Family histories that include abortion often contain many other traumatic events. Unplanned pregnancy often results during deep family strife as one generation significantly impacts another.
These strife cycles cascade down the family line often ending in a generational circle of discord. Since one generation clearly impacts another, abortion decisions are often repeated down a family line.
A psychological test of the impact of family strife on unplanned pregnancy is entitled the, “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)” test. The ACE test breaks down family strife situations into 8 experiences, including:
- Recurrent physical abuse
- Recurrent emotional abuse
- Contact sexual abuse
- An alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household
- An incarcerated household member
- Someone in the home who is chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalized, or suicidal
- Mother is treated violently
- One or no parents
A study in Pediatrics researched ACE results in comparison with teenage pregnancy, discovering that if your childhood experience included 4 or more of these variables, you were likely to have experienced an unplanned pregnancy.
Discovering how I wound up at an abortion clinic was a large element of helping me forgive the younger version of myself for aborting my first child. My abortion recovery healing required not only addressing past family trauma but understanding how the ordeals of my childhood led me into a teenage pregnancy which ended in abortion.
When I personally took the ACE test, my score of 4 made the impact of my upbringing very obvious. Here were some basic points about my early childhood strife as the daughter of a Baptist preacher:
- My parents often fought before separating which involved physical violence and ongoing emotional abuse – Ace score:2
- Before their separation, my pastoral birth-father institutionalized my mother for several months to prevent her from filing for divorce which would have ended his pastoral career – ACE score:1
- After their divorce, I was raised by a single parent, having little or no contact with my birth-father – ACE score:1
One thing that was not included in this study were POSITIVE experiences in early life that build buoyancy and impact how the trauma effects a child. There is certainly enough reason to understand how a loving teacher, grandparent or friend can impact the cycle of strife in a family.
In spite of my ACE score, my upbringing was not as horrible as others. My mother’s best friend, who took care of me while she was in a mental institution, supported me emotionally and physically during that traumatic period of my life. She encouraged me that God had not forgotten His call on my life and He would turn my family’s turmoil into something that could be used for His good.
Several years later, my mother would remarry a man that loved me deeply, even though he did not share my faith in God. He helped my mother’s emotional well-being and provided for us. When I was 21, my step-father adopted me which was a real healing step in both our lives.
Despite that, my childhood strife would continue to haunt my heart, leading to dysfunctional decisions. When I went to college, I searched for a meaningful relationship. Sadly, a liaison with a fellow student involved more strife as alcoholism and sexual abuse was involved.
When I became pregnant a few months later, this partner coerced me to abort which resulted in a violent abortion completed without benefit of anesthesia. After that, I turned to drugs and alcohol to help combat my own spiritual, emotional and psychological pain that resulted.
In taking the ACE test recently, these childhood experiences were resurrected in my heart. I could see God’s hand of protection over my young life. While my choices were not good ones, my early childhood trauma also included a salvation experience. In accepting Christ as my Savior as a young child, God never left my side.
Joining an abortion recovery class, offered through a pregnancy center, was the first step in resolving my adverse childhood experiences by returning me to a personal relationship with God. Through Scripture and gentle leadership, I learned that God loved me in spite of my choice. The peace that passes all understanding took hold of my heart and I was able to forgive, not only myself, but my family members as well.
Psalm 40:1-3 outlines that peaceful process – I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
God can resolve any childhood strife that led to poor choices. If you have experienced abortion, an abortion recovery program can help you as well as the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion.
As one of the few ministries serving the world’s post-abortive audience, please keep our ministry in your prayers and consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to reach abortion’s wounded hearts with the hope of God’s healing.