There were several factors that kept my admission of emotional discomfort quiet after my girlfriend’s abortion. The first factor was the vain attempt to believe that what we had done was perfectly alright. Any emotional discomfort I felt was simply due to the reality that I was not accepting the facts. The facts were that this had been a simple medical procedure that had removed a clump of tissue that wasn’t human…no big deal. Oh how I desperately wanted to believe that. It had been such a helpful solution to a very difficult situation I had created for myself, and it wasn’t even my idea. My first thoughts about my girlfriends pregnancy were the obvious. I had to get a job to tell our parents what had happened and become responsible. It was a difficult and maybe painful reality but I did not think there was a choice in the matter until my girlfriend said the doctor told her to abort the fetus. Oh, so now it’s not a baby and we can get rid of it. That still did not sit right with me and then more pressure was applied to make me accept the proposal and I caved in. I caved in hoping they were right. May be there was something about human life that I did not know. Maybe it wasn’t a baby after all. I hoped this was true, but when my girlfriend returned from the abortion clinic all I knew was I was still a father but the baby was gone. I tried to believe this was the reality. I tried to believe the doctor was right, i.e. an abortion would fix the problem, but the dead feeling inside of me of loss and grief told me otherwise. The guilt and shame I was feeling told me otherwise. The loss of self esteem and the birth of self hatred told me otherwise.
The realization that what we had done was wrong, that the abortion had not fixed the problem but in fact had created way more left me in a state of trying to rationalize that the abortion was okay for a long time. The fear of facing the truth of what we had done and the shame, guilt, grief and loss that accompanied that potential awareness, kept me silent too.
It was my new wife’s second miscarriage that broke the dam. When we lost our second child to miscarriage I could not take it anymore. The years of hiding and burying that awful decision to abort my child were over. I could now see clearly that there was no difference between the intrinsic value of the aborted child and the intrinsic value of the miscarried children.
Just because my girlfriend did not want my first child it did not make it any less human than the two children my wife and I wanted. I began to open up and seek help for the emotional distress I felt because of losing my child to an abortion.
A further hindrance to speak about the emotional pain related to the abortion was the feeling I had that everyone who heard I was involved in an abortion would pin the whole situation on me. I felt like everyone would see it as entirely my fault. I was helped in regards to this issue in a recent group exercise for healing from abortion where a percentage of contribution in terms of responsibility for an ensuing abortion was determined. It was seen by members of the group that my contribution to the abortion after weighing the whole circumstance and everyone involved, was 14%. When people heard my story and the situation in its entirety they felt my contribution to the loss of the child was around 14%. I was surprised. I had always felt people would blame it all on me. This attitude changed when I became brave enough to share my story.
I paid a price keeping silent about the abortion. I had carried guilt, shame, grief, and resentment. I had to push past my own shame and guilt and the potential recrimination of others to break it, but it was worth it. By breaking the silence, not only was I able to see it wasn’t just all my fault I was able to gain an understanding of the provision God had provided through Jesus Christ. I found out He had paved a way for me to have a relationship with God. I found out that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God and that it isn’t just the sin of abortion that separates people from God, it is our original sin that is at the root of our separation. I found out that Jesus Christ had paid the price for that sin and all sin that came from that root. The abortion helped me to see that I had needed Christ all along. The abortion made me aware of the need. It turns out what the devil had designed to destroy me (i.e., the abortion), God turned it to good when I put it in His hands. He has used it as the vehicle by which I could find the only salvation that is available save anyone.
I encourage any father whose lost a child to abortion to find a safe place to express your abortion experience. In the presence of a healthy spiritual care giver you will find the same forgiveness, healing and reconciliation that is available to anyone who brings their truth to the Lord. Break the silence, it is worth it.