Defeating Hopelessness-Overcoming the Shame of Abortion

The North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined hopelessness as “the subjective state in which an individual sees limited or no alternatives or personal choices available and is unable to mobilize energy on his or her own behalf.”

I know what hopelessness feels like. I battled with it thirty years ago. It’s a deep emotional tormenting feeling of loneliness, worthlessness, shame, failure, guilt, and darkness.

I was a 20 year old college student who used college life as an escape from my reality. In “my” real world I was an awkward, sore thumb who battled internally with feelings of rejection and not loving myself.

I felt different and as a young girl who was always the tallest in my class, slightly overweight, with gap teeth, and deformed feet I had constant reminders that I was different. I can attest to the destructive power of negative and toxic thoughts and faulty beliefs. Because internally I had convinced myself that I was unloved and unliked, based on being teased by kids at school and even family members. Not only can sticks and stones break your bones but so can words. Words broke me! Words wounded my soul and shattered my spirit.

I remember it like yesterday, I was a young teenager in the church choir, an adult choir member was irritated with me because I chose to wear a beautiful brooch on my choir robe. I think that was against the church rules, although I don’t recall anyone ever saying so. Looking back from a restored place, I think the woman who scorned me was just irritated by my freedom, slight rebellion, and independence.

Unfortunately, my self esteem wasn’t as peak as it is today so I was crushed when she screeched out at me in front of everyone “Vanessa, you’re not supposed to wear that brooch, you always stick out like a sore thumb.” Ouch, the sting of those words broke my spirit. ‘They broke my bones’. A huge lump built up in my throat and huge tear drops left my eyes, and rolled down to my choir robe. No one offered hope to me that day. No one said a word. The choir members proceeded to sing songs of worship to God with me on the back row crying uncontrollably with that same lump in my throat. I felt depleted, drained, humiliated, and vowed never to return to church again. That was one of many days that hope seemed like an impossible reality to me. With an internal, seemingly never ending war, of constant feelings of rejection and feelings of worthlessness, I did a pretty good job of convincing myself of the same. I felt like a freak, felt like people were staring at me and disgusted by my presence.
You see a mindset that is left with toxic thoughts growing wild is breeding ground for despair, darkness, hopelessness, depression, and an opportunity for the enemy to taunt you with lies.

You may think that my story of the choir robe and brooch is petty but when you already battle internally with soul wounds, rejection, negative word curses, and being taunted and bullied it really doesn’t take much to oppress you. Hopelessness sets in relatively easy when the foundation is already laid.

I eventually learned to turn to marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes, partying, and men as a source of acceptance and validation.


When I was intoxicated or high, I could get lost in my daydreams-it was a time to escape reality and detach from my internal pain. I lived a fantasy. I was loved, beautiful, and accepted. Even though the men I was entangled with were far from healthy relationships we seemed to feed off each other’s pain. I now realize they were broken too. Broken people attract and are attracted to broken people. Most of the men I dated were older. I know now I was looking for a father’s love, for male authority. My father passed away in 2007 but all of my life I just don’t recall ever hearing him say ‘I love you’. Not hearing those words created a void in my soul and lay a foundation for rejection. Despite this I love my Father and have no ill will towards him at all just identifying roots.

My Father loved God and I’m sure was dealing with his own soul wounds. He’s totally forgiven. I chose to uproot those painful memories of my past and in some ways I’ve learned to accept that the toxic parts of my past are non existent.

I eventually moved away to college in 1990, I started college as a 20 year old who felt a deep sense of failure and addicted to cycles of self sabotage.

By the fourth year I had wrecked my automobile, dropped out of community college, ran away to live in Atlanta for a year, and was severely addicted to getting high. On the college campus I found more rejection from snooty city girls though I did manage to connect to a few girls and develop friendships which by the way was a new concept for me. I was much more interested in partying and getting high. It was during my college years that I GOT PREGNANT I panicked and felt alone. I remember the doctors saying my baby would be born with severe birth defects, including missing limbs. Alone in a clinic I made the decision to get a late-term abortion. I remember the day of the abortion procedure, the hospital staff was a bit cold and stiff. I’m sure they have to separate themselves from the emotional tie.

I was told I would be given a saline injection which in turn would start labor contractions ending in the birth of my stillborn baby. I was left alone in a cold hospital room going through all the symptoms of what felt like a normal delivery, only to give birth to a deceased baby.

I rang the hospital bell to notify the nurse I had delivered. It felt like hours before anyone came to my room, I’m sure it was only minutes. I was told it was a baby girl. The tears streamed, I felt lonely, guilty and ashamed, it was unbearable.

I was offered no emotional support from the hospital staff, no referral for counseling from the prenatal clinic, and the shame I experienced prevented me from reaching out to my family and I dared not seek help from the religious community.

When the mind is filled with toxic thoughts and in a depressive mindset, the worst thing to do is make life altering decisions. I didn’t understand depression and degenerate Mindsets then, I was such a loner and felt so isolated in my mind that I didn’t know how to reach out to anyone. I had become numb to sharing my heart because I couldn’t handle being teased, misunderstood, taunted, rejected, or mocked anymore. I contemplated suicide in my mind. I often thought about taking myself out of the world. I am glad I didn’t.

Hopelessness causes you to feel despondent, and low in spirits. It keeps you on the merry-go-round of oppression, darkness, depression, isolation, and fear. You feel like you’re on a spin cycle of failure. You function but there’s no real feeling of life on the inside. You detach from your true identity because it’s a source of pain and rejection. I mean with so many people repeatedly treating you like a freak of nature you convince yourself that something is wrong with you, that surely God made a mistake when you were born.

I often wished I had never been born. I’ve never shared this before but I created alter egos within my head. I would become other personalities trying to create one that somebody would love. In my fantasies I was accepted. It was the only place I felt accepted.

After years of living in this mental prison. One night in my home in 1996 God changed my life—-forever, In what can only be described as an outer body experience, a miracle, the Spirit of God visited me in my bedroom. By this time I was married to {my first husband} with my first of two children. This particular night I was in a dark place emotionally. I was very sad, crying, hopeless, and in despair. I remember sitting at the foot of my bed in the dark wondering if I should continue living. But at that moment the Spirit of God spoke to my heart. I had a three month old son, and equally important I was deserving of life! I cried out to God and He Heard me and delivered me—instantly. I received His love, forgiveness, eternity with Him, power, and for the first time in my life a SOUND MIND.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

This scripture was a game changer for me. Before my miraculous encounter with God, my life was ruled by the spirit of fear or what one bible translation calls the spirit of cowardice; which manifests itself in timidity and shrinking oneself to avoid intimidating conflicts. It was in this verse that I learned that it was not the nature nor the will of God to create anyone who felt safe operating as a coward. Shrinking or dummying down just to appease man or in order to escape man’s displeasure with me was not a mindset that came from the Spirit of God. I reinvented my life with this newfound revelation that God’s original intention for my life was to have a sound mind: The intellectual or intelligent power, understanding; the power to conceive, the power to create, the power to judge, or reason, and most importantly, the power to live in abundance!

I love the Greek word for sound mind: sophron’. It means self-controlled, temperate, well balanced. Look at the root: (phrēn) its where we get the word “diaphram,” the inner organ (muscle). The diaphragm regulates physical life, controlling breathing and heartbeat. Through this life changing unveiling I’ve learned the power of meditation, breathing in fresh air and exhaling toxins, and relaxation exercises—breathing from my diaphragm-my heartbeat and breathing are regulated, giving me mental clarity, reducing brain fog, stress and ultimately aiding me in gaining a sound mind. Did you catch that? Life is regulated by the diaphragm (by a sound mind). The Spirit of God spoke to me and drew my attention to the connectivity of faith, hope, faithlessness and hopelessness. If faith can be restored hope can be restored, If hope can be restored lives can be saved and depressive and oppressive mindsets can be healed.

The scriptures below helped me in my healing journey.

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope can be restored, I am living proof of it. I started to believe how God sees me and I wish I could tell you I had a neatly outlined and packaged process to overcoming hopelessness. Honestly, hope was found after many failed efforts to reclaim the authenticity of my identity. I realized that nothing external could save me. My truth is this: after over two decades of serving and searching for God in doctrine and religion, I finally realized God was within me. The Kingdom is not in observation as Jesus said, it’s not something that can be discovered externally. The Kingdom is an internal place of rulership, sovereignty, and dominion and it is all within the Soul. Once I became conscious of this deep level of truth hope was restored. For me it meant evolving and challenging my core beliefs. I had to do deep inner work, I had to endure the dark night of the soul. I understood Psalm 23 with clarity and revelation. “Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the death I will fear no evil”. I felt like a version of myself died in order for my heart and soul to expand and make room for the new, higher version of Vanessa to emerge. My name means butterfly—and like the butterfly I lived in the cocoon until I was ready for true flight in freedom. Like the phoenix I too had to rise from the ashes. My transformation was a result of much inner healing, meditation, releasing the limiting and self-defeating beliefs that persistently continued to oppress me and hold me hostage in the loop of despair. Today I am happy, full of life and the divine spark of God is my Source. I found Vanessa and that is what I was looking for all along.

Author profile
Vanessa R Brooks

Is a Spiritual Entrepreneur, Owner & CEO of Brooks Consulting & Training Solutions, LLC , Inner Healing Specialist, Neuro-Leader, Law of Attraction Expert, Counselor, & Consultant. I help professional and purpose driven individuals experience deep inner healing, emotional and mind healing, and soul care.