Archive for May, 2019

Dancing With Denial: Abortion Rights Advocates Want You To Share Your Abortion Story

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

The following interview is fascinating and revealing on a number of levels.  The format of this exchange is unique; a woman who had an abortion interviews her partner, the father of the aborted baby.

 [Whatever your perspective on abortion, before going any further, read the exchange between this couple who remain together after the procedure.]

Now that you have read Natalie and Rob’s dialogue, let’s dig deeper into their story. 

Natalie shared:

I found out I was five weeks pregnant eight weeks into our relationship. When I told Rob, he told me he loved me. But he didn’t want to have a child, and terminating the pregnancy was a clear decision for him. It wasn’t clear for me, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel disappointed

Based on listening to the stories of thousands of women and men after abortion recovery, if Natalie’s heart was given the opportunity to more honestly share, she would say something like this;

“Rob loves me, but with limits.  He could not accept the gift, the fruit of our love, our developing child.  I am disappointed and heart-broken that I had to sacrifice our son or daughter because he was clearly not interested in supporting me in this pregnancy.  I sacrificed my child for him and for our relationship.” 

Denial as Empowerment

To preserve the relationship, to place a protective wall around the deeper emotional and spiritual wounds that are a natural part of “terminating” a pregnancy, the couple must look at the timing, practical reasons why abortion was the only sensible solution.  

Next Natalie shares why telling your story in the context of this denial is so important to the pro abortion movement – because your grief and loss are transformed into…empowerment

Natalie: I feel empowered and outspoken about abortion as an issue; experiencing it instilled an urgency in me. Rob has slowly started speaking about it, too. Most days I’m proud of us and hopeful for our future.

Natalie and Rob can bypass any feelings of grief, loss, and a natural sense of shame that arise from participating in the death of one’s unborn son or daughter, and channel that powerful emotional energy into promoting abortion rights.    

They mention the Georgia pro-life legislation and how this is such a threat to “abortion rights.” But the real threat is how such legislation crashes against the walls of their denial.

 If abortion was not an option for the couple, or they were delayed in access to the procedure because of abortion restrictions, they would likely have a living son or daughter blessing their lives.   

Despite this denial, it does not prevent the couple from going deeper, and getting closer to the truth, as you can see in this exchange:

Rob:   When I told you I was pregnant…I jumped to that solution without knowing fully that’s what I wanted. Part of me wishes I didn’t so we could have had a more open conversation. Was it always the decision in your mind?

Natalie: … Maybe more time would have changed that, but it was still early in our relationship and that was difficult to think about.

Rob: I feel like the decision wasn’t fully made until you walked inside the doors, and even then it wasn’t fully clear, it could have gone either way. But I don’t remember having second thoughts. But that might have changed if we waited a couple of weeks.

Natalie: Would you have been disappointed if I walked out and hadn’t gone through with it?
Rob: …Yeah. But we would have had more time to talk about it.

Natalie: Do you think we should have taken more time?
Rob: Yeah, maybe.

This exchange reveals how this couple must dance around their deeper feelings and regret so as to protect one another’s feelings.  Yet even as they shield each other from facing the full horror of acknowledging that they sacrificed the life of their baby, they are able to express that regret in the context of time.

If they had more time, they would have likely decided against abortion.  Natalie would be holding her little boy or girl in her arms, kissing and loving the child.  Rob, despite his initial tragic response to his partner’s pregnancy, comes across as a decent and caring young man.  He likely would have risen above his anxiety and embraced fatherhood with love and joy in his first child. 

Something I need to Talk About

What has happened that led Rob to share publicly about something that is usually kept a closely guarded secret?

Rob: I think just time passing, being able to look back, coming to terms with it. Given what’s happening right now it feels like it is something I need to talk about, especially with other men.

The reason Rob needs to talk about it and seek out others who understand this loss, is because he suffered an emotionally traumatic event.  He directly participated in the death of his unborn son or daughter.  It is natural that he needs to talk about it.  This is an important part of the recovery from such a loss.

But sadly, he is telling his story within the restrictions and boundaries that are necessary to promote abortion rights.  This will provide some relief of the painful feelings associated with that event, and let off a bit of steam. 

Yet, Rob shares, “I think about it every day.” 

Why does he think about “it” every day? 

Because, “it”, must be given a name.

 There is a tiny voice crying out to a father’s heart; a child that still lives in the Lord and desires their father and mother to find reconciliation and healing of this loss.  A son or daughter that hungers to be acknowledged, grieved and reconciled in love with their parents.    

Rob and Natalie have honestly shared their abortion story, yet within the confines of pro-abortion ideology.  Yet there is likely more to this story than they can share at this time.

 Has their emotional and sexual intimacy changed since that abortion event? Abortion loss takes place in the context of their shared love, and mutual giving of their bodies, hearts and souls in their sexual relationship.  It would be natural that feelings about this loss, about the child they rejected, would come to the surface at times of such intimacy.

Over time, they may find themselves working too much, drinking too much, and perhaps viewing pornography.  Anger may become an outlet for the deeper grief they share.

 Should they have a child, Natalie will find her abortion loss will once again surface.  She may experience anxiety during her pregnancy and possible post-partum depression.  Like other women after abortion, she may become a helicopter parent; an over-involved and anxious mother.

As the couple grow apart over time, they may be tempted in the future to look outside the relationship for intimacy, to be with someone that does not share this loss. 

But there is another way.

If Rob and Natalie ever read this article, this is my personal appeal to them or any couple that shares this loss:

“Rob and Natalie, I am so sorry for the loss of your son or daughter to abortion.  I know you tried your best to face this loss, and to find ways to help support one another through this difficult time.  You are both clearly decent people who would have been, and hopefully will be great parents. 

But I must encourage you to go deeper in your healing of the loss of your son or daughter.  This is a spiritual as well as an emotional wound.  You will see this more clearly when you attend an abortion recovery program together.

 Programs like Rachel’s Vineyard, of which I am a co-founder, allow you to explore this loss as a couple and open your heart and soul to a powerful experience of God’s forgiveness, healing and a peace that this world will never give you. 

Supporting abortion rights will offer you some sense of acceptance of your abortion, and an outlet for your pain.  But in the end it will keep you imprisoned by denial, and in time this denial will damage, and possibly destroy your relationship.

Most couples emerge from the healing experience blessed in so many ways, renewed and strengthened in their relationship, and as future parents. 

God bless you both. 

Kevin Burke, LSW

The Impact of Abortion on Military Personnel and Their Families

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
Jody Duffy, RN

Jody Duffy, RN is a former Army officer, military spouse of 35 years and the wife of a Major General.   In the following excerpt from my book Tears of the Fisherman Jody shares some important insights from her extensive personal and professional experience helping women and men recovering from abortion loss:

How widespread is the experience of unplanned pregnancy and abortion in the military?

The military has a higher pregnancy rate than any other any group in the U.S. Because abortions are procured at local clinics, there is no means to track abortion rates among those pregnant military members.   According to a few military doctors and OB nurses I have spoken to, a large number of female soldiers and dependents go to a military medical facility to validate the pregnancy and never come back. They procure an abortion at a local abortion facility.

How does abortion impact our military personnel?

Jody:   The pain and grief of abortion only adds more stress and conflict to their lives.  Whether it is the female soldier not wanting to sacrifice her military career or feeling pressured to fulfill her duty, or the male soldier feeling fatherhood may stand in the way of his mission, sacrificing our unborn children to abortion is an unfortunate and frequent reality of military life.  Abortion decisions often involve varying degrees of pressure and conflict.  This predisposes them to have more intense post abortion reactions and even trauma.

 Left untreated, how does this post abortion problem manifest in a soldier’s marriage and family life? 

Abortion provokes a major crisis in the lives of a married couple which is frequently followed by the instability of that relationship. Frequently, one or both of the couple have been involved in an abortion before they met their spouse. Many carry this baggage into the marriage causing even further problems in the relationship.

The family is the cornerstone of the church, our nation, and civilization.  Whether National Guard, Reserves, or active duty, our military families are the strength of our soldiers. When unresolved abortion grief leads to strife in our military families, it affects the strength of our soldiers, the strength of our military, and ultimately the strength of our nation.

Why is this important concern for our military and civilian political leaders?

 Jody:  Our military leaders should be very concerned about the effects abortion has on their soldiers.  It is tragic that soldiers may choose abortion to try and protect their mission. 

Soldiers who bring unresolved abortion grief and even trauma into their mission, are not able to function in the same way they did before the abortion, therefore compromising their capacity to serve safely and effectively.  Unresolved abortion grief can affect a soldier’s morale, performance and effectiveness which in turn may affect the unit’s cohesiveness and mission.

Is there an abortion connection to the high suicide rate among veterans?

Jody:   Eventually, soldiers become Veterans. This unresolved abortion grief follows them into their civilian lives. Suicide rates among young veterans are rising at an alarming rate. Unresolved abortion grief can be a factor in these suicides.

Abortion recovery programs such as Rachel’s Vineyard provide women and men an experience of a safe and very effective grieving process and emotional and spiritual support that are so essential for recovery.  It’s a foundation they can build on as they make the transition to post military life.

It is our duty to reach out and help serve those who have served our nation. Fortunately I have had very positive results at Veterans conferences and on Veterans Facebook groups to which I belong.  But we need to do more to get the word out and connect both our active military and our veterans with resources for abortion recovery.

[Jody served as an Atlanta Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Leader and as a Military Liaison for the Silent no More Awareness Campaign.  Jody is also the Military Outreach Coordinator for Post Abortion Treatment and Healing (PATH) ministry in Atlanta.  She continues to help our nation’s service women and men find the information and resources they need to recover from abortion loss.  You can reach Jody at jae.duffy@gmail.com.]

I Spent Four years of My Life Defending This Country…But I Couldn’t Prevent the Death of My Child

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

David:

I was in the Army and was called to complete my last year of service stationed in Germany.  We agreed that Susan would stay with her folks.  We would save our money, and she would begin looking at houses for when I returned.  That was the plan. 

Susan called me shortly after I began my duty overseas and shared that she was pregnant.  The first thing I told her was, “we’re not ready for this; I have to finish my service. We can’t do this with me away for the next year.” 

I convinced her that abortion was the right decision. The day of the abortion was the day I died.  I felt dead for 14 years. 

When I returned home I dealt with this wound…by not dealing with it.  I stuffed it down deep, and put all my energy into my work. I felt like my identity was taken from me and I never felt whole. I spent four years of my life defending this country, but couldn’t prevent the death of my child because of fear, inconvenience, and selfishness. 

I was successful in my business…I had a wife, a nice house, and a couple of beautiful children. But I never felt whole.  It was like something was missing. 

I worked all the time and was emotionally distant from my wife and kids.  I felt in many ways like an outsider; more like a hired caretaker without a deep bond with my family. 

When this painful realization would break through I would drink, look at porn on the internet, and try to get away from these feelings as quickly as possible.  But this denial was slowly eating away at my marriage and robbed me of the gifts that surrounded me-gifts that I was unable to fully embrace and celebrate. 

Susan and I separated several times and we both turned to people outside our relationship to help ease the loneliness and pain we secretly carried in our hearts…

Despite our struggles, we clung to our Christian faith, even as we fell short and sinned, and tried to make things work for the sake of the children.  We started to see a Christian counselor at our church.  For the first time, someone asked us if there was an abortion in our past.  Susan just broke down.  It was clear that this was the greatest wound in our marriage, and the source of our martial struggles. 

If we were to stay together and build a new foundation in this marriage, we had to face this loss, and all the dark feelings associated with it.  The counselor recommended a weekend retreat for post abortion healing called Rachel’s Vineyard.  We found their website and registered for the next retreat in our area.

We arrived at the retreat center very anxious of what was to come, but quietly excited and hopeful that maybe this would help in some way…if it didn’t I was sure our marriage was headed for divorce. 

The Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat is a healing process that uses various activities and exercises that are specially designed to heal the deeply buried grief and other pain that arises from an abortion loss. 

One of the first activities of the retreat on Friday evening is based on the bible story of “The Woman Caught in Adultery.”  These scripture stories are “reenacted” in a process called “Living Scripture.”  In these meditations you enter the scripture story and become a participant in that event.

After the exercise, as we shared our experience of the meditation, we touched on the issue of self-condemnation and were made aware of a pile of rocks of various sizes, shapes, colors and textures placed beneath a table at the center of the room.

 It turns out that many of us gathered on that retreat struggled with forgiving ourselves for our role in the death of our unborn children, and others struggled to forgive those who had pushed them to abort. 

The retreat facilitator invited those of us struggling with forgiveness issues to carry a rock as a reminder — a symbol of condemnation — of our inability to forgive. The rock represented (in a very concrete way!) our conflict.

At any point during the weekend, we could freely put it down. Until that time you were instructed to carry it with you at all times.   Through this simple exercise I became aware as the retreat progressed, of how the burden of self-condemnation was impacting my life in so many ways…

With each exercise and activity I began to trust that we were on a painful but rewarding journey that would bring the healing in our lives we so desperately longed for.  For the first time we were able to share the story of our abortion experience, and felt safe to share our hearts with each other and the group.  

On Saturday afternoon we participated in the Living Scripture exercise based on the story of Lazarus in the Gospel of John…

You are probably wondering how they reenacted this scripture account.  

The retreat participants are asked to name a part of themselves that has died because of sin.  The facilitator then takes a strip of gauze bandage, and gently wraps the area we identify. 

Some in our group wrapped their eyes because they lost sight of God.  One woman asked that her heart be wrapped as it was broken by abandonment of her father and later her boyfriend when she became pregnant.  Another man felt powerless to stop an abortion he did not want and asked that his hands be wrapped.

When the retreat team approached Susan my wife decided to have her left hand wrapped.  Susan said, “This is the hand that my wedding ring is on, and I want to see our marriage restored”.  

As the team approached me, I shared “You have to wrap my heart . . . it is just broken. It’s been broken ever since I got the call that the abortion was over and my child was gone.”

Each of us was then given the opportunity to profess our faith.  Through faith in Christ we believe that we can rise from the death caused by sin and be healed of our deepest wounds. After Susan made her statement of faith a team member went to un-wrap her bandage. 

 I received a gift of grace at that moment that led me to say, “No, no, please, let me do it — I think this is my place as her husband. I want a partnership to begin that we never have had. I want to be there for her, not so distant anymore.”

And so, I un-wrapped her hand; Susan, in turn, un-wrapped my heart and asked forgiveness for her bitterness toward me. We embraced for the longest time…

For the first time since we were dating, we held hands as we walked along the road together to the cafeteria for our evening meal…

[Excerpt from Tears of the Fisherman: Recovery for Men Wounded by Abortion, by Kevin Burke, LSW]                  

Game of Thrones – The Power of the Story in Recovery from Trauma

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

By Kevin Burke, LSW

“There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can defeat it…”  – Tyrion Lannister

[Major Spoiler Alert for Series Game of Thrones!]

Like the raging, grieving fire-breathing Drogon, Game of Throne’s (GOT) devotees are spewing some serious flames of anger at the writers and directors after the series finale. 

A million of those disgruntled fans so disliked the final episodes that they signed a petition to demand a remake of the final season!  (Here’s some background on the show if you are not familiar with the story.)

 Many fans have expressed that the last season seemed rushed at times and poorly written.  That’s probably a fair criticism, though it must have been challenging for the writers and directors to wrap up such a sprawling story and epic series in the final episodes. 

I wonder if the fan protest is also related to the ending of the series.  After all, it is a type of death, and grief can be expressed with the emotion of anger.  Maybe, like Drogon melting the Iron Throne after the murder of his queen, some of that hot anger is rooted in grief. 

War Weary

In the Game of Thrones finale, the leaders of the Seven Kingdoms are weary after years of war and an apocalyptic battle that unfolded in season eight against the Northern Ice King and the army of the dead.  They know too well the consequences of the continual violent struggles for power that have plagued the realm. 

Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf who has counseled a number of powerful leaders, has been imprisoned by the Dragon Queen Daenerys for the crime of treason.  Tyrion has been humbled by his many years of personal sin and failings as he negotiated the Machiavellian politics of the Seven Kingdoms.

 Tyrion has an opportunity to address a gathering of the surviving leadership of the Seven Kingdoms.   He suggests that rather than continued violent struggle for power, the leaders appoint a worthy leader to ascend the Iron Throne and bring peace to the realm.  Tyrion suggests the disabled “Bran the Broken” [1] who evolved during the series into the mystical “Three-eyed Raven.”

Tyrion proclaims to the assembled leaders:

“I’ve had nothing to do but think these past few weeks [in prison.] About our bloody history, about the mistakes we’ve made. What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories.

 There’s nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken?

The boy who fell from a high tower and lived. He knew he’d never walk again, so he learned to fly. He crossed beyond the Wall, a crippled boy, and became the Three-Eyed Raven. He is our memory, the keeper of all our stories. The wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines. Our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?”

While Sansa Stark remains Queen of an independent Northern Kingdom, the others agree with Tyrion.  After years of violence and chaos they decide to appoint Bran the Three-Eyed Raven their King of the Six Kingdoms. 

GOT fans had some serious disagreement with Bran having the “best story.”  But Tyrion touches on something important.

 Story Telling in Trauma Recovery

The GOT series has been wildly popular.  As a counselor and social worker with those suffering traumatic grief and loss, I am interested when I see a story connect in a powerful way with so many people.  Part of the reason is of course the quality of the production; the writing, acting, sets, special effects (amazing dragons!) and engaging story lines. 

But I see other themes in this series, especially in the final episode that touches on a powerful and hidden national trauma that is often a closely guarded secret.

In episode seven, the Dragon Queen Daenerys unleashes the hell fire of her dragon on the innocent men, women and children of King’s Landing held hostage by their Queen Cersei Lannister.  Daenerys justifies this use of her power over the defenseless inhabitants of the city as a necessary sacrifice so she can realize her destiny as unifier of the Seven Kingdoms.

Jon Snow challenges his Queen’s failure to pause and listen to the voice of her people before she continues to burn down the old world to give birth to her utopian vision.  He decides that to preserve the fragile peace and to prevent further genocide, he must kill his beloved Queen. 

Like the poor peasants of Westeros and Essos caught in the battle between powerful Queens and Kings, with the legalization of abortion in 1973, the 60 million preborn boys and girls of our nation that died in their mother’s womb had no voice. 

No matter how it is rationalized and justified by abortion apologists, like the killing of the innocent of King’s Landing by the Dragon Queen, abortion is an exercise of violent raw power against the weak and defenseless.

The ascendancy of Bran the Broken, promoted by a man who was himself a dwarf, reveals that the stories of those who are weak and seeming powerless in the eyes of the world, can be instruments of healing and peace. 

The Healing Power of the Story

Women and men often make the decision to abort in a time of weakness and fear.  Women are often pressured by their partners, family and friends to see abortion as the only sensible solution to their pregnancy. 

When women and men come to a place of wanting to reconcile that abortion experience, an integral part of that recovery process involves “telling your story.” 

An abortion recovery program provides a safe emotional and spiritual place so participants can honestly share their stories.  An honest telling of their abortion story is the door they must pass through on the road to reconciliation and healing with God, and their aborted child/children. From this act of humility will flow the hope of repairing other relationships injured by the aftershocks of the abortion procedure.

The stories of those who have survived abortion, and the stories of women and men who later regret their abortions, hold the power to change the direction of a nation that has legalized the destruction of preborn children in the womb. 

Read their storiesWatch their videos.  Share them.    

 “There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can defeat it…”    – Tyrion Lannister

[Please note if you are going to view the series:   Game of Thrones has some morally offensive scenes featuring the exploitation of young women in brothels and other settings.  Many episodes have depictions of graphic violence.]


[1] As a boy, Bran witnessed an incestuous liaison between Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister in his family’s tower.   Trying to protect their secret, Jaime tried to murder the boy by pushing him off the tower.  Bran survived, but was disabled from the fall. ority51 \lsdl