New York-born actress April Hernandez was living the dream in Hollywood. A role in a major movie launched her career, leading to roles in numerous television shows. But everyone has secrets. And hers lay buried behind the facade of success.
One of those was the trauma of an abusive relationship that kept drawing her back into an unhealthy situation. When she found herself pregnant, she realized she didn't want to be connected to this abusive man for the rest of her life.
When people talk about your freedom of choice to abort an unplanned pregnancy, no one tells you how difficult it is to find freedom from the depression, guilt and shame that comes with that choice.
Hernandez remembers making this big decision alone in the midst of trauma, stress and distress. She remembers thinking, This is worse than the abuse. How did I end up here?
"I felt like a murderer," she says. "It never felt empowering. Society has made it seem like it is liberating. No one talks about the emotional side."
Afterward, waiting for a ride, she cursed herself and her womb; vowing never to have children. She felt as though she deserved to punish herself. No one was there for her. "Part of you doesn't want to do this, but you are terrified," she says. "You are young, it's very personal, and you are making the decision all alone. It happens in a moment, but no one tells you that you will suffer from this for years. I have known women in their 60s who had an abortion decades ago, and they are still suffering."
Years later, Hernandez still found it hard to be around children. She married, and when her husband began talking about having a family, she panicked at the thought. She couldn't imagine herself being a mother; she didn't feel worthy. And keeping all this stress inside was making her sick.
One in 4 women today has suffered an abortion. Many carry a secret pain that expresses itself in depression, suicidal thoughts or fear of getting pregnant. They cover it up and try to function, but it keeps popping up. They may have bouts of crying and intense grief and sadness. They may have intimacy problems, promiscuity, eating disorders, problems with drugs and alcohol or difficulties with relationships. They suffer flashbacks as in PTSD.
In 2008, Hernandez found the freedom she desperately needed. She says, "I was not looking for God. I thought I was OK. I was sitting in church, and they were talking about forgiveness. The word pierced me. I thought, Do people know; does the pastor know?"
Slowly, she found her hand reaching up and found herself walking to the front of the church. "I felt God's power flow through me, and I heard God say, 'I forgive you. I need you to forgive yourself.'
That night, God revealed to Hernandez that she was carrying a little girl. She felt as though chains were breaking off her womb and realized God had broken the curse she had put on herself. "God's power is real, and His forgiveness is real," she says. "As soon as you ask, it is gone; it is in the sea of forgetfulness."
If you are in a situation like Hernandez's, struggling with a decision when you are in the middle of trauma, not in your right mind, you need to know that you have options. Abortion is not the answer. It brings death in so many ways. Reach out to someone who can connect you with Jesus and with others who can give you support. God can bring you through anything.
If you had an abortion in the past, you need to know God is the healer. The guilt and the shame keep you from being healed from the pain. God wants to remove that burden. He will bring healing where no one else could ever help.
The Holy Spirit wants you to know that your baby is in heaven with Jesus. Now it's time to take care of you and be healed from the trauma the enemy holds over you.
God wants to set you free, just as God has delivered, healed and set Hernandez free. God is the answer.
Listen to April Hernandez's full interview on this episode of Joy With Danette Crawford.
Danette Crawford is a powerful speaker, author, TV host and international evangelist with a refreshing message of hope and encouragement. Danette has a master's degree in counseling from Regent University. She is the founder and president of Danette Crawford Ministries and its outreach arm, Joy Ministries Evangelistic Association Inc. The ministry organizes inner-city work with over 23 different compassion programs dedicated to sustainable aid. She is the host of Joy With Danette Crawford on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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