By Kevin Burke, LSW and Theresa Burke, Ph.D.
March 25th is The Solemnity of the Annunciation, the celebration of the coming of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce her special vocation to be the mother of Jesus Christ.
The feast reminds us of the mysterious and intimate relationship of Mary with her developing son from the moment of his conception.
A National Pro-Life Coalition is urging all citizens to observe March 25 as the Day of the Unborn Child. The Coalition is launching a special project on the Feast of the Annunciation called “Baby Chris” that will follow the development of a child in the womb for nine months until Christmas Day. The project will feature an app that shows the developmental facts and stunning imagery of the child for each week of pregnancy.
This project has special significance for the millions of our fellow citizens touched by abortion loss. This includes the parents of preborn children, but also grandparents, and other family and friends who are often influential in abortion decisions, and in some cases, directly participated in the child’s death.
The Distorted Lens of Choice
Pro-abortion advocates see the abortion issue through the lens of “reproductive rights/choice,” and feminist empowerment. Funny thing about the pro-abortion language of bodily autonomy and choice — a woman’s body is not pro-choice! Once conception occurs, and the pregnancy is developing normally, a woman’s body is focused on nurturing and protecting the life within her womb.
Of course she may be struggling with the circumstances of the pregnancy, and feeling pressure from others to abort. But on an emotional and physiological level, a woman has to sever an intimate communion between mother and developing child when that relationship and pregnancy is terminated.
The often unacknowledged shame, guilt and loss are connected to the violation of something deep within her identity and an intuitive sense that an intimate relationship has been severed. (Fathers can experience a similar grief of failing to protect the mother and baby entrusted to their care.)
Even when there is a sense of relief after the procedure painful feelings can surface later in life:
- “The biggest impact abortion has had on me is that every time I look at my children I have now, I think about that little face I never saw and the child I have never known.” — Aimee
The common symptoms we see after in the aftermath of the procedure call attention to a repressed and forbidden grief, and a relationship that has been damaged by abortion.
- “I lost what I was trying to save with the abortion. I sacrificed my children on the altar of my ambition. Addictions came into my life as I tried to run from the pain. My misery drove me to my knees.” — David
Recovery from abortion loss requires an understanding that a relationship has been broken, and is in need of reconciliation and repair.
A Safe Path to Recovery
The heart of effective abortion healing programs like Rachel’s Vineyard, SaveOne, and Forgiven and Set Free is how they provide a safe path to emotional and spiritual recovery. These programs affirm, with love and compassion, what was lost. They restore in faith the broken relationship between parent and child. This often begins a process of healing other broken relationships that have flowed from that abortion shockwave.
The Feast of the Annunciation and the Baby Chris Project provide an ongoing opportunity for outreach in our Churches, prayer groups and with family and friends to focus on the heart of the abortion issue, and the heart of our Christian faith; the intimate spiritual, emotional and physical connection of a mother and her unborn child. They remind us of the need to protect the innocent preborn child, and to bring the mercy and healing of Jesus, Son of Mary, to all those wounded by abortion.
[Here’s a beautiful and comforting song by Alison Krauss for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one.]
[The Image of Mary and Jesus from “Vessel of the Preborn Jesus in Watercolor” by Lea Marie Ravotti]