6 Ways Abortion Can Impact the Family
Abortion impacts everyone, whether they know it or not. It is a choice that influences not only the woman but also everyone related to them. If someone you know changes their behavior overnight – and seems to become someone else – suspect they may have experienced an abortion.
When I decided to abort, I captured the false promise that afterwards my life would go on as if nothing happened. The choice seemed the best for everyone involved – particularly my family. I believed this choice would afford both myself, my present and future family several advantages:
- My parents would never be disappointed in discovering my loss of virginity
- Finishing college and having a fulfilling career would make my mother proud of me and support my future family
- Children would arrive on my own timetable when I was married to the man of my dreams
Leaving that abortion clinic, I was overwhelmed with unexpected emotions like guilt, shame and anger. My body was also in deep physical shock from enduring the procedure because I couldn’t afford anesthesia. My maternal hormones were also thrown into disorder as my body had been in full fertility mode with my healthy pregnancy.
Many disturbing thoughts and fears overwhelmed me quickly, particularly that the abortion could impact my future fertility. I took control of those thoughts by telling myself – “I can’t think about this now. I’ll go crazy if I do.” Drugs and alcohol helped me drown out those fears for a while.
I often drew upon anger to steel my heart against any emotional fallout. As the days passed, my heart turned to stone. The fun-loving person I had been was replaced by a secretive and pained young woman. This new person impacted everyone I loved in many ways.
Abortion impacts the “family” at many levels. These include, but are not limited to:
Confusion – Postpartum depression set in after my abortion as hormones flooded my body. When I went home from college after my abortion, my parents noticed my personality change. Believing something was wrong, they pushed me for answers I refused to give. Never suspecting an abortion, they sadly adjusted to their obviously troubled daughter who bore no resemblance to the sweet girl who graduated high school the year before.
Anger – While she never knew I was pregnant, I blamed my mother for my abortion choice. I reasoned if she had been emotionally available, I may have been able to trust her with my unexpected pregnancy truth. My anger was directed at her for many years despite the fact she was innocent of all involvement in my choice.That was unfair and wrong.
Infertility – When I attempted to get pregnant with my amazing husband’s child, infertility hit our marriage. I never expected that I could have aborted my only child. The fact that I could have done something as a teenager that would mean my husband may never hold his own child was overwhelming. While my barrenness was medically remedied, many women may not be able to have children for a variety of reasons after abortion.
Bonding – Looking into the face of my newborn son, I experienced “motherhood wonderment” and immediately fell in love. My motherly love transitioned quickly into a horrific understanding, reminding me of the child I had lost to abortion. My aborted child then began to haunt my heart, impacting my ability to bond with my new son.
Guilt – Watching a woman change after a procedure you encouraged can be horrifying for parents and family. While abortion may have appeared the best solution for the unexpected pregnancy, the potential emotional fallout is rarely discussed. Those involved in influencing this decision often carry guilt over their responsibility in the emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical consequences that may result.
Grief – While I don’t how she discovered my abortion secret, my mother confronted me about my abortion five years later. After some angry words, she collapsed in grief for her lost grandchild. Her grief ushered a new guilt into my heart.
Thankfully, God healed all related family pain after my abortion recovery process. During the days before her death, my mother and I spoke often about heaven and those who would welcome her home. There was peace between us as God had allowed many healing conversations about the pain my abortion brought to our family.
While my abortion clearly impacted my mothering ability until God restored my wounded soul, He set everything right when I asked for His help. My lost child was named and welcomed into my heart so he no longer haunted me. My husband adopted this child in heaven as his own and our children know about their brother, Jesse, in heaven.
If a family member has been negatively impacted by abortion, understand their pain can impact your heart too. Family members often experience Abortion PTSD at a secondary level. Thankfully, God’s healing is available for everyone impacted by abortion. As Psalm 130:6-8 outlines – My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning—yes, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption.