“I know I had an abortion. I just can’t remember any of the details,” the woman shared with me through email. “My heart is broken that I could do such a thing and so easily forget it. Will I ever remember?”
After abortion, women typically work to forget they ever made such a choice. If pain and grief don’t manifest themselves quickly, they can appear as a delayed reaction in years to come.
If pain medication was used in the abortion process, it can be even harder to remember all the unique details of such an event. Twilight anesthesia provides temporary memory loss making it difficult to recall specifics. Some women will forget they had anesthesia too!
When I entered the abortion clinic, I had the distinct impression that I would remember that day in detail for the rest of my life. My memory was always very brilliant, particularly during traumatic incidents.
After the brutal surgical procedure, my mind became deeply anxious. My boyfriend endured deep panic while waiting for me in his car. When I came out, he ran to me, picked me up off my feet and twirled me around saying, “Oh, Sydna. I thought they had killed you up there!”
In that moment, deep concern set in. I had never considered that a safe and legal abortion could have killed me. My next thought was, “What other consequences could there be?”
It was then that I stopped and purposely determined I would control my thinking to avoid any recollections of this memory forever. I wasn’t going to think about it anymore. I would simply lock that memory in a special spot in my brain where access was forbidden.
My decision to forget was typical and normal among post-abortive people. Some can endure for long periods of time without any recollection of their abortion experience. The psychological vault where this experience is stored can remain locked until a deep trigger of pain opens that door.
Triggers are strong emotional reactions set off by something that reminds a person of the abortion event. Music that was popular at the time of the abortion can activate memories unexpectedly. Meeting a child that would have been their aborted child’s age can crack open their well-kept secret vault. Noises like a vacuum cleaner or a dentist drills can elicit panic quickly.
After a triggering event, the abortion door opens in our heart. Fragments of memories can present themselves to the heart of the post-abortive person. These thoughts are often scattered or jumbled initially, leaving the individual unable to push them back into their mental vault.
When that heart’s door opens, it typically cannot be closed in the same way again. All the energy that has been used to forget suddenly falters. Then the recollections are impossible to stop, leaving the individual feeling like they are losing their minds.
It is at this point when many seek help and discover our abortion recovery website, HerChoicetoHeal.com. Some wounded souls want help to forget again. Their family and friends often encourage them to stop thinking about their abortion. This useless recommendation from others leaves women feeling even more rejected.
When God brought me to this recall point in my life, my loving husband said, “Why dig all that up now? You’ve been doing fine with it all these years. Just let it go and forget…”
“That’s just it,” I responded. “I can’t forget anymore. It’s like it is stuck in my throat. It’s too big for me to consume. I need to throw it up.”
My husband understood that word picture. Graciously, he was emotionally available and allowed me to share these triggered recollections with him. He provided much needed comfort and acceptance. Our marriage grew stronger as a result.
When I agreed to attend an abortion recovery class, my husband insisted on reviewing the material to ensure it was psychologically and spiritually sound. Then he asked that after every class, I would share with him all that God was speaking to my heart. In this manner, he became part of my abortion healing journey.
After such a traumatic event of losing a child in an abortion clinic, it’s typical to keep secrets. When well-kept memories are dislodged, women attempt to talk with those who were part of their abortion event. Often these individuals don’t know what to say so they tell the woman that it’s better to forget it ever happened.
Due to their personal involvement in the woman’s choice, these abortion participants can discourage grief and pain by reminding them that abortion had been a “good choice.” Without anyone to help, these wounded hearts simply shut off all memories and swing back to being emotionally stagnant until the next trigger of pain presents itself.
If you have experienced abortion and are struggling to remember the details of that event, here are some ways to dislodge these recollections:
Develop a timeline of that period of your life. List out any dates from that time frame that you remember. These include the date of meeting the father of the baby, where you were in school or life at that time. List everything you can recall.
Catalog places, songs and events that were part of your life then. Listen to some of these songs to see if they don’t remind you of additional occurrences during that phase of your life. Visit places that are included on this list – like the school you were attending at the time. Review the events of those days to gain a physical time frame of when the abortion could have taken place.
Talk to those who know about your abortion. If they are emotionally supportive, ask them about their memories of your abortion event. Many in this spot are purposely silent feeling such a discussion could be emotionally wounding to the mother. By asking them questions about this time frame, they can also provide information as well as comfort.
Ask God to reveal more memories in His perfect time. As our Creator, God knows all the details. Through the individual comfort of His Holy Spirit, memories can spring forth gently. Cocooned memories can be released slowly, like layers of an onion, so they don’t overwhelm when God is in control.
Enroll in a healthy abortion recovery program or visit Her Choice to Heal to begin the healing process. Actively seeking help is an incredible trigger that can then include anointed comfort and processing of truth. God will meet you there and help you through His healing process. Being set free from the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion is an incredible and renewing process.
When you are shackled by the heavy burden of a past abortion, discovering truth from forgotten memories is the best step towards healing and freedom in Christ. John 8:32 shares this principle – Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.