”Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel
in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain
“I am always angry these days,” the post-abortive woman outlined. “My mother forced me to abort. She took me to the clinic, waited outside and afterwards forced me to go shopping with her. She never once asked me how I was doing. I hate her, Sydna!”
Anger typically surrounds women before and after their abortion. Anger assists in addressing – or covering up – typical after abortion emotions like fear, guilt, longing, frustration, or hopelessness. Temporarily, anger can boost emotional energy allowing us to escape emotions of despair and desolation.
There are five types of after abortion anger:
My boyfriend made my abortion decision, outlining he would support no other choice. He threatened me saying, “If you make any other choice, I’ll tell everyone it wasn’t my child.”
He remained in the car after delivering me to the clinic. As I laid on that table, I had prayed he would heroically break through the door saying something like, “Marry me, Sydna. I want our child!” My hero never arrived.
When I exited the abortion clinic, I was broken and in pain. My emotions were all over the board. I had been weeping moments before as I laid in the “recovery room.” As I watched the father of my baby running towards me, the hatred began in my heart.
He picked me up and twirled me around. He whispered in my ear, “Oh, Sydna, I thought they had killed you up there.”
While I didn’t say a word, I thought, “You thought they were killing me and you waited in the car?”
I escaped his embrace, looked him in the eyes with contempt and my internal rage exploded. Our relationship from that point until we broke up nine months later was blanketed with anger. We remained together only due to his threats. He was clear that if I left him, he would tell everyone at our small Christian college about my abortion.
Anger helped me eventually leave him. Anger gave me courage which propelled me to seek a better life for myself at a public university. That scorn led me into the arms of liberal pro-choice friends who all supported abortion on demand. Anger after abortion can provide a sense of control.
After my abortion, I remained with my child’s father. I would often get angry when I thought of my lost child. Whenever tears would start to fall, I would literally stop and redirect the pain into anger.
One of the ways this worked was to place the blame on everyone else for my abortion decision. My boyfriend got the full gambit of guilt concerning my loss. Another source of angst was the Christian college I was attending. Had they not had the policy of expelling un-wed pregnant students, I may have made another choice!
While my mother never even knew I was pregnant, I would often stew in negative resentment towards her for not being emotionally strong enough to handle my unexpected pregnancy. She had told me as a child that if I ever got pregnant, she’d, “Break my arm.” I felt I was doing what she would have wanted and then I hated her for it.
Justifying our anger places us on firm ground and can make us feel self-righteous and strong. But as anger flares up, it also depletes our energy, draining us and making us vulnerable to more painful underlying feelings.
During the moments when I could not stop my tears with anger, I redirected my rage towards myself. Every once in a while I would have Godly conviction about my lost child. How could I have done that?
Whenever I saw someone that was the age my child would have been, I would flee the scene. Afterwards, I’d try to collect myself but sometimes I just had to cry.
Thoughts of my lost child were few and far between in the early days after my abortion. But as my life went forward, encounters with motherhood brought a new rage. Whenever I thought of my lost child, I’d feel responsibility at the core of my heart. How could I adore the child in my arms without remembering my child lost through abortion?
Self-punishing and destructive behaviors – like using drugs and alcohol to forget my guilt – were part of punishing myself for taking a life. They also helped me forget my pain, if only temporarily.
“I’m not him, Sydna” my husband said quietly one day. We had been arguing and a fierce fury came out of my heart towards him. He stopped the fight with that comment.
Tom went on, “Sometimes you act like I’m him – the one that deserted you and your child at an abortion clinic. I’m not him, Sydna, and I don’t deserve to receive your misdirected rage.”
I had not realized that all the pent up fury that I had for my boyfriend was toppling out of my heart and impacting my family – particularly, my husband. That realization made me take every angry thought captive and start focusing again on forgiving the man that forced me to abort.
A very different anger emotion hit when God opened my heart to the truth about the abortion industry. By that point, I was going through an abortion recovery program at my local pregnancy center. Through that class, God broke through my offended heart with His truth about my own personal responsibility in allowing my child to die. No one had dragged me into that clinic so I bore a great deal of the blame for my child’s death.
I began to research the commerce of abortion. When I learned that it was legal in the US to abort a child at any point, I could not sleep at all. Hating abortion doctors and workers was not Christ-like but it consumed me. The idea that they were still in business, wounding other women, was overwhelming.
Instead of hating abortion providers, God had me focus on rescuing those we could before they entered a clinic. He helped me tame that emotion and redirect it, allowing me a platform to communicate to post-abortive people. That led to talking to the abortion-vulnerable and rescuing many from making the same horrible choice.
Anger is an emotion that must be addressed in the recovery process. Anger itself is not a sin. It is how you deal with it that can be sinful. James 1:19-21 NIV outlines why – Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
If you are struggling with after abortion anger, God has a way to heal you and make you whole. An abortion recovery program, available under Ramah’s Resources on this blog site, can help you deal with all of the emotions that can follow this choice!