Born between two abortions, Janet Mercado said she’s had such strong feelings of rejection that she wonders if it was genetically passed on — something that originated in the womb when …
Born between two abortions, Janet Mercado said she’s had such strong feelings of rejection that she wonders if it was genetically passed on — something that originated in the womb when her mother was considering terminating her pregnancy. For Janet, it’s the only thing that makes sense about her deeply ingrained insecurity.
At the same time, the gifted singer said she has found the solution to her insecurity and is pursuing her ultimate goal of reaching millions with a message of faith, hope and love that could resolve all insecurities. Born in New York City where she was raised for 12 years, she explained, “I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere because I lived in the projects in New York City. We lived in a crime infested neighborhood filled with drugs and drive-by shootings. It was a very rough neighborhood. I didn’t get to go to Broadway or Central Park. My life was very sheltered. I was home-schooled and I went to church. That was it.”
Besides that, she recalls growing up in a divided home where her father was a Christian and her mother wasn’t.
“She didn’t want to know anything about God,” she recalled. “It created a lot of conflicts in the home — a lot of yelling and fighting and arguing. Many times I found myself in the middle of those arguments, trying to stop them as a 5-year-old. It was so much yelling, I couldn’t take it. So I would start screaming and telling them to stop. It was really tough. For me, personally, it was very challenging up to the age of 12, when my mother met the Lord.”
The psychological impact of being raised in a spiritually divided household was further strained by the memory of being placed with a family far away from her own.
“I was sent to the Dominican Republic for two years to live with relatives, which was very traumatic for me,” Mercado admits. “It changed my whole perspective. There’s a lot of poverty over there. It could be considered a Third World country. I got to see the need of children my age — without food or clothing. It changed my perspective as a child on how to be more appreciative for what I had. Compared to those kids I was rich or wealthy. That turned out to be a positive, life-changing experience. The negative thing about it was I could not understand why my parents sent me there.They tried to explain that it was because of their work but it was difficult for me to understand that. I was very angry at my parents. There was a relationship gap. It just messed things up.”
Such an experience did not help her deep-seated feelings of insecurity and rejection. she acknowledged, “Being able to grow up and socialize more was a real challenge for me. I feel like you should be able to enjoy your childhood, not overcome it. I feel like I overcame my childhood. It was so difficult.”
Learning later in life that she escaped a death sentence at birth would prove to be another difficult hurdle for her to overcome.
“After my mom became a Christian, she confessed to me that she had several abortions,” she said. “She had an abortion right before I was born and she had another after I was born. She was the breadwinner in the family and already had my two brothers, so she did not feel she could afford another child.”
Mercado said her mother told her she had a dream where her grandfather told her mom the unborn child she was carrying was a girl and she needed to keep her. Her mother had two sons and wanted a girl so she decided to keep her. The next child after Janet, however, was also aborted. The psychological scar this left on her has been a work in progress that gets better with time and when giving attention to her music and relationship with God.
“I feel like I was rejected in the womb. My mother didn’t want to have me. I believe I felt that rejection in the womb. That’s been in my subconscious as an adult and I didn’t know why I felt this way all my life,” she said. “Finally, when she told me this story I opened my eyes to dealing with this situation and asked God to help me. That was very traumatic. I think, ‘Wow! I was almost aborted!’ I feel like it was God’s intervention for me — like I had to be born.”
Knowing that she was born between two abortions triggered something in her that both made sense and made Mercado search her feelings about the dynamics of her relationship with her mother, which was far more complex than she could comprehend at the time.
Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D., said in the article “Are Later Children Affected by Abortion?” — at afterabortion.org — “Difficulty bonding with subsequent children because of fear, shame, or guilt is commonly reported by post-abortion parents. Lack of adequate bonding is also one of the most significant risk factors for child abuse. When inadequate bonding is combined with feelings of anger and rage, which are common aftereffects of abortion, a dangerous mix can result.”
Dr. David Reardon, a co-author of the book “Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion,” said, “Unresolved feelings about a past abortion can often impede bonding with subsequent planned children. Some women report becoming overprotective because they fear God will punish them by allowing their children to come to harm. Others report a need to emotionally distance themselves from their newborns because the feelings of love that are aroused also give rise to intense feelings of grief and despair over the children who were not born.”
As she sought to understand her mom and the lack of bonding she felt with her mother as a child, Janet said she came to understand something far greater — the surpassing love of her God who is able to offer the greatest comfort to those who put their faith in Him. How she is turning her negative experiences into a force for good will be featured in Sunday’s lifestyles article “The rising star of Janet JM.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Visit Janet JM on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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