Hope After Abortion

b7bd811b033460a7d34e580ba1330bd5It can be natural for pro-lifers to get worked-up, condemning abortion and get caught up in the laws, politics and arguments against murdering unborn babies. I often find myself doing that same because I believe in standing up and being a voice for the 50 million unborn babies that will never smile or laugh, kiss their mothers goodnight, love and marry a spouse, be a friend or worship our God. They are gone forever and our future needs protected.

But the women making the decision to abort their own baby are real people who live with the consequences and aftermath of their decision, something that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Where is their grace and healing? Are they to never move past this?

I read an article from Sister Paula Vandegaer on Project Rachel’s website and I took excerpts from it here because let us not ignore or forget about these women once the abortion is over. They are living with so much burden and sorrow that really affects the rest of their lives. Sr. Paula wrote so eloquently about the grace and forgiveness our Savior pours out on each of us, no matter what decisions we’ve made or what our past holds and this really grabbed hold of me today so I want to share!

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Society tells young women that abortion will solve their problem. It says nothing about the problems abortion creates. Supporters of abortion claim it is a simple procedure with no lasting impact. And women who know better don’t discuss, certainly not publicly, how abortion changed their lives for the worse.

Abortion is an extremely unnatural experience for a woman’s body and her maternal instinct. But if society denies the mother’s loss, her body does not. God prepares a woman psychologically and physically for motherhood. When a woman is pregnant she feels different. Within a few days after conception, even before the tiny embryo has nested in her uterine wall, a hormone called ‘early pregnancy factor’ is found in her bloodstream, alerting the cells of her body to the pregnancy. Her body may now crave different foods, she may need more rest. New cells begin to grow in her breasts, cells which will mature and secrete milk specially formulated for the needs of a newborn. She begins to think ‘baby.’ She starts noticing babies on the street, in the store, on television. She may dream about her baby at night, and fantasize about her baby during the day. What name? Who will he or she look like?

But if she wants to have an abortion she must try to stop this process. She must deny the maternal feelings entering into her consciousness. She must believe that what is inside of her is not fully a baby. She must stop the process of thinking about her baby as ‘her baby.’

Negative reactions are to be expected and do not depend on a person’s religious beliefs or general mental health. Although her mind may say one thing, her emotional life and her body cells say another. If she has the abortion, the very cells of her body remember the pregnancy and know that the process of change that had been going on was stopped in an unnatural manner. Her body and her emotions tell her that she is a mother who has lost a child. And so it is not surprising that after the abortion, a pain begins to emerge from the depths of her heart. She has a loss to mourn, but cannot allow herself to grieve. Grieving would require admitting to herself that a child was killed in the abortion and that she shares responsibility for her child’s death. This is a very heavy burden to bear.

Women, and all those involved in the decision to abort, must believe, or try to believe, that there was no human life present in the womb. To admit this is to admit complicity in the killing of an innocent human being. Condemning abortion would mean condemning themselves or the wife, daughter, sister or friend whom they love. And so society refuses to recognize the incontrovertible facts about human life before birth

Everyone is a part of the healing ministry of Christ. A simple word that will touch their hearts and release them from fear and isolation can begin the healing process. While law and society often pit the interests of a mother against those of her unborn child, the Church recognizes that their best interests are joined. What is best for the child is also best for the mother. We need to speak the full truth: ‘If you have had an abortion, God’s mercy is great enough to forgive that, too.’ Jesus offers forgiveness and healing. You will come to understand that nothing in definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. Jesus offers the hope and promise of resurrection and reunion with the child who is waiting for his parents in heaven.

–Sr. Paula Vandegaer, LCSW, Project Rachel

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