5 Steps to Begin Healing After Abortion
Some women seemingly never need to work through any kind of healing process. But for many, the memory of the abortion lies hidden within, like an infection, weakening and impairing us in ways we never realize.
Trauma often encompasses an abortion experience from beginning to end. Common responses after abortion include, but are not limited to:
- A reluctance to talk about the subject of abortion
- Enduring emotions like guilt, anger, or sorrow when discussing/thinking about a past abortion
- Thinking of life in terms of “before” and “after” the abortion
- Lingering feelings of resentment or anger toward people involved in the abortion, such as the baby’s father, friends, or parents
- Avoidance of relationships or becoming overly dependent on others after the abortion
- Experiencing a vague sort of emptiness, a deep sense of loss, or prolonged periods of depression
- Ongoing nightmares, flashbacks, or hallucinations relating to the abortion experience
After my teenage abortion I found myself working hard to forget the experience. I didn’t understand then that it required a great deal of emotional strength, sometimes on a daily basis, to avoid my traumatic abortion memories. Then there were uncontrolled responses.
On my lost child’s expected due date, I cried all night. I thought I was going crazy because I didn’t think there was a good reason for my tears. My head could not acknowledge my loss—but my heart did. Every third week in March would find me struggling in one way or another.
Eleven years after my abortion, a day arrived when my mask of “calm reserve” evaporated and my heart finally broke apart. It was triggered upon accepting a position with a ministry called Focus on the Family. During orientation, one of America’s best known pro-life leader, Dr. James Dobson, offered me direct compassion as a post-abortive person.
After describing a late term abortion, Dr. Dobson outlined, “I know I’m talking to many women who have experienced abortion. I want you to know that there is no sin that God cannot forgive. The problem may be you don’t forgive yourself and you may need help.”
Tears rolled down my face as Dr. Dobson identified my point of pain. How could I ever forgive myself for making that choice that ended my child’s life?
That understanding triggered both guilt and grief in my heart. For a full week, my heart ached as I had no other choice but to mourn for the child I would never hold this side of heaven. Thankfully, each tear helped me process the grief.
When I discovered a list of the symptoms of post-abortion syndrome, now called Abortion PTSD, I realized my emotional struggle was not unique. A book filled with post-abortion testimonies outlined that an abortion recovery class could also help.
After several weeks attending an abortion recovery program, I began to feel some emotional relief in simply not having to avoid the abortion topic. The fortitude required to address this pain directly was less than it took to avoid the topic! I also enjoyed the fellowship of meeting other women.
God had a plan to heal my abortion pain and use it for His good (Romans 8:28). God sent His child to earth on my behalf. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for all my sins—including the abortion! He offers this same grace and mercy to everyone, regardless of their sin.
If you are post-abortive, here are five steps to begin healing any pain that may reside in your heart:
- Understand you are not the only one that chose abortion and that peace is possible– Abortion providers outline that 1 in 3 American women have experienced abortion. Abortion recovery programs have helped tens of thousands find God’s peace.
- Realize that tears rid the body of toxins and bring healing– Many falsely believe that if they begin to cry, they won’t be able to stop. Tears often help process emotions and bring understanding.
- Research the symptoms of Abortion PTSD – If you relate to three or more of these symptoms, an abortion recovery class could help.
- Discover your local abortion recovery ministry– Pregnancy centers offer these services, along with physical, emotional and psychological support to those in unplanned pregnancies. Visit Ramah International’s directory to find your closest center and contact them for more information.
- Obtain a copy of Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion– This resource includes details on the pain many experience after abortion along with healing chapters that help begin the healing process.
Ramah International is always available to help anyone who may be struggling after abortion. Please feel free to contact us directly and know that God loves you!
Sydna Massé is President and Founder or Ramah International and author of the book, Her Choice to Heal (David C. Cook publishing).