DAY 36: Healing After Abortion

After getting an abortion women sometimes report feeling a sense of relief.  But as that momentary surge of relief fades, they can’t escape feeling somehow they have been permanently changed.

In the weeks, months, and years to come, women experience a complex and diverse array of symptoms known as “Post-Abortion Syndrome.”  These include emotional numbness, depression, nightmares, overwhelming guilt, alcohol & drug abuse, anxiety attacks, inability to form or maintain relationships, difficulty bonding with later children, low self-esteem, anger, hopelessness, and many other indicators of deep emotional trauma.

This pain can be buried and suppressed for a long time, but sooner or later it has to be dealt with to experience healing.  The road to recovery can be difficult, but three helpful milestones along the way are:

1. Grieving the loss

Acknowledging what was lost is the key to grieving… and then allowing yourself to feel the pain.  If you have ever had an abortion, you need to go back and ask yourself questions like: “Was my child a boy or a girl?  How old would my child be now?  What they would have looked like?  I wonder what they would have done in life.”

Friends have told me that profound healing and freedom came when they held a memorial service for their unborn child.  It gave them an opportunity to name their child, take responsibility for what they did, and finally say “goodbye.”

2. Receiving forgiveness

After abortion, one of the hardest things to do may be forgiving yourself… or allowing yourself to be forgiven.  But that is where true freedom is found.  Freedom from guilt and freedom from shame are found at the cross, because only God can forgive sin.  And God provided redemption through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross.  When we put all our hope and trust in Jesus, we discover that there’s no sin too great for him, and we can be assured of his love for us:

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12)

3. Telling others

It takes tremendous courage to be open about the sin of our past, but that is actually a significant part of the healing process, because sin loves to hide in the dark.  As long as we keep secrets, those secrets have power over us.  But the moment we bring them into the light, the darkness is destroyed (1 John 1:5-7).

Telling others how God has forgiven us is also part of our testimony and our ministry to others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

So let’s stop hiding this sin in the church and acting like it’s something too shameful to talk about.  We need a generation of courageous men and women who have been delivered from sin to stand up and tell their story.

Suggested things to pray for:
  • Pray for women to be healed from the pain and shame of abortion. 
  • Pray that they seek out the help and counseling they need. 
  • And pray that their testimonies can become a powerful witness to others about the reality of abortion… and the reality of God’s grace.