Dani was the name I wrote on the little tag attached to the balloon before I released it into the sky. I believed my baby to be a girl.
Twelve months prior I had attended a memorial service as a volunteer as part of my internship at Bible College. The service was held on the Saturday before Mother’s Day each year. From all across the Gold Coast women would gather to remember the loss of their children through miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion. The service flowed with reflections and poetry. Acoustic songs sounded to the heavens as careful words attempted to frame the mystery of loss. Balloons were handed out at the conclusion of the service. Each one was attached to string and a little white tag. The tag provided the space to write the name of the child in memory and the date when the child passed from earth to eternity.
Every person attending received a balloon. Regardless of whether individuals were attending for personal reasons, as a support or as a volunteer, each was given a balloon to release. Perhaps this helped with confidentiality and anonymity.
I took mine, comforted by anonymity, but unprepared for the flood of emotion that came as I stared at that little white card, willing my hand to write. I had come to serve, to assist, to focus on others, to volunteer. I had no intention of connecting with this moment nor did I expect this moment to connect with me. Hadn’t I processed my loss?
I’d had counselling, I’d talked about it, I’d moved on. Four years had passed since my abortion, I had my life back on track and was now happy, on course and involved in ministry.
I thought back to my counselling sessions. I was sure there had been healing. Each session included a time where I had to close my eyes and visualise where God was as I walked into a room. In the first session, He had been on a big chair in a large room; He was distant, serious and disappointed. I explained to the counsellor I knew He loved me; I just didn’t feel it was okay to be close. My experience had caused shame to hold me back, separating me from the love I so desperately yearned for.
Slowly, during those sessional visualisations He became closer, or rather I viewed myself as being allowed to draw near. What I thought was the final stage in healing came soon after I attended my second colour conference. The Princess, Warrior, Daughter of a King message became fully alive within me. At my next scheduled counselling appointment we went through the same visualisation exercise but this time, as the counsellor asked me to close my eyes and visualise walking into a room where God was, I was taken aback by what I saw. As I shut my eyes, I saw myself right up close. I watched myself crawl into my Father’s lap, sit at His feet. I was free to be as close as I needed to be.
My sessions with the counsellor ended soon after that. I’d assumed the healing I’d experienced at the conference was the last thread I needed for my healing journey. Yet here, today, as I held my balloon and looked at the little white card in my hand, the tears were evidence that the Holy Spirit was digging a little deeper. Pen in hand, I stared at the space I was meant to write the name and date of the baby I had chosen to abort. I couldn’t write anything. I’d remained so disconnected from what I had done I had never named my baby and worse yet, I couldn’t recall the day, week, month or even the year the ordeal had happened. I had pushed the memory far from my consciousness.
The fogginess didn’t surprise me. I had done all within my power to wipe the experience from my memory. Changing my route into town so I’d no longer drive past the clinic. Looking away and tuning out when I saw pregnant women. Pushing away thoughts that remotely reminded me of what I’d done. For the most part, it had worked. The memory surfaced often at first then as time passed, hardly at all. Then it was gone. Until now.
Here, today, at this service as I stood with this little white card attached to a balloon the trauma came back as though it were yesterday. I grieved for the young girl who had walked through the situation alone—I didn’t recognise her anymore. I wished I could have helped her, been there for her, comforted her and stood by her as her internal world had crumbled. I grieved the heartache which had been so deep that not even the year that it happened could be recalled. Was I nineteen? Twenty? Twenty- one? I had no idea. The amnesia was the result of desperately desiring to bury the past and forget about it.
The surrounding women who had dates and names inscribed on their hearts provided such a stark contrast to the numbness I had chosen to feel. I had nothing. In my self-centeredness, I had not wanted to acknowledge the date at the time, nor any time after. That day I wrote the only word that came to me: unknown.
Name: unknown Date: unknown
And with that word written twice on my little card I released it into the sky and walked away feeling like I was at the beginning again.
During the next twelve months, I returned to the clinic and retrieved my information. I had to know the details for my own peace of mind and the dignity of my unborn child. I retrieved the date and connected with the moment enough to name my unborn baby. It was a part of the healing process. I faced the facts, acknowledged the date and what I’d done, repented, and truly felt free to move on.
Twelve months later I found myself volunteering at the same Memorial Day. I took my little white tag attached to a balloon and held it with purpose. On the card, I wrote two things: her name, and the date I allowed her to be taken from my womb. As I released my balloon it carried with it a myriad of feelings that framed my journey.
Daughter Wait! is an invitation to consider a different approach to dating and relationships. If you have ever wondered: How do I have a Godly relationship? How do I know if he is the one? What are realistic boundaries in a Christian relationship? How do I move on from a broken heart? Then this book is for you.
Written in Carly’s unique conversational style, you’ll cry, laugh and cheer as you follow her story of love and loss. Daughter Wait is a timeless reminder that regardless of your past, God has the best for your future.
Carly lives on the Gold Coast, Australia with her husband Joe and their two girls: Beni and Selah. She is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, a lover of His Church, His people, His Word and life in general. Daughter Wait! is the first of many books she hopes to write.