my family; I would live happily ever after.”
She thought her parents would support her and the baby, and that her family would be happy for her.
Pressured into an Abortion
However, it didn’t work out that way. Her mother wasn’t pleased.
Morales says, “I have never forgotten the expression on my mother’s face or the first words that came out of her mouth, the words that hurt me so deeply, that have haunted me to this day.”
The words were, “Have an abortion. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last.”
Morales says, “I hastily began thinking of every way possible to keep my baby, even without my family’s help.”
But she gave in and agreed to have an abortion. She wanted to get it over with quickly, because “the longer I waited, the harder it would be.”
Her mother made all the arrangements.
Morales says she felt “pressured, abandoned, and defeated.”
The Painful Emotional Aftermath
After the abortion, Morales says, she was “never the same again.”
Morales describes what she went through:
Feeling disgusted with the mess that I had created and with the fact that I had taken an innocent life, I began going crazy. I couldn’t function mentally. I ended up having to move back to my parents’ home, the home where I thought I would have raised my child… I really had nowhere to go; I had nothing…
While I was very much alive, I had experienced physical death; the child that I had so desperately wanted was gone. The whole ugly scenario played on and on in my mind nonstop. I was alone with others around me, but totally alone…
I dealt with it by being a recluse, not dealing with anything or anyone, and for close to a year, I truly lived in darkness.
As traumatic as the abortion was, sadly, her experience with abortion wasn’t over.
A Man Comes into her Room in the Middle of the Night
After Morales moved out of her family’s house, she had a male friend sleep over. In the middle of the night, he came into her room, wanting to have sex with her.
Morales says, “While I didn’t want it to happen, I let it, I just laid there… as if I had no choice … but I did. I didn’t want sex, but I felt the need to be wanted.”
Morales didn’t resist—but it’s uncertain what would’ve happened if she had. The man was aggressive and may not have taken no for an answer. And he was much stronger than she was and very capable of hurting her. Like any woman, she would’ve been aware of that.
Morales eventually came to think of the incident as rape. It might not be considered that in a court of law – but there were clearly elements of coercion, and she felt violated.
A Second Abortion and a Complication
Morales arranged a second abortion. After it, she developed symptoms of an infection. However, she didn’t want to go to the hospital because she didn’t want to “relive” the abortion. Instead, she tried to care for herself at home.
Fortunately, she recovered from the infection.
Her emotional wounds, however, were harder to heal. She felt she was “truly a failure” for having not just one abortion, but two.
A Life With “Something Missing”
Despite her emotional pain, which never entirely went away, Morales moved on with her life. Seeking forgiveness on some level, she became a born-again Christian. She married a Christian man who was active in ministry and had children. She then survived a battle with cancer. Twenty-five years went by as Morales kept as busy as possible.
But even though her life seemed great on the surface with a loving husband and children, and an active life in her church, Morales didn’t feel happy. She finally acknowledged:
[S]omething was wrong, and I didn’t understand why I was not fulfilled, even though I was happy with my life. Something was missing. My husband had become busier at church, and my children had become young adults, also busy with their studies and church.
I, the caretaker of my family, or so I thought, now found myself very much alone; there was no one to take care of…
I began a deep self-examination that took me back more than 25 years to my abortions… In my mind, I thought that by repenting and living a Christian life, working, and trying to be a good wife and mother, all would be good… But in my soul-searching, the Lord led me to see just how incredibly bound I had been… In not dealing with my past, I could not be at peace or complete in the Lord.
The abortion had affected her life, robbing her of joy. It also affected her ability to live a Christian life and form healthy friendships. She says that she “mostly denied myself opportunities as a Christian worker or isolated myself from forming relationships. I had only felt safe with my immediate family.”
Learning About Post-Abortion Trauma
Morales began researching post-abortion trauma, something she had never heard of. Even though she spent many years in the church, her pastor never discussed abortion healing, nor had she encountered any post-abortive people who told their stories.
Researching post-abortion trauma, she learned about symptoms such as:
bouts of crying, depression, guilt, inability to forgive oneself, intense grief or sadness, anger or rage, emotional numbness, sexual problems or promiscuity, eating disorders, lowered self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, nightmares and sleep disturbances, suicidal urges, difficulty with relationships, anxiety and panic attacks, flashbacks, multiple abortions, pattern of repeat crisis pregnancy, discomfort around babies or pregnant women, fear, ambivalence of pregnancy, and others.
She learned that many post-abortive people shared these symptoms. And, she realized, she did too. She says:
I was shocked that I had never heard of post-abortion trauma and treatment. Out of the 20 symptoms mentioned, I could identify with at least 10. I had buried my past…
Without working things out, without making amends, without grieving, I had stopped growing emotionally, socially, and, worst of all, spiritually.
Finding Healing at Last
Finally, after so many years, Morales looked for healing. She went to a counselor to deal with her trauma, attended a daylong program with group sessions for other post-abortive people, and also went to a Bible study that walked her through the stages of healing.
In an email she wrote to the group Lumina, which helps post-abortive women and men, she says that she spent 25 years “not knowing exactly what was wrong with me.”
A Message to Churches
Morales’s story, and her many years of hidden suffering, show that churches need to address post-abortion trauma. If her pastor hadn’t felt comfortable discussing abortion in a sermon, he could’ve invited a guest speaker from a local pregnancy resource center or one of many pro-life organizations.
Had a post-abortive woman given a presentation at Morales’s church, she might have found healing much sooner. Members of the clergy should give a platform to those who have found healing from post-abortive trauma if they don’t feel qualified or comfortable addressing the issue themselves.
And pro-lifers need to continue to raise awareness of organizations that help post-abortive people to deal with the emotional trauma that so often accompanies abortion.
Source: Noemi Morales From Trauma to Triumph: My Journey after Abortion (2015) xv, 7-8, 9, 10, 17, 19, 21.