Ongoing Grief After Abortion
“I was a crying mess all Mother’s Day, Sydna,” the abortion recovery leader outlined. “This grief crept up on me. I didn’t think it would hurt anymore since I have gone through recovery. Will I always cry when I remember this child?”
Abortion results in death. When women exit the abortion clinic, one is dead and another is wounded. Since abortion is a choice, society rarely allows post-abortive women the right or support to grieve their aborted child. Women are expected to get back to living life, like nothing happened. So the first step in abortion recovery is simply giving women permission to grieve their aborted child at last to draw closer to God’s comfort.
Encountering fresh grief after an abortion recovery class doesn’t mean we are not healed – just that God isn’t finished with us! God created tears to help us heal. Tears have a biological purpose in helping cleanse our bodies of toxins. There is also a whole book of the Bible on grief – Lamentations – that outlines crying is good for us, whenever it arrives.
Holidays – particularly Mother’s Day and Christmas – can summon an emotional impact that often surprises post-abortive people with fresh grief. Other events that can bring sorrow to even healed post-abortive hearts include:
- Death of Loved One– When someone in our life dies – whether due to abortion or after living life on Earth – grief arrives quickly. This “understood grief” then can circle around and remind us of all the people in our lives that have died. These departed loved ones line up in our minds as we go back over the emotions of losing each one all over again.
- Age Comparisons– Grief returned to my heart, out of the blue, when I asked a new pregnancy center leader her age. Sure enough, she was born within two months of my aborted child’s possible due date. I did not comprehend that meeting someone the age of my child, whom I named Jesse, would initiate a deeper pain in my heart. By embracing grief and being open to God’s help, I was able to ensure the next encounter of someone Jesse’s age would be easier on my heart.
- Life Events– One day I drove by a high school where a graduation ceremony was taking place. I smiled in considering all the family that were present and the celebrations that would ensue afterwards. Out of the blue, I realized that had Jesse been born, he would have been graduating at that time too. Tears overwhelmed me then and I took time to prayerfully consider my grief with that enlightenment.
- Generational Cycles– About 25 years after aborting Jesse, I was celebrating the birth of a team member’s grandchild. Her son was Jesse’s age and beaming in the photo as he held his newborn son. I realized that Jesse could have been providing me with grandchildren. They didn’t tell me at the abortion clinic that I’d be grieving lost grandchildren that will never be on Earth because of my abortion! I can expect more grief in this area when my living children make me a grandparent!
God keeps tract of our tears. David outlines this truth in Psalms 58:7-9 NIV – Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll — are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.
Embracing grief also has a reward, outlined in Psalm 126:4-6 NIV – Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.
Grief and joy don’t seem to go together but they do! I never want to “get over” missing my aborted child or my parents, who are now in heaven. Thinking about them can make me cry or laugh depending on the memory. When expected grief comes, like on their birthdays, anniversary dates or just looking through photos, I can weep again. I miss them. Crying brings God’s comfort close to my heart. By embracing this grief, I relieve my burden and receive God’s warm love.
Focused grief means openly embracing any level of potential sorrow in allowing tears to flow freely when they arrive. Whatever triggers abortion grief, realize tears are essential in the ongoing healing process.
Lamentations 2:8-19 shares more on God’s purpose in our mourning our aborted children – The hearts of the people cry out to the Lord. You walls of Daughter Zion, let your tears flow like a river day and night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest. Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children…
Sometimes we sin and God convicts us. God is very different from the enemy in His messaging system within our hearts. Should the emotions of shame and guilt arrive when tears are shed, recognize those thoughts as toxic. Understand those overwhelming emotions often arrive with spiritual warfare.
Spiritual warfare is an attack that continues through our time on Earth. The enemy loves to upset us, particularly with triggers that remind us of our loss. Old shame can then encircle our hearts as the enemy works to lead us back into his prison of pain. God may use conviction to help us understand our sins, but His messages are not designed to remind us of all our past sins.
In battling the enemy, remember the “armor of God” outlined in Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV. God wants us to cling to the truth that He is a good God who heals our hearts and doesn’t want us suffering. He is righteous as He brings the message of peace and healing from God, along with conviction.
God also develops our faith to help us endure the constant spiritual attack. When we ask Jesus into our hearts (John 3:16), His word is the perfect place to answer all our questions and receive His comfort.
Healing doesn’t mean that we will never feel the pain of abortion again. Grief never ends on Earth. Instead, it circles back around, hopefully drawing us closer to God with each wave of emotion.
Tears are not a sign of weakness but a symbol of God’s ongoing healing! So go ahead and have a good cry! It will bring you closer to the best Comforter in the world.