This is such a powerful story!
Catholic author, speaker, and podcaster Katie Prejean McGrady recently shared an incredibly powerful story about a woman she encountered on an airplane.
McGrady had her laptop open, and the woman saw a photo of her baby on the screen.
The photo instigated small talk, and eventually, the woman revealed a heart-wrenching story about how her abortion has affected her life.
Here’s the story below:
Here’s the full text of the story:
“Last summer, I found myself upgraded, sitting in 1st class, next to a woman with a fairly high powered job at a Fortune 500 company. She was dressed to the nines, had a look of “no-nonsense-business” about her, & we didn’t talk to one another for the first hour of the flight.
“But when I opened my laptop, with this picture set as my desktop background, she said, ‘Oh wow. She’s beautiful. Is that your daughter?’
“I proudly said yes. ‘That’s my Rose. Almost a year old. She’s just the best.’
“The woman nodded her head, said ‘Looks like she is!’ And went back to typing on her laptop.
“A few minutes later she asked: ‘Is she your only child?’
“’So far,’ I replied. ‘We hope to have more someday.’
“‘That’s great. Kids need siblings.’
“She seemed like a kind woman, and even though we were chatting only intermittently, something told me she wanted to talk more. She kept starting the conversation.
“So I asked, ‘Do you have any children?’
“She got quiet. Really quiet. And nodded.
“‘I have 2. Well, 3. But only 2 here.'”
“I didn’t say anything in response. I’ve heard that phrase before. I assumed she’d had a miscarriage, or perhaps lost a child to an illness or accident. I didn’t press.
“Then she said, ‘I had an abortion when I was married to my first husband.'”
“I sat there in silence. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know where she stood on the issue. I didn’t know if she regretted it, was proud of it, confused by it, hurt by it…
“She offered this info and I didn’t have a good response, other than to silently say ‘Lord, have mercy.’
“But then, she continued, “’I was working in New York. Finance. Rising in the ranks. One of the only women with any power there. He was traveling all the time. Starting companies. Burning through cash. I was on the pill, forgot a few doses, we got pregnant…just bad timing.’
“She continued, ‘I got an appointment within the week, we put the abortion on a credit card, I only had to miss 2 days of work for it.’
“She wasn’t looking at me as she spoke. She was just kind of staring ahead at the seat in front of us, occasionally looking down at her hands.
“She continued, ‘We got divorced 4 years later. We’d both changed. He was never home. I was gaining influence at the company. We finally wanted kids and couldn’t…’
“Then she got really quiet. A solid 2 minutes of just complete silence hung between us, and then she kept going…
“‘I guess the abortion is what did it. Both to me and to us. We knew someone was missing, but neither of us wanted to admit it had been a mistake. And I was hurt. My body wasn’t the same.’
“I wanted to reach out and hold her hand at this point, but I think she’d forgotten I was there.
“I finally spoke, waiting a few minutes to ensure I didn’t interrupt.
“‘I’m so sorry,’ I said.
“‘No. I’m the one that’s sorry,” she said back. ‘I deprived the world of my child, I deprived myself of my child, & I’ll never forgive myself for that.'”
“And then I reached for her hand.
“I held her hand for a few minutes.
“She was teary eyed, but not crying. Our laptops sat there on the tray tables, ignored, both running screen savers of pictures of our families. I noticed her children were Hispanic and she and her husband were white. I assumed they were adopted.
“Eventually she spoke again.
“’Not a day goes by I don’t think of the baby I aborted. Not a single day. But the world isn’t designed for women to have babies. Especially if women want to work. Abortion shouldn’t be the answer. Our world should just be more supportive of mothers.’
“I let go of her hand.
“’Thank you for sharing that with me.’ I said.
“She finally turned to look at me. ‘You’re welcome,’ she said. ‘Thank you for listening. And thank you for having your daughter, and wanting more.’
“We didn’t talk much after that, but we did hug as we got off the plane, and I assured her I’d pray for both her and her family.
“I don’t know her name or where she’s from. I know where she works, I know she’s successful, and I know she regrets her abortion. And I pray for her every day.
“On days likes today, when thousands of people March for Life in D.C., I’m proud of the pro-life movement.
“But the work of changing legislation & converting hearts begins after the streets empty and marchers go home. It begins when we meet people, listen to them, & love them.”