Hope and Healing
Abortion is devastating to men and women. It has caused great pain and heartache in the lives of countless individuals. There has been so much brokenness as a result of that “choice.” There are so many who had no idea that they would suffer as a result of abortion. In our society, there isn’t a real focus on the fact that abortion causes the demise of an unborn child. It is all about the person’s circumstances and what they are going through. Every abortion causes a deep loss. And, for many, they have discovered the reality of that loss after the abortion and it has caused them immeasurable grief, sadness and regret.
After the abortion, the woman generally feels relief. She is glad it’s over. She feels like she can go on with her life. She can now get back to her career, education or whatever she believed was more important. The abortion can be stuffed away, sometimes for years, never to be talked about. So many individuals suffer in silence, not knowing where to go or who to turn to.
Even though many women felt like they had no other alternative but to abort, there is much guilt and shame that is brewing below the surface. There can be feelings of sadness and deep sorrow. Every person is different and the feelings arise at different times. When they do, where does one go to talk about it? Is there anyone who will understand the pain and heartache she feels?
Here are a few questions that can help reveal if abortion is still unresolved in one’s heart. How do you feel about the abortion? Can you talk about it? Are you still angry at yourself and others? Do you feel depressed? Do you still feel shame, guilt and regret? Are you still unable to forgive yourself? Do you have flashbacks and/or nightmares about the abortion? Did you start drinking and doing drugs after the abortion? Do you think you’ll ever make peace with it?
It is normal to go through a process of grieving after abortion. When someone suffers a loss, there is a time of healing that needs to be walked through. With the post-abortive woman, she is told not to grieve, which makes it harder for her to work through the pain. Society doesn’t really acknowledge the loss men and women suffer as a result of abortion. That causes them to feel isolated and alone in their sorrow.
Abortion causes the loss of a child. It is important to talk with someone about it. Healing can’t come by continuing to suppress the feelings. They don’t just go away. It is very important to acknowledge what has happened to you. It would be abnormal not to feel anything. You are a mother and have lost a baby.God created us to be maternal. We are knit together to protect and preserve life. That is how the Lord created women.
But who do you talk to about what you are going through? Who will understand? There are thoughts like,” Will I be condemned? Will they judge me?” Those thoughts can cause women to fear reaching out. So many people say there is nothing wrong with abortion. But there aren’t a lot of women who are willing to acknowledge that they’ve had one. There are countless individuals who are hurting deeply because of their “choice.” It is important to have someone there to help you work through the different stages of grief.
You might already have experienced some of the stages of grief in your life. They are: denial, anger, depression, forgiveness and acceptance, but not necessarily in that order.
The Denial Stage
In the denial stage, the individual is convinced it was the right thing to do. They suppress any feelings of guilt, shame and regret by justifying and rationalizing their decision. They will convince themselves that it was for the best and they will try to put it behind them. They won’t allow the feelings to surface. They will try and do things to escape the pain and avoid allowing the feelings to arise. It’s hard to acknowledge the truth! Healing can’t come if she isn’t willing to take a hard look at what has happened to her. The post-abortive woman can experience great fear. She is overwhelmed and can’t accept what she’s done. It’s too painful. The loss is too great. So she continues to motor on as she tries to “pretend” all is well. One must face what has happened for the healing to begin!
The Anger Stage
When the reality of the abortion and the loss of the unborn child’s life take hold, she can begin to feel hatred and resentment toward herself and others. She is upset that she had the abortion. She is angry at anyone who played a part in encouraging her to abort. She can’t forgive herself and she doesn’t believe she ever will. The negative self-talk continues to play in her mind. There is much self-condemnation. The anger can erupt to the point that it detrimentally affects the woman’s life. She is feeling awful about herself. And she might not even realize just how much the abortion has impacted her.
Many women were pressured by parents and boyfriends to end their baby’s life! It was not solely their choice. They were told by friends and family members that abortion was no big deal. There are many women who wouldn’t have had the abortion if they’d been properly counseled. And many relationships have self-destructed as a result of the abortion. Hopefully, as the woman works through the process of healing, she can forgive herself and the others who were involved in her decision.
The Depression Stage
The woman now finds herself feeling deep sadness and regret. If she could only turn back the hands of time. It is devastating coming to grips with how the child died and what she has done. She has a deep sense of brokenness over what has happened. She can find herself feeling overwhelmed by feelings of emotion. Some women turn to drugs and alcohol to deaden the pain. There are many that isolate themselves, feeling great guilt and shame. Grieving is a painful road, but having someone walk with you to help you understand that you are not alone can bring great hope to that individual, as it did for me.
The Forgiveness Stage
In this stage she is learning to forgive herself, no matter the circumstances surrounding the abortion. She can’t go back and change the past. As she is directed to God and His love, He gives her hope! The more she seeks God, the more He reveals Himself to her. She learns that Jesus is the perfect one and if He can forgive her for what she’s done, she can forgive herself. It’s important to understand that God truly does desire to heal us of the pain. He wants us to know that He can enable us to make peace with the abortion.
As she is directed to His Word and how to pray for herself and others, she begins to experience true healing. She no longer wants to be held captive by what has happened in the past. She can’t continue reliving it. She is starting a new chapter in her life.
This is when she begins to accept what happened and prays for the ability to put it behind her. Her mourning has turned to dancing as she begins this new journey of understanding unconditional love and forgiveness through Christ. Please go to Salvation Is Free!
When I heard that message on the radio (my testimony in I Had an Abortion) my heart broke. I’d been in denial. There was a wave of feelings that washed over me! My heart was filled with sorrow. It was so painful to face what I’d done. Then I got my medical file, and I began to feel anger over what happened. I never thought that would occur, but it did. There were all kinds of feelings that were surfacing. Over a course of several months I became really depressed. What was happening to me? Why was I feeling this way? The loss of the child had finally hit home and I was struggling deeply with it.
I began to pray and ask God for help. He led me to a few women who counseled me and helped me process what I was going through. And then one of them connected me to a post-abortion Bible study. I was repentant of what I’d done! I could never justify my sin. I could never stand before God and tell Him that what I did was alright. I had circumstances that made me fearful of carrying my pregnancy to term and I was pressured into the abortion, but I had to acknowledge that what I did was wrong. I began to ask Him to use the pain I was going through for His glory. I had absolutely no idea what He was going to do. But I am a testimony of His mercy and grace. He has used the worst thing I’ve ever done to help minister to others who are hurting. He brought me into ministry. What an amazing God we serve.
Christ can set the captives free!
That is why many women go through a post-abortion group and seek counseling. Just like so many attend groups after a divorce or loss of a loved one, women come together after abortion. This is where a small group of women gather to share their abortion experiences and encourage, pray and comfort each other. The post-abortion Bible study focuses on God’s Word and how we are accepted in Christ. He paid the penalty for all of our sin and that includes the abortion. We must receive Him as Savior and Lord and ask Him into our hearts and lives!
When the women begin to wrap their minds around God’s amazing love and sacrifice on the cross, they begin to learn to forgive. His Holy Word has the power to set the captives free!
God is able to minister and heal our hearts. All loss is painful. But, God can help you move on with your life and enable you to experience joy again. You will never forget your child. There will be times of sadness, but He will give you the grace to move forward. He has done that in my life! He will do it in yours. He is almighty and all-powerful! The creator of the universe loves you! He died for you! There is no greater love!
These Bible studies have been life-changing for countless women, as they’ve directed them to the Word of God and a relationship with Jesus. They are available through your local crisis pregnancy center.
There are over 3000 centers and pro-life ministries across this country that offer hope, help and counseling! Everything is kept confidential and there is never a cost for services! It is a safe place! They are there to encourage and offer hope to all who are broken! You are not alone. Call 800-848-LOVE to find out about the resources closest to you and please check out the list of local services on our Resources page. There is help available. It is only an email or phone call away!