By Denisha Workizer, Healing Program Coordinator, and Founder/Director of Reclaimed Story Community Fosters Healing I remember the day like it was yesterday. The rush of adrenaline made my arms and legs go numb. An empty, hollow feeling surged through my stomach. I held my phone tightly as I read my dad’s reply after I asked if my mom had considered having an abortion when she was pregnant with me. She didn’t just consider it… She had one! When you find out at 42 years of age that you survived an abortion attempt, your whole perspective on life changes. I began to question so many things. Am I supposed to be alive? What if the abortion had been successful? Am I worthy of love? Why did I survive? Who else knows about this? Did I have a twin? What else do I not know about my life? What does this say about me? I am alone in this? Those are a few of the real thoughts that flooded my head and my heart when I found out I survived my mom’s abortion attempt. I was convinced that I was alone and the only one who had ever survived an abortion procedure. You don’t hear about survivors on the news. In fact, you don’t hear about failed abortions. A few weeks after learning my story, I finally decided I would do it. I would step past my point of comfort and Google, “Abortion Survivor.” I expected Google to redirect me to another search; instead, I found my tribe. I found the Abortion Survivors Network. I was stunned and relieved to know that I didn’t have to navigate this experience alone. These were people who had gone before me and asked many of the same questions I had asked; they understood what it was like to discover this painful truth. Bravely, I typed an email to a total stranger and shared my story. In response, I received a real email from a real-life person filled with understanding and hope that it was possible to belong. Soon after, I began to connect with other survivors. I connected with amazing people who lived their own unique stories and were gracious to love me right where I was. Those people who were once strangers have become some of my closest friends. We have found community, and it is our privilege to extend that gift to others who seek it. In groups, we go through a healing curriculum written by Melissa Ohden, Founder of The Abortions Survivors Network. This program is written by a survivor for survivors. Community fosters healing. I have read that connection with others reduces stress and anxiety and leads to a more robust immune system. It also leads to acceptance, belonging, and a common understanding, something that I had to experience to believe. As overwhelming as my story first was to me, I now see how all of my life experiences have led me to the place I am today. I’m a former pastor, a survivor, a healer, and a community builder. Those who know the bitter sting of rejection deserve to know the loving acceptance of people who know what it’s like to be in their shoes. If you’re a survivor who hasn’t yet joined us for a healing group or community Zoom, we would be honored to have you join us. If you’re a family member who would like more information on how to support the survivor in your life, we’re here for you and have a number of resources we can share. If you’re a ministry or supporter who would like to know more about our healing programs and the unique needs and strengths of our community, I would be honored to speak with you directly. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.