Thanksgiving Triggers After Abortion
“For years I have been doing okay with my abortion decision,” the woman outlined as she greeted me after a speaking engagement. “Then my mother died two months ago. When I mourn my mother, I find myself grieving the child I lost in that horrible abortion clinic. Now I have to take over for her and cook a large Thanksgiving meal next week. Is there any way I will ever go back to feeling the way I used to about this choice?”
Immediately after abortion, many post-abortive people enjoy a period of relief. The anxiety of an unexpected pregnancy has been resolved, if only for a while. Individuals often work to forget this choice and go on with their lives. Sadly, many find that the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion can peak after being triggered, particularly during holiday events.
Making an abortion decision is often wrapped in deep emotion with multiple people offering their advice or family members who force them to abort. No matter how difficult the procedure is, afterwards most women simply want to forget and keep this loss as a lifelong secret. Many believe they can take this secret to their graves.
Ignoring an abortion memory can work for a while until a memory triggering event opens up the door to abortion pain. Perhaps it is seeing a child the same age that the aborted baby would have been. Or it could be the birth of another child and the igniting of “motherhood wonderment” where a new baby prominently outlines just what the mother lost in making that abortion choice. More times, it is encountering family members who encouraged the abortion decision during holiday events.
Next week our nation will celebrate Thanksgiving. This is a time when family comes together and shares a meal before the Christmas season is launched. Gathering with people who could have encouraged or discouraged a past abortion decision often activates old memories. While many will avoid these gatherings, others don’t have that luxury.
A healthy family that had lost a member to abortion gathered together last Thanksgiving. The daughter that had experienced abortion had previously found deep healing from God through an abortion recovery program. Her healing made it possible for the entire family to remember her lost child, particularly during holiday events.
Over the years of celebrations of this family, many cousins and siblings of the aborted child have married and had their own children. Starkly, when the entire clan gathers, there is a huge hole that marks where the lost grandchild would have been. Due to the healing, they are allowed to discuss this lost child, just like other family members who are in heaven.
At these family gatherings, even grandchildren know about their cousin/sibling who was aborted. As elderly family members have passed on there is a gentle understanding that the aborted child is enjoying heavenly fellowship with them. To remember those that are no longer with them, this family has a moment of silent recognition before they pray over the meal.
For those that have yet to find God’s healing after abortion, family meals can be a traumatic experience. Consider eating turkey while sitting next to the aunt who dragged you off to the abortion clinic. The proximity to someone who forced an abortion can trigger a great deal of anxiety along with other emotions like hatred and disgust.
The undercurrent of such a meal is often uncomfortable. Grief goes unrecognized as only the Aunt knows the abortion happened. Simply eating next to this person can be difficult for a woman who is remembering her lost child who is not part of the family circle.
Few of us realized when we chose abortion that reminders of our lost child would surround us as we grew older. Seeing a young person even today that is the same age as my lost child reminds me deeply of how wrong my choice had been. I never thought I’d be grieving the potential grandchildren my aborted child would have provided to my life.
However these triggering events arrive, it makes no difference. A past abortion can be suddenly illuminated in the secret room of a mother’s heart and the light may never go off again. Thankfully, there is the hope of God whose desire is to heal this part of our hearts. His grace and mercy can bring us to the point where we can forgive ourselves for making such a choice, grieve our lost child and find joy again.
If you are growing anxious over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, here are four ways to help your heart:
Give Yourself Permission to Cry – Grieving a child lost to abortion typically does not lead to a mental breakdown. Tears are the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins. Weeping can begin God’s cleansing process, starting the process of settling His peace in your heart to help you endure difficult gatherings.
Secure Prayer Coverage – If the abortion wound is not healed, be sure to ask for prayer coverage before any family event where those who participated in the woman’s abortion decision may gather. If confrontations could be looming during the family gathering, it’s best to have God involved.
Develop New Family Traditions – Having a moment of silence for all family members who are not there to share in the meal is a great idea. Allowing thoughts about the aborted child to tangibly enter your heart and mind can be very healing. For those who may have encouraged the abortion, they also need God’s grace and mercy evident at the meal versus tension and discord.
Resolve to Embrace God’s Healing – If heartache surrounding a past abortion continues to be resurrected, it’s time to embrace an abortion recovery program. Such a journey with God can bring restoration and peace to your soul, and even bring joy back into a wounded heart!
God’s healing after abortion is available to everyone who may have been involved in an abortion decision. The Holy Spirit often uses reminders to help us begin to understand the emotional and spiritual pain and find His peace. 2 Corinthians 4:15 outlines the benefit of thanking Him for the blessings of your life – All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.