November 29, 2010

Confessions Of A Beauty Queen: My Brush With Abortion


The following is from Joyce Burton Titular who was Ms. Philippines Universe in 1985 and has the blog Adventures Of A Beauty Queen.

We recently celebrated my daughter Diandra’s 20th birthday in our family’s traditional quiet way of marking such personal milestones. I bought her a lovely black and white muumuu gown so she could wear it to please my eye. I love watching her because she is a reflection of me and a reminder of God’s grace in my life.

A little more than twenty and a half years ago, when I found myself pregnant for the 2nd time, I was shocked. It was a bad time to get pregnant – I was in my early 20s with a son who was 1 and a half years old. I was a beauty queen with a modeling and acting career that was starting to pick up again. It just wasn’t a great time to get pregnant.

So I struggled with the idea of abortion.

I thought it was the only way to “fix” the situation. To make sure my career didn’t stall again. Because if it did, how could I ever support my little boy? I already had him and knew that there was no way I could handle another child. Although I was surrounded by family (and my partially-estranged husband) and knew that I could run to them with my troubles, I kept my state a secret and felt so ALONE in my predicament.

But I did have ONE person in my life that I could talk to. My best friend Maureen. I clearly recall the day I told her about my plan to get an abortion. I had found a doctor but was too afraid to go alone. She really blew her top that day and got so angry at me, I was utterly gobsmacked. I had never seen my flouncy Maureen, my party animal girlfriend so red in the face and dead seriously mad at me.

But I told her that no matter what she felt, I was going to get an abortion and THAT was the end of it.

Then she said the most astonishing thing. She said to me, “Joyce, I hate abortion but I love you. And I will be by your side all the way hating it but loving you. I will go with you to the doctor.” I cried a river of tears because I realized that in my most broken moment, I was with a true friend.

So it was on a humid August afternoon twenty and a half years ago that my best friend and I entered the cold hallway of the clinic together with our hearts beating fast. My hands were even colder than the place and I was quaking ever so slightly. If you had looked into my eyes at that moment, you would have seen a scared, confused and lost girl, not knowing what was wrong or right. I was leading myself to the gallows and you would have felt so sorry for me.

After the long check up was done, another astonishing thing was said to me, this time by the doctor. He said, “Iha (Child), I won’t do it. You’re already 4 months and you might die. Tell your family about it, I’m sure in the long run they will be okay with it.”

To this day, I don’t know why I accepted those words so EASILY specially since at the time I was SO dead-set on doing the deed. Why did I not go to another doctor when I knew that there were many out there who would’ve been willing to take my case in spite of the danger?

And why did my heart leap with joy when the doctor said he wouldn’t do it?

I cannot explain it except for one thing…

God had his hand on my daughter and when He spoke, I somehow heard and followed.

Isn’t that funny? Hearing God’s voice through my party animal friend and even more shocking, through an abortion doctor? And me, a Christian only by name, being spoken to by the God of all time? Up to this day I shake my head in wonder over how these things could be true.

I guess that all things ARE possible with such a gracious God.

Ron, Diandra, Me and Migo (Diandra's special someone)
And so, Maureen and I left that cold and dreary clinic grinning like high school kids skipping all the way to her car. What was started out as a dreadful day had suddenly become bright and hopeful. And because Maureen is the consummate party animal, she had only one way to deal with this wonderful development: By driving off to a fancy restaurant, cracking open a bottle of champagne (I only took a few sips, promise!) and having a quiet little dinner party to celebrate the good news: I was keeping my BABY!

When Diandra was about 16 years old, I was asked to share this story at my church but I couldn’t because she had NO idea of my near-brush with abortion. Nevertheless I knew the story had to be told. Maybe there was someone who needed to hear it. Someone struggling between life and abortion. So I went to my daughter and told her what I almost did. I asked for her forgiveness and after an hour of us crying plus the peace negotiating of her step-dad Ron, she forgave me.

On a different occasion I shared this story with some friends. Afterwards, one of them cried and admitted she had an abortion and carried that memory like a cross. I told her that all she needed to do was to give that burden to God. He is willing to swap loads with her anyway – and the good news is that His load is LIGHT!!! So we cried and prayed together and asked for forgiveness. And then we spent the rest of the time talking about her little child in heaven and how much God loved the both of them.

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