Find Healing After Abortion
I had a chance to watch October Baby with my family and I have to say I loved the movie! It’s about a young woman who discovers that she was adopted–but more than that, that she survived an abortion attempt by her birth mother.
It’s an impacting, moving story. It’s told well, and they did a great job with the production. The story wasn’t an easy one to tell, yet they pulled it off well!
After the movie was over and we turned on the lights, my 19-year-old daughter turned to me. “Everyone needs to watch that movie.”
I know the movie will impact many. Yet for those who’ve had an abortion in the past, like me, it may stir up old pains. I remember the first time I heard another person talk about abortion at church. I wanted to sink into the pew and hide. I’m sure I sucked in an audible gasp.
It happened during announcements. The pretty blonde stood in front of the church. “I had an abortion when I was 19.” Her eyes scanned the crowd. “And I will be leading a Bible study for others like me.”
My hands trembled. I was sure everyone around me could guess my secret. Yet a flicker of hope stirred.
There’s someone like me — someone who knows this pain. I’d been a Christian for years, but the shame of an abortion at 15 heavily weighed on my heart. I had no idea other women also dealt with the same heartache.
Women Like Me
Each year, almost half of all pregnancies among American women are unintended. 1 About half of these unplanned pregnancies, 1.3 million each year, are ended by abortion. 1 , 2 Yet for a Christian woman, it may feel like she’s the only one dealing with this issue. Church leaders often don’t know how to approach the subject for fear of stirring “controversy.” Yet women need hope. They need to hear that others have faced the same pain and have found forgiveness and healing. That’s why movies like October Baby are so important. The main character of October Baby is the young woman who survived the abortion attempt, and my heart also went out to her mother. No one knew the pain but her. I’m sure she was certain no one would understand.
After an abortion, many women cope through repression and denial. Oftentimes, this “works” for 5, 10, even 20 years, but having children or facing infertility can bring suppressed feelings to light. Before she realizes her pain, suppressed shame and guilt can express themselves in many ways including low self-esteem, insomnia, nightmares, and flashbacks. It is common to turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the ache.
Steps to healing.
Women do not need to remain suffering silent prisoners. According to J. Willke, there are five steps in the healing process:
- Counter the denial. A woman must take responsibility, admitting she killed her baby.
- Grieve over her lost child. Releasing pent-up tears often brings healing.
- Seek divine forgiveness. In my case, it helped to realize Jesus’ grace was greater than my sin.
- Forgive others. There are many people I resented for their part, including family members and my old boyfriend. I soon realized that this hatred hurt me the most.
- Forgiving herself. Romans 6:16 states that “sin leads to death.” When I was able to forgive myself for believing Satan’s lies, I found inner peace that I’d not experienced in years. Afterwards, I knew I had to help others find the same peace.
- Reaching Out. After my own healing, I led post-abortion groups using the book, Forgiven and Set Free by Linda Cochrane. I also share my testimony in person and through writing. My words of hope may be exactly what another woman needs.
I encourage you to watch October Baby! Also spread the word. Let your friends know about this amazing movie!
If you’ve had an abortion, I pray you will find healing. And if you know someone who has–won’t you reach out to her and help her? A loving friend can do amazing things through the healing process.
- Guttmacher Institute. Facts in Brief – Induced Abortion. 2003. www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html
- Finer LB, Henshaw SK. Abortion incidence and services in the United States in 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2003; 35: 6-15.
- J. Willke, P.A.S. Five Steps on How You Can Help, Life Issues Connector, Mar. 1996
Tricia, thank you so much for your openness to share about this very personal issue. Blessings to you!
Thank you, Suzanne. I know the pain I faced for so many years, and I hope I can help women who are dealing with the same pain.
Tricia – God bless you for openly sharing your past. I’ve just been through F&SF and am about to start leading a class at a local church. The feeling of forgiveness is indeed freeing and understanding that we will be reunited with our pre-born children one day in heaven is a message that so many women need so badly to hear. I hope to one day never again hear “I haven’t asked God for forgiveness because I don’t think I deserve it.”. This movie is the perfect conversation starter….it’s incredible.
Thank you for posting on this subject that has been a hands-off topic for decades! I am also a post-abortive woman who didn’t deal with my past abortion for 35 years! Stuffing down the pain for so many years caused many heartaches not only for myself but many others.
There is another post-abortion healing study called Surrendering the Secret. I am a National Trainer for this study. Women can go to http://www.Surrenderingthesecret.com for more information and resources. It is a DVD-driven study that is offered in both church and other locations.
Giving up that secret to walk in the truth has restored so many women! We are so grateful that the Irwin Brothers shared their passion for telling this brave story of forgiveness.
Ellen, thank you so much for posting that resource. I have to say that if someone told me 20 years ago that I’d be sharing my story publicly I wouldn’t have believed them. I’d stuff the pain and shame but it wasn’t far from the surface. I hope that many more women will find healing like we did!