Do you have a friend or relative who has had an abortion? Maybe you were involved in the decision from the outset…maybe you were in the waiting room during the procedure…maybe she confided in you long after the fact. But however you found out, you have found this site because you care, because you’ve seen her sadness and wondered how to help. Others may simply have this issue on their heart, hoping to help the millions who have made this choice.
The first step in being part of the healing process is to learn more about our mindset and pain -- the way we think and react to this topic. Your best gift to any post-abortive individual will be your love and prayers. She or he may or may not be ready to work through their pain. Our hope is this web site can be a resource. Perhaps the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion, can be something they can tuck in a drawer and pull out some rainy day when the issue has become too hard to avoid. When that day comes, and they come to you for assistance, be ready with a list of “positive-life” groups—those who do not express judgment towards individuals who have made this choice but are warm and compassionate—such as pregnancy care centers, post-abortion ministries and resources in your community to recommend. These can usually be found in the “abortion alternatives” section of your yellow pages or our help in your area page.
How to present Her Choice to Heal to a post-abortive individual
If you discovered the truth through a second party, and the individual is unaware that you know about their abortion, please be prayerful about addressing them directly. It could be that the second party information was wrong. First start by reading the book yourself and then writing a personal message of compassion and love on the inside cover. Then place the book in an envelope and then put that envelope inside another larger envelope.
The next time you see this person you feel led to give it to, hand it to them by saying, “I found this resource and thought of you love. Perhaps it may be helpful.” Then give them the envelope and change the subject. If they try to open the envelope in your presence, they won’t see the book’s title. They won’t be embarrassed or have to comment on the topic at that time. Instead they will have time to process the resource in the privacy of their own homes. Do not ask them about the resource afterwards. Just be assured that when the time is right, they will have access to Godly help and encouragement.
If you need to mail this resource, please understand that Ramah International cannot send unsolicited resources to individuals who did not request them specifically. You will need to obtain the book and follow the same procedure as listed above. Just include a card that says, “I found this resource and though of you with love. Perhaps it may be helpful.”
Why Post-Abortive Individuals Seem to Not Obviously Feel Pain
It is possible that during the initial stages of our emotions after an abortion, we hurt others. Personally I not only recommended abortion to my friends, I also openly and righteously told myself it was my "best choice." When I began to feel the pain of this lost potential person in my heart, I'd work to cover it and disregard it. Many times that denial led me to become drunk or high, shouting out my pain to anyone who could hear, blaming individuals who bore no responsibility for the decisions I had made in my life. I openly and actively blamed the world for the choice that I had made myself. During most of this time, I never realized that my abortion was the reason for my pain. In the end only God could help me face the truth – no one had forced me to abort and I bore responsibility in this decision.
There were many times when I hated men because of the unresolved hatred and disrespect that festered in my heart towards a young man who didn't encouraging a life option for our child. My heart was broken apart and near disrepair. On that prodigal journey, God worked hard to put individuals into my path that could offer me His hope of healing. But I could not bear the thought of consciously dealing with the grief, guilt and agony of resurrecting my child from the depths of my heart. In a way, this child “haunted” me at every turn until God finally brought the pain to the surface and opened the wound for healing. To acknowledge my child as an individual who was created by Jesus to be my first-born was a thought that I felt could lead me to suicide. In the end, I was completely wrong. In acknowledging and accepting this child into my heart, I found real peace.
I ask you not to judge us at whatever stage we are in the healing process. No matter how hard we work to drive your love away, the truth is that we are simply angry at ourselves and lashing out in pain. If you are close enough, you could feel our lash. Do not take this personally. We struggle to forgive ourselves for allowing our children to leave this world without ever having a chance to draw their first breath.
After many years helping multitudes of post-abortive hearts, I've learned that much of our pain is similar. The Symptoms of Post-Abortion Syndrome
may be helpful for you to read to understand this loved one. In the time-line of every woman’s healing process, there are ways that others can help and love us along our journey to wholeness in Christ.
Points to consider when addressing a post-abortive individual:
As I travel and speak, individuals continue to approach me for information on how to address a past abortion with someone they love. The information below can be helpful in God using you to reach their hearts:
You can talk about the abortion if we know you realize this truth.
Please don't bring up this topic to us without prayerful consideration and a heart that is full of God's love and compassion. We are our own worst enemies and need no help in further wounding ourselves in these silent prisons of pain. Avoiding the topic of abortion can signal your rejection to our hearts. Keeping silent about this fact of our past only reinforces our conclusion that you cannot accept or love us truly. Especially around mother's day and anniversaries of abortion-rights victories, respond in love and compassion.
If you have heard about our “choice” indirectly, and we do not know that you are aware of this decision, be very careful in approaching the topic directly.
It could be that you have been misinformed. If you know this truth from credible sources, then you can start by discussion abortion in an indirect manner. Start with an open heart by saying, “Abortion is something that nearly thirty three percent of all women have chosen. My heart goes out to those who find themselves in these situations. I understand the pain that is often connected there and the judgment many of these individuals can experience. I hope no one ever perceives me as judgmental. But for the grace of God, I could have made the same decision.”
Our reaction to this calmly spoke message will be your next cue for action. God’s anointing can fall like rain and we can confess this to you openly. Be ready with love and acceptance, and even honesty about the fact that you knew all along but were afraid to address it with us because you didn’t want to cause more pain.
If this comment enlists no response, let us be. I have known many women with strongly imbedded masks that are strong and tight, allowing no physical response to indicate we are post-abortive. This response has been practiced and performed over and over again. Post-abortive women in public arenas (pastor’s wives, women’s ministry leaders, etc.) continue to amaze me at their level of restraint. So do not be alarmed by a lack of reaction or assume that means we have a cold heart. Your positive comment has invested love into our hearts and it can take time for that nourishment to reach our broken root system, breaking the mask’s grip on our hearts. Perhaps tomorrow, next year or many years from now we will trust you with our own truth. Maybe we never will. But loving comments like this go a long way to helping God’s love grow in our hearts.
In discussing this choice, avoid the direct use of the word "abortion."
Many of us hear this word and writhe in pain, actively avoiding it like a scared rabbit who hears the close noise of the hawk’s fluttering wings as it descends to attack. There are other ways to address this topic -- "I wanted to talk to you about your pregnancy loss…" is a good example. If we become uncomfortable and don't want to talk, do not push further. Simply end the conversation by noting, "I just want to make it clear that I love you and there is nothing you have ever done in the past that could make me think less of you. I am always here for you."
Understand that few women chose abortion in a "murderous" mindset.
Frederica Mathewes-Green, a positive-life minded feminist made this accurate quote -- “A woman doesn’t want an abortion like she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche, but like an animal caught in a trap who gnaws off its own leg,” Abortion is a legal option and not considered homicide in most nations. Please do not use derogatory terms about this procedure or encourage their use in any way. These terms lead us to further depths in our prisons of silence that bear stronger protective doors.
Acknowledge your truth to us -- had you walked in our shoes, you could have easily made the same choice.
Make this confession every time you hear anyone discussing abortion. If you don’t think that abortion was a possibility in your past, you are mistaken. There are millions of us out here to prove you wrong. Abortion is a very real option in times of crisis, no matter how much you abhor the concept today. Post-abortive women need to know that this choice is more common that most people imagine and that we are all sinners, guilty and stained before the Lord.
Realize that the post-abortive are always within listening range.
Many have overheard judgmental conversations that relayed messages like, “I think any woman that chooses abortion should go to prison!” Even in discussing a woman who has made a positive life decision during a crisis pregnancy can be cast down in whispered communications. This fact has changed greatly in the past few years, thankfully. Many pastors can speak strongly and more condemning in their rhetoric against abortion believing that their congregations will then be influenced to choose morality and abstinence. Unfortunately, these bombastic sermons can sometimes cause greater pain and lead us to withdraw further in our own private hell if we are not addressed directly with compassion.
If you overhear judgmental communications about the post-abortive,
be sure to vocally address us in the area in a compassionate manner. Offer loving responses like, “Excuse me but I heard what you just said. You may not realize that women who have chosen abortion could be overhearing your comment. I don’t think you meant to come across as judgmental. God’s grace extends to us all. Isn’t that amazing?”
Messages on the sanctity of human life should always include God’s compassion and grace.
When addressing abortion to any audience, include points like this one -- “I know I’m taking strongly against abortion but I also know that there are individuals here today that have chosen abortion. I want you to know that there is no sin that God cannot forgive! The problem may be you don’t forgive yourselves and may need help in coming to that healing place. We are here to help you!” If you are not actively considering adding post-abortion ministry services within your outreach program, make sure you have contacted your local pregnancy care center and discovered the ways their programs can assist your congregation in dealing with this pain. You can discover these locations by clicking on the Help in Your Area button at the top of this page.
Honor individuals who have made a positive life decision in their crisis pregnancy situations in a tangible way.
Each woman who has chosen life, or made an adoption plan, should be considered heroic and applauded. Congregations should offer them direct support through baby showers and loving encouragement. In this manner, others who may find themselves in these situations in a future life will be more apt to avoid an abortion decision. One of the main reasons I chose abortion was to avoid the humiliation my family would endure at the church level should I turned up pregnant. I had seen how other women had been treated and shunned. Many congregations believe honoring these pregnant folks encourages sinful behavior but truly the obvious consequences to the individual reinforce abstinence themes at a deeper level. Honoring also shows that you are compassionate and perhaps a post-abortive individual can gather their courage and share their secret with you and begin the healing process.
Women who have chosen adoption are often more condemned that those who made abortion decisions.
It is hard to realize that these women’s heroic efforts are often disregarded. Individuals warmly congratulate newly adoptive couples but refrain from doing the same to birth parents. Few understand how anyone could “give their baby away.” But this is not the mindset of many birthparents. They are honoring their children, sacrificing their happiness so that their children can experience a complete family.
Many post-abortive women have made adoption plans in their second pregnancies because they could not bear the choice again. Adoptees often live in the shadow of wondering why their parents “gave them away.” Positive messages honoring birth parents can restore the adoptee as well as encourage adoption decisions.
Become educated on post-abortion syndrome and what women experience during abortion procedures.
Watch the video, Sydna’s Abortion Testimony
and Sydna’s Post-Abortion Healing Testimony
, to learn more about what your loved one may have experienced. My story is very typical. That is why the Lord has me offer it to you this testimony in a transparent manner. Obtain a copy of my book Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion. Read through it and understand our pain at a deeper level.
If you are a family member of the post-abortive individual, understand you are also post-abortive at a secondary level.
You have a need to grieve this lost child personally. So many times when related individuals contact me to comfort their post-abortive loved ones, they have not recognized their own pain and grief. A family member has been lost. If that person had been living, they would have certainly grieved their passing personally and privately. The same process should be observed after abortion as well. The “Grandparent Pain” and “For Post-Abortive Men” are sections on our “Healing Place” site.
In the desire to help their loved one, many family members set aside their own needs.
While only limited resources exist for men (David’s Harp: A Devotional for Post-Abortive Men
) and grandparents (Grandparent Recovery Guide – coming soon!), progress is being made to address these needs as well. The symptoms and healing process came be similar for you as well. If you are in this category, start now by simply asking the Lord to reveal to your heart areas that need addressed. The resources for post-abortive women can still be helpful for you.