Women struggling with abortion and unwanted pregnancies from all over the world have written to Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC, Marriage and Family Counselor for advice. The following are a few of these questions and answers.
Q: “I never thought that I would have to deal with a close friend having an abortion. I think abortion is wrong, I thought she felt that way too. How do I deal with this for myself and with her?”
Answer: It’s difficult to think about the fact that a life has been snuffed out and that your friend actually decided to have this done. Truly you are grieving this decision along with your friend. You wish she had not made this decision. She must regret it as well and deal with the guilt of actually giving permission to have the abortion.
Two questions come to mind: How can you move on from here? How can you help your friend in the process?
First, you must realize that you did not make this decision and that any guilt you may feel over it is false. You can separate yourself from the act but, you will still feel sadness over this loss. Take steps to help yourself work through the grief. Journal your feelings and accept that grief is a part of life when we face any loss to help us work through it. As you process this grief yourself, you will be able to help your friend process it as well.
You may feel anger towards your friend. You will need to forgive her for making this decision.
How can you forgive when she has terminated a life? You can forgive because you are a human being needing forgiveness as well and therefore, you can grant forgiveness.
Grief has several stages: shock, protest, disorganization and reorganization. In the protest phase you will experience many feelings of anger, depression, sadness, fear, loneliness. This is normal. These feelings need to be expressed. Find someone close who you can talk to and share your feelings.
Post-Abortion Support: Encourage your friend to go to a Pregnancy Center to get post-abortion counseling. See this web site for the USA : Pregnancy Centers or call 1.800.395.HELP. See the international listings of pregnancy centers on the internet for help in other countries. Contact Caris Pregnancy Clinics in the Chicagoland area. For professional counseling see the American Association of Christian Counselors directory.
Q: “I am 18 years old, pregnant and about to start college. I am considering having an abortion. Is having an abortion is safe? What are the dangers of having one and how will they affect me?
A: My heart really goes out to you as you feel pretty desperate about your pregnancy and are thinking over the consequences of making a decision to end this life within you.
Start by getting some support and guidance. You can go to a Pregnancy Center to get counseling. See this web site for the USA : Pregnancy Centers or call 1.800.395.HELP. See the international listings of pregnancy centers on the internet for help in your country. Contact Caris Pregnancy Clinics in the Chicagoland area. These centers will keep your information confidential and can help you think through your options and provide you with hope and support for keeping your baby.
Many times these centers will also offer a free ultrasound, so that you can see the life forming within you.
Consequences of abortion: Many women who consider abortion find that abortion does not end their problems, it only exacerbates them. They live with the memory of ending their baby’s life, yes, of killing him or her. Abortion will not resolve the fears that you have. It will only increase the psychological issues and bring about an unbearable guilt that few talk about.
Abortion comes with great risk of complications. Some women have experienced infertility and reproductive problems. Counseling and pastoral offices are full of women who are grieving the pain and guilt of abortion. Please write, call or visit the Pregnancy Centers site as suggested above for help.
God answers prayers and is very concerned about you and your baby’s welfare. It may seem like an accident that you are pregnant but, God knew you would become pregnant all along. Though you are suffering the consequences of having sexual relations with this man……the life residing in your womb was created by God and is being sustained by Him even now. And your sin can be forgiven if you confess it to God and believe that Christ died for your sins on the cross.
Turn to the Bible for encouragement and hope. God will comfort you and give you guidance and courage to make the choice to do what is right. Psalm 25:4-5 says:
“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
It is my prayer that you will decide to give birth to your baby. Read Tiny Hand of Hope.
Q: I had an abortion last year. I would have given birth this month. I’m feeling all sorts of mixed emotions. I keep thinking about having another baby. Is this normal or am I just feeling guilty? I feel that having a baby will help me get through all the pain and guilt that I’m feeling.
A: It is normal for you to grieve the loss of your baby now. It is important to allow yourself to process this loss and work through any guilt over making this decision to have an abortion. It is normal to wish you had your baby now and to have a desire to give birth to another child as well.
What can you do? First of all, I encourage you to seek counseling for your loss. You may want to call Rapha’s hotline for a referral to someone in your area at: 1-800-383-4673. Or contact the agencies listed above.
Secondly, process your loss by taking time to work through the grief. Grief has several stages. You are feeling many emotions of sadness, anger, guilt, loneliness. This is normal. You can move through this time.
Process your feelings by journaling and through prayer. You will discover that God is near to the broken-hearted. You may feel that God rejects you because of your decision to terminate your pregnancy. But, He is there ready to forgive.
Get support. You may find that the agencies recommended offer post-abortion support groups. It helps to talk about your loss with others who have gone through the same experience. Realize that there are no pat answers for your loss. You will feel grief and remorse over this at times but, the pain will lessen.
You need to forgive yourself. Realize that you are human and have made a mistake. But, ultimately, this mistake is not the unforgivable sin – not in God’s eyes. Read aboutforgiveness, faith, and working through guilt.
Ask yourself these questions: What have I learned from this experience? How has this changed my life?
Maybe you have learned that you would not have made the decision to abort your baby — that you did it out of fear and wished you had considered other options such as adoption or keeping the baby.
Maybe you realize now that this decision had more serious consequences than you expected.
From this day forward you can make some new resolutions for any future decisions especially when it has to do with a pregnancy. You can determine to consult with a crisis pregnancy center about all the options available for having your baby. You can determine to talk with other women who may be considering abortion about how this event in your life affected you and you regret it. You can decide to make serious decisions based on God’s will for your life.
You will never regret turning to God. He will help you and strengthen you. If you feel guilty about a pregnancy or an abortion, you need to know that God forgives you because Jesus died for your sins on the cross 2,000 years ago and when you place your faith in Him — you are forgiven.
God will help you through this trial. Go to a solid Christian church and talk and pray with a Pastor there. I hope that you will find this helpful. Please check out my advice page for more help. It is my prayer that you will grow in your faith through this loss and discover the love and forgiveness of God more deeply.
God bless you! ~© copyright 2005 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection , National Certified Counselor, Anger Management Specialist and Diplomate with the Amer. Assoc. of Anger Management Providers. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger?and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.