OpinionTue Sep 25, 2012 - 10:49 am EST
Someone died: healing abortion’s after-effects
September 25, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) - My sister died. She just turned 18 and it was sudden. No one was prepared for it. When she died, I clung to her lifeless body in the hospital crying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I wasn’t apologizing for anything; it’s just what came out of me in a moment of grief, realizing that someone died. We were less than two years apart. We were best friends from the day she was born.
I read a comment on an abortion video written by a mother who aborted her baby. She wrote the same thing I cried in that cold hospital room holding my dead sister. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” She realized the same thing too: someone died.
That’s the thing with abortion, no matter what the baby is called at the time of the procedure, there will come an inevitable day where the mother will realize that someone died. Grief will come. Every time a baby’s life is taken through abortion a real loss occurs and the response - grief - will come.
When I read the response to the video that was the exact same response I had, it hit me: the grief that follows an abortion is like the grief I experienced, blindfolded. The same miserable numbing pain, but without ever seeing her face or knowing her name. The loss is real and permanent and so is the response of the mother, whether she realizes it yet or not.
Over 54 million aborted babies since Roe v Wade means there are 54 million mothers grieving the loss of a baby they may not even acknowledge yet.
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If you know three women, it is likely you know someone who has had an abortion. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, one in three women has an abortion at some point in her life. There are stages of grief and symptoms of PAS (Post Abortion Syndrome) that describe women you know. Please read these and look on suffering women with compassion.
Our responsibility as pro-life Christians is not to judge or condemn women by the mistakes of their past. Our responsibility is to love. Think about the following stages and symptoms. If you recall women in your life currently displaying one or all of them, please show them love today. If they reject you, pray for them secretly. Remember, most of them don’t know why they are hurting or displaying behavior associated with grief because they are still blindfolded.
Shock & Denial - Many women who have had abortions suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. According to one study, 65% of women who have had an abortion suffer from this. Symptoms include feeling intense fear, helplessness, and loss of control. I had dreams about my sister’s death for years, and froze one day in class because I had a “flash back” of the freezing hospital room where she died. Women who have had abortions may suffer from nightmares or sudden flashbacks that remind them of their abortions out of nowhere. For many women the onset of symptoms is delayed for several years. This means that even women who seem to have everything together may be in this stage of denial. Ask God to help you love each one you meet.
Pain & Guilt- When the shock and denial has subsided, women tend to internalize their suffering because of the shame associated with releasing it. When my sister died, I didn’t eat for weeks, avoided people and responsibilities, and I took over-the-counter pain pills all day because my heart literally hurt. To cope with their pain and guilt, post-abortive moms may abuse alcohol or drugs. Many even develop eating disorders, and they are more likely to smoke cigarettes. This means that the skinny drunk girl dabbling in drugs and smoking cigarettes probably doesn’t just ‘love to party,’ she may be masking the pain and guilt that is too heavy for one girl to bear. Ask God to show you His heart for that hurting daughter.
Anger – Whether she realizes that she is grieving or not, a woman who has had an abortion may experience outbursts of anger, exaggerated startle responses, or rage. She may have a short fuse and mood swings. When I was grieving the loss of my sister, I was mad at everyone, especially God and I thought that He was mad at me… why else would He take her from me? If you’ve ever met me, you know that is far from my personality. Grief is powerful. It can make you behave in angry, mean ways you never would under any other circumstance and it can make you feel and respond in ways that are opposite of anything you would usually say or do. This means that maybe the moody, short-fused, angry lady, possibly holding a pro-choice sign, could have a broken heart and she doesn’t even know why yet. Ask God to help you love the angry, hurting women in your life.
My sister’s birthday is this month. I remember her last birthday so well, less than a month before the day she died. I miss her. Tonight I’m praying for blindfolded women, one out of three, who never got to celebrate the first birthday with their aborted baby. When they realize someone died, I pray they’re wrapped in mercy and covered with grace that strengthens them to cry, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Let’s remember that the babies that have been aborted are really gone. Nothing that we say or do can bring them back. The broken mothers remain, and we can do something about that. We can show them the love and compassion the Savior shows us and we can speak LIFE into the dead places of their hearts.
Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life.com