Q: Should a teen tell her parents about the abortion she had? Should she keep it a secret? © copyright 2016 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC.
Answer: Dear Friend,
It sounds like you are experiencing a lot of turmoil because of the abortion you chose to have. Abortion was a way out of the pregnancy and now, the only way out of suffering consequences from your parents is to keep it a secret.
Fear drives people to make choices they regret and then, causes them to hide. You feel remorse and sadness over the abortion and pregnancy. But, choosing to keep quiet about a crisis like this will only complicate your life and family relationships.
It was difficult for you to think clearly when you discovered you had been impregnated. The thought of being honest with your parents causes you more anxiety and the urge to escape. The trouble is that now – more than ever before – you need support. You need to work through the sense of guilt, grief, shame and emptiness you feel after having the abortion.
Keeping it a secret will only complicate and increase your grief, fear and guilt. You need people. You need your parents. They can help you work through this loss. Your parents may be the very ones who can provide you with the greatest support.
This brings me to my main point. Since you have had an abortion… keeping it a secret will cause greater damage than telling the truth to people who love you. “But,” you say, “telling my parents the truth now will only open up a can of worms. Then, they will not only know I had an abortion – but that I was having sex out of wedlock and became pregnant!”
Yes, you are right. Telling the truth to your parents will make you face all of the consequences head-on. You will have to deal with their feelings and their disappointment with you. You kept the pregnancy a secret because you felt shame over having sex out of wedlock and now it seems impossible to tell them the whole truth.
Why telling the truth will set you free:
Someone once said, “you are only as sick as your secrets”. Hiding the truth about who you are and what you have done will make you sick at heart. One lie leads to another lie.
Pretty soon you will be living in a web of deceit and find it more and more convenient to tell lies to cover up things you don’t want revealed. This will affect all of your relationships and affect how you feel about yourself.
Telling the truth will set you free. Yes, it may hurt for awhile. But, ultimately, it is the only way out of the trap you are in right now. When you tell your parents (or a wise adult you can trust) what you have done, you can expect they will be disappointed and angry and may have a hard time forgiving you. But, that’s the risk you will have to face. It’s a risk worth taking though. Once they have had time to process how it has affected them, they will, most likely, begin to think about how to help you work through it.
Most parents want the best for their children. Most will begin think about your welfare and how to influence you in a positive way. Realize that any anger they express only reveals how much they love you and want the best for you.
If you are honest with them (or someone), you will find it easier to be honest with other important people in your life. Lying comes from fear and you don’t want to live in fear all your life. Fear and deceit will impact your thinking, ability to make decisions and ability to be authentic in your relationships.
Telling the truth will help you move towards God and grow in a relationship with Him. He can give you courage and wisdom to start making the right choices in your life. (read about knowing God personally)/
God will honor your decision to be honest. He will help you handle your parent’s reaction.
Get professional support: You should also go to a crisis care pregnancy center for help and counseling. They can help guide and support you through the loss of your baby and the crisis of telling your parents.
Take the risk to tell the truth. Plan out how you will do it.
You may want to write out what you fear will occur when you tell your parents. Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that can happen? What’s the worst thing my parents could do or say? Maybe you fear they will discipline you somehow or take away some privileges. Maybe you fear they will throw you out of the house or hurt you somehow.
If you fear the latter, then, it might be wise to go to an understanding Aunt or Uncle for support first. Tell them what has happened so they can guide you and maybe even go with you when you talk with your parents. Go to your pastor for guidance and support.
Then, write out how you will respond to your parents once you have told them about the abortion.
You may plan to say something like this: “I know I have let you down. I have let myself down as well. I truly apologize. I made this unfortunate decision because I was so afraid. Please forgive me. I really want and need your help and support now.”
Telling the truth will free you from a life of fear. Telling the truth will give you courage when you have new decisions to make in the future. You will begin to seek out counsel when you find yourself in troubled waters. You will find comfort and encouragement from significant people in your life. You will enjoy living a more authentic life before people.Telling the truth will make your relationships honest and build trust.
God bless you as you take the risk of learning how the truth can set you free! Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC
Read more about Abortion FAQs.
© copyright 2016 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection , National Certified Counselor, Certified Anger Management Specialist-V (CAMS-V) 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