The following is from a pamphlet that did not have a copyright. Even so, I did not feel at liberty to remove the erroneous names and titles used for the Almighty and His Son.
How To Survive Your Abortion: A Guide To Rebuilding Your Life
"Compiled by "The Precious Feet People"
You are hurting. Perhaps you have a vague ache somewhere in your being that is frequently referred to as the "heart". Perhaps it's worse than that. Your abortion may have left you emotionally distraught.
Whatever pain you are experiencing, you are not alone. Many women are suffering as you are; some of us have worked through our heartache. This booklet is an attempt to help women like us - the surviving victims of abortion.
"Among the most common symptoms experienced by women who seek counseling [for abortion trauma] are: low self-esteem, anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, extreme mood swings, a need to compensate for the loss of their child, drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, frigidity, numbness of feelings, hatred of self or of men, withdrawal, inability to sustain intimate relationships, unexpected emotional outbursts, suicide attempts [especially on the date her baby was due to be born]. Physical symptoms include nervous itching or hives, headaches, back-aches, stomach or abdominal disorders.
The list is far from complete. Repressed emotions may erupt wherever the woman is most vulnerable, physically or psychologically. Many factors determine the symptoms and their severity; no one experiences grief of loss in quite the same way. Our findings indicate that almost any kind of problem surfacing after an abortion may be directly or indirectly related to it, and therapy must include a healing of the abortion trauma.
The crisis point occurs most often between 2-5 years after the abortion. For some women, the crisis may come within months of the abortion - for others repression may last 20-30 years or more . . ."
Don't despair. There is help. Read on . . .
Terry Selby, ACSW
Counseling Associates of Bemidji, Inc.
DON'T ALLOW ANYONE TO TRIVIALIZE OR DISMISS YOUR GRIEF.
Your grief is a healthy sign - a sign that you are facing realities, rather than hiding or keeping them to yourself where they will continue to build up inside and create a conflict between right and wrong in your own mind. Your tears will help cleanse you. The first step toward being healed of emotional wounds is to admit that they exist, and to admit the cause of these wounds.
You have a right to grieve. If you lost an infant to disease or accident, society would not deny your right to grieve; miscarriage of a planned or wanted child is recognized as an acceptable reason for grief. Many women are surprised to find themselves grieving an aborted child because the abortion was, more or less, a voluntary act; but that is all the more reason to grieve. Because you realize your abortion was a voluntary act on your part, your guilt and grief will become more painful.
You may be led to believe, by doctors, abortion facility counselors or other "family planning" personnel, by other women who have had abortions, psychiatrists, parents, husband, or boyfriend that your grief is not real or genuine. This may lead you to feel foolish, selfish or guilty about your grief and that just makes your already confused state more stressful and makes you fear you are "going off the deep end".
Your grief is not only real and genuine, it is normal. When pregnancy occur, your body begins to go through changes as you become a mother. Your body machinery gears up to produce a child; your mind starts to think in terms of being a mother. Anything that might oppose, or stop this natural process (such as abortion) upsets the natural functioning of your body and may cause permanent damage to your mental state. IT IS NORMAL TO EXPERIENCE A SENSE OF LOSS, OF EMPTINESS, OF GRIEF. Recognize then that you are responding normally to a tragic life experience. The fact that you cooperated in the bringing about of that tragedy does not mean that you do not need to grieve, but rather may add to your need to grieve.
DON'T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF.
One doctor has stated that uncertainty in early pregnancy is so common that it is often a symptom of pregnancy. You were called upon to make an important life decision at a time when your decision-making abilities were hindered by the changes that your body was going through. In addition, it is likely you did not make your decision without help from others.
Perhaps the baby's father was unwilling or unable to be supportive and accept responsibility for his child. He may have suggested abortion and talked you into abortion by becoming emotional or by using financial reasons.
Frequently parents, in a desire to protect their child from embarrassment, pain or loss of schooling by an untimely pregnancy, urge abortion as the "solution" to "the problem". If you were unmarried, you may have felt that because your sexual behavior was somewhat irresponsible you gave up your right to make a decision to bear your child against your parents' expressed wishes. You may have felt that you had no right to further embarrass your parents and postpone their plans for your future. In an earnest desire to end their pain, you may have mistakenly viewed abortion as a way to hurry up and end a situation causing pain to those who love you most.
Your relatives, your superiors, your best friend might have all suggested, even urged, that abortion was truly an acceptable solution to your very different situation.
The counselors at the family planning or abortion facility may not have given you enough information to help you make an informed and intelligent decision. Because of this, your decision was not truly voluntary. The twisted words that they used may have led you to believe that your unborn child was truly not a human being. They called it "a clump of cells" or "the product of conception". They did not tell you enough about the complications; they told you less of the emotional complications. They told you little about the procedure by which they would abort the child and nothing of the pain your child would suffer. It is likely that you did not make your decision based on adequate information.
Finally, perhaps you thought that, because abortion is legal, it is right. After all, the Supreme Court did declare abortion to be "right" and 1.5 million women a year can't be all wrong, can they? You have a right to expect law-makers of our nation to have and use good judgment. Usually you can trust the law as a guideline for conducting your life. It isn't your fault that you didn't realize how wrong abortion is and what an injustice it is to the unborn child. It is society's failure, not yours alone.
You now know that abortion is a life or death situation, but that doesn't mean that you knew when you made your decision. It was a tragically unfortunate decision, but it was an understandable one.
FORGIVE THOSE YOU MIGHT BE FEELING BITTER TOWARD BECAUSE OF THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN YOUR ABORTION.
It is natural to feel anger toward people close to you who should have been supportive at a difficult time in your life but who seemed to fail you so miserably. But any anger that you let remain and allow to live in your heart soon becomes rage or bitterness. You cannot heal emotionally while allowing those destructive feelings to exist.
Realize that your child's father may have felt stuck, with no way out. Perhaps he went back on every spoken and unspoken commitment made between you. You have been generous to yourself, now be generous to him. Your relationship with your child's father might end because of your abortion. If this happens to you, so be it. But forgive him.
Forgive your parents, friends, clergyman. They were wrong, but sincerely so. They thought they were doing what was best for you. Unfortunately their judgments were faulty. That's a shame, not a crime.
Forgive the health-care professionals whom you may feel lied to you or who failed to give you the necessary information that may have changed your decision. Many in the abortion field promote an opinion that an uninformed decision is a less painful one. We know that the opposite is true, but that is in the past now. Some of us are fighting for laws to change that, to require disclosure of the facts to a woman making this vital decision. If you'd like to add your voice to that fight, contact us at the address [at the end].
LOOK TO GOD FOR HEALING
Many people have told me that they feel unworthy of God's forgiveness; that instead they are waiting for or feel they are under God's judgment. But read what God says: "For God SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE". (John 3:16) "Whosoever" includes anyone who has sinned and Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned".
Abortion is not just a misguided act, a carrying out of an unfortunate decision. It is sin. Confess it to God as sin, and ". . .He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". (John 1:9)
God is not angry, he is not demanding a pound of your flesh to make-up for your mistake. His Son, Jesus, has already given His life to pay for your sin and guilt. God stands with His arms outstretched, longing to sooth your hurting heart and heal your wounds. He declares, "Yea, I have loved THEE WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE! Therefore, with loving kindness have I drawn thee". (Jeremiah 31:3)
Don't allow the enemy of your soul to tell you that your sin was too great, too premeditated, selfish, or destructive, that God is not eager to forgive if He is only asked! If you don't know Jesus as your Savior, Healer and Friend, pray in your own words.
Pray and let Jesus know you have accepted Him and what has happened and that you know you are truly sorry, or pray the following prayer:
Father in heaven, I come to you now, confessing my sins. Lord, seeking my own way and living by my own rules has resulted in death and torment for my child and myself. Forgive me. I thank You that You were willing for your Son to die to redeem me. I accept His great sacrifice in my behalf.
Father, I lay at your feet all my feelings of guilt, grief, remorse and regret. Cleanse me and heal me by the blood of your dear Son.
Today is the first day of my new life, a life I commit to You. Teach me to live according to Your will. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
(From here back to "DON'T ALLOW ANYONE TO TRIVIALIZE OR DISMISS YOUR GRIEF" was written by Patty McKinney and Jill Lessard.)
The Acquittal - God's Infinite Mercy
In a far away place and a different time I killed my first child, a most heinous crime.
The state didn't come, and I didn't stand trial. Judge Blackman was calm when he said with a smile, "Killing is legal, say we the High Court. But don't call it murder. Just call it 'abort'."
The judge in my heart would not let the case rest. I had no defense when once put to the test. Found guilty I was by my heart's Supreme Court. "You murdered your baby!" they screamed in retort.
With tears on my cheeks it was too late, I knew to bring back the life of the child I once slew. The gavel slammed down, and it rang in my head, "You are guilty as charged, and deserve to be dead."
"We now give you torment to pay for your sin," was the sentence passed down from my own court within. "You will never escape. You're branded. Don't hide. You're just due is death. You should try suicide."
I was beaten in prison by daily attack. I was paying a debt, so I never fought back. No hope of escaping, and this I knew well. I cried out to God from my own self-made hell.
That day I met Jesus; He smiled in my face. He said, "I forgive you. Come walk in my grace." "Lord, I believe you forgive me and yet, Blameless you are. Can you pay for my debt?"
"And, Lord, please don't touch me for I am unclean. I'm filthy with murder, a most wretched being." I poured out my story. He showed no surprise. I gazed up with awe at the love in His eyes.
He said, "I paid for your crime, yes, was nailed to a tree. There's no condemnation if you'll trust in me. I took on your blame, and your curse on my soul so you may be free without judgment, and whole."
I sputtered, "Dear Lord, where's the justice in this? I killed my first son, and you offer me bliss?" Tears blurred my vision, yet there in His face were eyes of compassion, blue oceans of grace.
I thought to myself, "Now the past has been buried?" I'm free of the guilt that for years I have carried?" He said to accept. It's a gifts that is free. This is atonement, not justice for me!
My judge was dismissed, my accusers, and jury. The truth of His love made them leave in a fury. He smiled, "Walk with Me and come learn My way," and grasping His hand I began a new day.
By Karen Sullivan-Ables
UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU . . . "The Grieving Process"
At times it may seem that your feelings are confused - out of control. You hope that one day your pain will cease - but how? When? If you have some understanding of what is happening to you, you will be better equipped to cope. The confusing emotions of anger, sadness and depression are a normal part of what is called "the grieving process". You are grieving for your child as any mother would.
The stages outlined below are general observations and not necessarily identical for each woman. You will grieve in your own way; at your own pace. Following are the stages of grief as they relate to you, the woman who has had an abortion:
1) Relief - You may have experienced a sense of relief following your abortion. For a while you felt that your problems were over.
2) Denial and Rationalization - "It was something I had to do." "It was just a blob of tissue." "It's legal, therefore it's okay." These are commonly heard statements. Denial of the truth through such rationalization robs you of the opportunity to be healed through grieving.
3) Realization and Shock - The understanding of what abortion really is follows, and can be overwhelming and frightening. With a sense of bewilderment you may have said, "I killed my baby". With this knowledge you could go back to the denial phase telling yourself that it was something you had to do; or you then move into the most painful part of the grieving process.
4) Anger and Depression - The full force of the abortion has hit. You feel angry, betrayed, grief stricken, or depressed. Thoughts of suicide may nudge at you. Life seems almost hopeless at times. Unexplainable rage, guilt, remorse or self-hatred overwhelm you. You may suffer from insomnia, nightmares and flashbacks. Maybe you drink, take drugs, or indulge in casual sex hoping to fill the emptiness inside and stop the hurting. You regret your abortion and perhaps you would give anything to undo it. Making decisions seems to be difficult now. You think about your baby a lot. Although you may become overwhelmed by these thoughts and feelings - Don't be afraid. They are all a normal part of grief. Many women have experienced them and eventually worked out their pain. Now is a good time to seek God, and counsel from an understanding minister, counselor or friend.
5) Acceptance and Surrender - With sympathetic help a sense of peace and a proper perspective of your past emerge. For your healing to be complete you must seek and accept forgiveness for yourself. With God's help forgive others. Daily you need to surrender your anger, bitterness and self-hatred to Christ. Hanging on to them will destroy you.
6) Hope and Substitution - As you stand before your Maker you must realize that it is His grace and HIS grace alone that has brought you this far. There is no way you can take the credit for any o the healing. Christ does not call us out of our sin and heal our lives so that we can sit upon a pedestal for all the world to admire. It is now your responsibility to serve the needs of others with the same compassion and grace that has been shown to you by our Lord. Your self esteem returns when you go beyond a total focus on yourself and into serving others.
The passing from grief to healing, death to life, can seem like a long painful process; and it is! It can also be a time of growth, maturing, and self-evaluation. By acknowledging and surrendering your feelings to God you will find release.
You will always remember the child you never knew here on earth. The memory is not wiped away with the healing - only the tears.
" . . . if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new." (II Corinthians 5:17). God loves you!
Karen Sullivan Ables
An aborted woman like yourself
"The Precious Feet People"
P.O. Box 730, Taylor, Arizona 85939
Portions of this pamphlet were taken from the writings of Patty McKinney, Jill Lessard, Terry Selby and Karen Sullivan Ables. We wish to express our appreciation to them