By Kevin Burke, LSW
Susan Swander, a Rachel’s Vineyard team member in Oregon shares:
“Yes, Mother’s Day can be a hard day for women with abortion loss. But it can also be a day for those women to celebrate being mothers.”
How is it possible that a secret and shameful event from the past…can be a cause for celebration?
To understand this good news, we first need to explore the heart of the abortion wound.
So many of the symptoms women and men struggle with after abortion such as depression, anxiety, addictions, and relationship problems are rooted in the following:
– Abortion attacks the unique relationship between a mother and her unborn child
– A woman who has experienced abortion loss has within her heart, soul and body a powerful desire to reconnect in love as mother with her aborted child or children.
– Given her role in the child’s death, the circumstances of the pregnancy and trauma associated with the procedure, it can be very difficult to sort through the emotional aftermath and pain to find peace and reconciliation.
The Intimate Relationship of Mother and Child
Until that bond between parent and child is re-established in an abortion recovery program, women and men may develop substitute relationships with things like substances, work, and sex as a way to cope with repressed grief and the complicated feelings that often accompany the abortion experience.
Often these symptoms lead to the process of traumatic re-enactment resulting in repeat abortion procedures (close to 50% of all abortions are repeat procedures.)
Abortion is an especially sensitive wound for women given their unique role in pregnancy and childbirth. With conception, a mother’s body is quite aware that there is a very small child growing in the womb.
The female body is anything but “pro-choice.” From the beginning she begins the intimate process of nurturing and protecting the developing life that resides within her. A woman’s body is clearly pro-baby and pro-life.
We know that pressure from the baby’s father, other family members, fears and anxieties about motherhood, and challenging circumstances can lead parents to see abortion as the only way to resolve an unplanned pregnancy.
Yet, even when a conscious decision to abort seems the only possible solution, (which of course it is not), and she experiences a sense of relief after the procedure, a mother is still deeply injured when she participates in severing that intimate relationship as the mother of her unborn child.
Thanks to the mercy of God and the physical resurrection of Jesus, our Christian faith gives mothers the sure hope that while there may have been a physical separation with the child (or children), she never stopped being the mother of her unique and precious child.
When parents go through an abortion recovery program, they come to understand and more importantly, intimately experience a new reality. The bond between parent and child, which was denied for many years, is now resurrected and firmly rooted in their maternal and paternal heart.
The spiritual relationship with their child in this life, and the hope of reunion in eternal life to come with the Lord, is a source of great consolation and peace.
So many women who have had abortions never thought of themselves as mothers, if they didn’t have any living children, until after a healing program like Rachel’s Vineyard. And even someone like me who does have a living son, after doing my Rachel’s Vineyard retreats, Mother’s Day became a day for me to honor and celebrate my three aborted children & one miscarried. So, now I have five children that I rejoice in.”