As part of our new, on-going series of interviews with lovely pro-life women, today we’re interviewing Julie Anne Desjardins. Julie will share about her post-abortive journey, her faith and what healing means to her. Check back tomorrow for part 2.
Faye: Thanks for joining us today, Julie. We always start out our interviews with a few “get to know you” questions. Why don’t we jump right in? How do you spend your time?
Julie: I work as a registered nurse in primary care in northern Manitoba. I am married to a wonderfully supportive and long-suffering man and we have a very active five year old who is the light of our lives who challenges even when we would prefer not to be challenged!
A couple of years ago I read several books that inspired me to adopt a whole-foods, plant-based diet and I have become very passionate about good tasting, nutrient-dense food. I love to talk about food almost as much as I love to eat it! I am not a nutritionist or a recipe-creator but when I am passionate about something I tend to throw myself into it 110% so I started a small group on Facebook called Watch Your Mouth where we share ideas, recipes and links related to eating great unprocessed foods and plant-based foods.
The only other passion in my life that trumps family and food would have to be my love for Jesus Christ. He rescued me when I didn’t seem to be worth redeeming and I love Him because He first loved me. At the end of August I started writing a blog called Dose Dependent: Real Life, Well Lived (dosedependent.me) where I write about faith and food. I am also in the middle of creating and delivering a monthly series of messages entitled Faith & Food: Are YOU Getting Enough.
Faye: I’m such a foodie too. I love healthy, whole foods and I enjoyed visiting your blog recently. Great recipes!
Now who is a personal hero?
Julie: Is it cliché to say my mother? My mom died of breast cancer at the age of 51 when I was 22 years old. At that time I remember walking out of a church service when they started singing “only believe, only believe, all things are possible, only believe.” I was pretty mad at God for not healing my mother but I think I was also blaming myself because I was afraid that I lacked faith and that was why God didn’t heal her. But I didn’t want to confront those lies at that time.
The reason I would say my mother is a personal hero though is that the summer she died, as her physical body was wasting away and she was becoming a bed-ridden skeleton, she said it was the best summer of her life. She loved and trusted Jesus with all her heart. I believe she had learned something that keeps you calm in the midst of storms: how to walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Faye: What’s your favourite movie or book?
Julie: As a child I loved the Chronicles of Narnia. When I was old enough to know better I remember closing my eyes and walking very, very slowly into my closet (quite decidedly not a wardrobe) with my hands outstretched. I inched forward so slowly that I actually got excited and had to open my eyes! Lol. You can imagine how disappointed I was to see the back of the closet less than half an inch from my fingertips. I was elated when Walden Media released The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I also really love watching the Polar Express at Christmas with my son; we dance and sing our way through the hot chocolate song.
Faye: I think we all wish Narnia was real!
Do you consider yourself a member of the pro-life movement?
Julie: I think I am afraid to answer this question since I am responding to interview questions from a pro-life organization! Ha. God has done so much work in my life to free me from the shame of my past that I think it might be more accurate to say that I am a member of the “pro-grace” movement. I cannot speak for other women who are post-abortive but having ended the life of my unborn child I feel that my heart and my message is to offer the same grace that God gave me, both to those who are contemplating abortion and to those who are post-abortive.
Faye: You grew up in the church. What was your exposure to the pro-life message or the abortion debate?
Julie: I don’t recall the pro-life/abortion debate being on my radar. I would undoubtedly have identified myself as pro-life but I was busy pursuing other interests. I would have been horrified if anyone had suggested that I would have an abortion.
Faye: As a young adult, you had an abortion. Can you share what happened?
Julie: I was selfish and emotionally damaged. It has always seemed to me that other women have a more compelling and “understandable” explanation for why they chose abortion than I do. I understand that is part of the lie that keeps us isolated from each other and suffering under shame and condemnation but nonetheless, it is something I have struggled with.
When I left the church I started to look for my value and self-worth in romantic relationships. I was never without a guy for very long. At the time I became pregnant I was living with my boyfriend in the United Kingdom. On the surface everything was great. My boyfriend owned a successful business, he didn’t smoke, drink to excess or do drugs, didn’t beat me or cheat on me. But like I said, I was emotionally damaged. I was desperate for someone to want to marry me so that I would know I had value. My boyfriend on the other hand did not want to get married (as you can imagine he, like the rest of us, had his own issues).
So it all boiled down to a) his fear that I would leave him and take the baby back to Canada and b) my irrational thought process that believed he would marry me if I didn’t have this baby (because that is what he said and of course I didn’t want to question that).
The night before the abortion I was so agitated I was hyperventilating. In retrospect I believe it was God speaking to me but I chose to ignore it.
Faye: At the time, did you believe you had any other options?
Julie: I did not want to consider any other options because it did not answer the greatest need in my life at that time: to feel loved. I purposefully avoided pro-life organizations.
Faye: Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us today, Julie. We look forward to picking the interview back up with you tomorrow.by