Abortion changes everything. In leaving an abortion clinic, one is dead while the mother is wounded in some way. As life goes on, an abortion is rarely forgotten and can impact the couple’s family at myriad levels.
Abortion is never the right answer to an unexpected pregnancy due to the massive fallout that typically results. This choice cuts off a whole family line and commonly initiates dysfunction and trauma to everyone involved.
The wounding of an abortion decision may never be obvious. Post-abortion pain can be ignited when significant “life” moments arrive – like subsequent births or deaths of loved ones.
Immediately after abortion, family members often endure the brunt of the emotional, spiritual and psychological fall out. Sadly, many individuals related to the newly post-abortive couple have no idea an abortion has occurred.
In 2014, abortion providers outline that fifty-nine (59%) percent of abortions were obtained by patients who had had at least one previous birth (1). With 652,639 lives lost to abortion in 2014, at least 385,057 mothers aborted their living children’s sibling that year (2). If approximately 61,000,000 million abortions have occurred in the US since 1973, that means as many as 35,990,000 US families could be impacted by a family member’s demise through abortion.
Leaving the abortion clinic, I remember the physical pain and the jarring reality that I had just done something that I would regret forever. I never imagined my future children would eventually grieve their sibling’s death or be impacted by my abortion decision in any way. As a teenager making such a life decision, I didn’t think very far ahead.
In speaking to thousands of existing mothers considering abortion, many state, “I can’t afford the child(ren) I already have, let alone another…” Parents with this mindset often abort a subsequent child to spare their living children any poverty or difficulty. The lives of siblings of the aborted child are rarely improved by abortion due to the emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical impact of this choice on their parents.
Sibling abortion grief is often unacknowledged and unprocessed. Many have no clue that they have an aborted brother or sister in heaven. Since abortion is typically kept secret, it can be difficult for living children to understand the source of their parent’s pain.
Even when they know their parent’s abortion truth, asking questions about this choice presents a real challenge to these family members. Many are more concerned about their parent’s suffering than their own heartbreak, never realizing abortion recovery programs can help them find God’s peace too.
There are 7 ways in which siblings are impacted by their parent’s abortion choice, whether they were conceived before or after their siblings were aborted. These include:
Physical Impact – The first consequence of abortion on my future family was physical when infertility delayed my ability to get pregnant. This condition was medically reversible, thankfully, but I nearly miscarried my next pregnancy due to Placental Abruption. My doctor then shared that my abortion had likely weakened my uterine lining. My son’s placenta had simply separated from my uterus, which caused me to hemorrhage.
I praise God that I did not miscarry that pregnancy as that was a possibility. My son’s placenta reattached at a lower point on my uterine wall. He was able to remain in my womb until he was 36 weeks gestation.
Bonding – My newfound love for this new child immediately reminded me of my lost child, which ignited emotional heartbreak. That led me to be reminded of my lost child every time I held the new child. This emotional abortion pain clearly impacted my maternal bonding ability.
Survivor Guilt – When individuals discover their parent(s) aborted their brother or sister for their benefit, survivor guilt can result. These siblings can perceive they did something wrong and/or could be responsible for their sibling’s death. Their mindsets may contemplate the following:
- “Why was I allowed to survive?”
- “Did my sibling suffer during the abortion?”
- “Is my life good enough to offset the sacrifice of my brother or sister so I could live a better life?”
Traumatized Upbringing – Since abortion is such a difficult choice, couples often break up afterwards. Divorce is clearly traumatic to children. Being raised under these circumstances often leads to adverse childhood experiences which can lead to many other problems.
Repeating Generational Sins – Unexpected pregnancy and abortion decisions often become a tradition through family lines for various reasons. Whether they know about their aborted sibling or not, many will repeat the sins of their parents by aborting unexpected children. When abortion piles up over generations, every aspect of family life can become traumatized.
Haunting – During one woman’s private healing process, her 5-year-old daughter introduced her imaginary friend to the family. The family was counseled to welcome the “made-up” friend. The mother listened to her daughter talking to this friend, outlining things about their family. When the child described her pretend comrade, it struck the mother that the fictional friend was the same age that her aborted child would have been.
Believing her daughter’s imaginary friend was no coincidence, this mother named her lost child the same name as this “friend.” After her healing was complete, this make-believe friend disappeared. When asked, the daughter simply said, “She went back to heaven, Mommy.”
Discounted Grief – Before I was born, two of my sisters died of separate birth defects. I knew about my deceased sisters and often thought about them. My parents rarely spoke about these daughters because the grief would be ignited if they did.
As an adult, I visited my sisters graves and had my own memorial for them. The grief in those moments overwhelmed me, despite the fact I had never known them personally. I felt much better after remembering them personally and allowing them a place in my heart.
Pregnancy centers are now staffed by the siblings of aborted children. These leaders often discuss their own pain because of their parent’s abortion(s). Because they are often unable to directly help their parents, many find peace in helping other abortion-vulnerable people with physical, emotional and spiritual support to continue their pregnancies through pregnancy center support.
Thankfully, God has a plan to redeem abortion decisions along with any associated pain. 1 Peter 1:17-19 outlines this clearly – And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
If your sibling was aborted, know that God can help heal your heart and provide you with deep comfort and the ability to forgive and grieve this loss. If you, or someone you know, has been impacted by a past abortion decision, visit our online abortion recovery healing website at HerChoicetoHeal.com. If I can directly help in any way, contact me at [email protected]