The grief of abortion can travel through generations. One of the saddest cases I can recall in my counseling career, was an aborted baby’s grandmother. Her name was Dottie. She was such a sweet lady. I know she would have been a “picture book” grandmother had she been given the chance.
Dottie found out about the abortion ten years after it happened. Sometime back her son stored some items at her house. Later, in an innocent attempt to clean the garage, Dottie found the paper trial of the abortion that had occurred a decade earlier.
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It was then that a heartbroken Dottie called me to help her deal with the emotions she was feeling. I was surprised to see that the Dottie was going through some of the same emotions post-abortive parents experience as a result of their abortion choice. The aftermath of her son’s abortion decision affected her life also.
I was amazed at the responsibility Dottie felt for the choice her son and his girlfriend
made ten years earlier. She had a tremendous amount of guilt. She wondered what she could have done to stop it. She wondered why they didn’t think they could come to her with their problem. Did they not consider her a strong support system?
Dottie was also dealing with bouts of depression. Realizing she had lost a family member, yet with no external evidence the baby ever existed, she felt ambiguous about grieving the loss. The grief turned inward into a deep cloud of depression.
Lastly, Dottie could not help but feel anger towards her son. She felt betrayed that he did not consider her as someone he could come to in times of trouble.
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Guilt, depression and anger were intertwined in Dottie’s emotions. I encouraged Dottie to grieve the loss of that grandchild as she would any other. Working through the different emotions, Dottie was finally able to write a letter to her lost Grandchild as part of the grieving process. This seemed to bring her the comfort and peace she was looking for.
Dottie’s letter was a poignant outpouring of emotion that I will always remember as a sad lament and remembrance of something that wasn't meant to be for her family.