Poignant questions from children about deep issues often come out of the blue. When an innocent child asks about abortion, most adults struggle to share this difficult truth. Childlike innocence is shattered quickly when they discover adult truths that often overwhelm youthful hearts.
“Abortion is when they take the baby out of their Mommy’s tummy before it is big enough to live. The baby goes back to heaven with Jesus and the mother is often very sad,” I told my middle son when he asked this question at the tender age of seven.
His expression changed in an instant. He responded to this horrifying truth by saying, “Oh, Mom! I’m so glad you didn’t abort me!”
My abortion 9 years earlier smacked me in the face with his response. I knew that my son needed time to fathom that abortion was legal in his world before going deeper and discovering his mother had chosen abortion for his big brother.
Abortion is a word that is spoken often in our world today. It is difficult to watch the news or view a movie without abortion being included. For many post-abortive people, just hearing this term can produce anxiety.
Observant children often feel their parent’s unease and work to discover what could have set them that way. It doesn’t take long to discover the root of this apprehension relates to the unknown term of abortion.
Sharing the truth about abortion can bring children to ask more probing questions. This is often where deeper truths about their parents past choices can be discerned, even if the child is young.
When questions about abortion come out of the blue, parents are often unprepared to answer their young children. Guilt often flashes on their face, further confusing the young interrogator. If the parent shuts down or turns away from the conversation, the child is left to draw their own conclusions.
In those moments, children can suspect the worse. After I told my oldest son about abortion, he would ask me many questions in the following days. For example, he wanted to know if I could have AIDS or if his father was REALLY his dad.
I took the time to give my son direct attention when I heard the word AIDS, outlining my sexual past in the gentlest way possible. God had told me to be prepared so I thought through his potential questions and had responses. Those future conversations were precious and the maternal bonding with each of my children was advanced.
When questions go unanswered, children often jump to conclusions. Kids can easily consider that their parent may have considered aborting them too. Others will develop imaginary friends that could be considered lost siblings from heaven.
Since my son had time to process this word, and ask many follow-up questions, I didn’t want him to wonder about my past. Six months after his first question, I told my middle son about my abortion.
I shared that I had been a teenager, unaware that abortion was bad. I gently asked for his forgiveness in sending his big brother back to Jesus before he had a chance to live on this earth.
My seven-year-old’s response was precious – “Of course I forgive you, Mommy. I have a big brother watching over me? How cool! What’s his name?”
By that point, I had embraced God’s healing by attending an abortion recovery class where my lost child had been named, grieved and memorialized. I was sharing my abortion testimony publicly as part of my job at Focus on the Family (1991-1998).
“His name is Jesse,” I answered. “Jesus is the greatest parent a child could ever have. I know you and I will meet him someday.”
The word “abortion” became a presence in our home life because of my work. It was essential for each of my children to hear my abortion truth from my soul. Thankfully, God went before me and prepared each of their hearts.
When my three sons knew about Jesse, he became part of our family just like any other deceased member. Jesse was not forgotten but grieved and missed by everyone related to him. That was the healthiest part of our family’s healing of this difficult pregnancy loss.
After that, abortion became a personal issue to each of my children. They had a sibling in heaven that was aborted and were extremely proud of their parent’s efforts to stop abortion from devastating other families.
Many parents briefly considered aborting a child that is now alive and well. When that child begins to ask probing questions after learning about abortion, it is important that the parents heal from those moments of deliberation where death was considered. They can be prepared with a healthy response like the following:
“There was a time when I found out I was pregnant with you that I was afraid. I considered an abortion but thankfully made a better decision. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without you. God knew all your days and I’m so happy He gave you to me!”
Many children placed for adoption could also have been aborted. Pregnancy centers can help potential parents understand the long-term impact of abortion. With the tangible support services of these centers, families are spared the dysfunction of abortion.
God’s word is clear about confessing secret and shameful choices of the past. II Corinthians 4:2 reveals – Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
In assisting both abortion-vulnerable and post-abortive individuals for the last 27 years, I’ve noticed clear trends in post-abortion behavior across generations. Post-abortive people often become post-abortive grandparents and great-grandparents when the younger generation follows their same path in life.
Psalm 78:5-6 outlines God’s mindset in educating future family generations about generational sin – He (God) decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
The benefit of sharing an abortion truth personally is revealed in Proverbs 14:25 – A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.
The best part of sharing my abortion story with my children was describing how God restored my heart and life. As a family, we experienced Isaiah 38:19 – The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.
For those who survived an abortion consideration, or who have siblings that were aborted, we are here to help process any residual pain that may be lurking in your soul. Your family experience was no coincidence as shared in Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”
Visit HerChoicetoHeal.com and begin to learn how abortion could have impacted your heart and life. We would be happy to help you process this truth and discover God’s healing.