Women keep their abortion secrets tucked away in the back of their minds and hearts.
Ask any parent what their worst imaginable fear would be and they would probably
answer, “to lose one of my children to death.” Now, imagine losing a child to death and
never crying about it. Worse yet, imagine choosing to not have that child because of
tough circumstances you are in at the time. This is the situation for over 50 million
parents in our nation who’ve chose abortion as a solution to an unplanned pregnancy.
The idea of grief over an abortion choice is a foreign concept in our culture. The legality
of abortion implies that the choice in and of itself is the closure. This is actually not the
case for many women. According to some studies, yes, the relief does come, but as time moves along the impact of the choice can hit. The emotional fallout can be delayed.
When it comes our culture provides no venue for processing the grief over losing a
pregnancy because of choice decisions. As a professional therapist, I am seeing time frames for allowing the grief to come to the surface is something like 17-25 years after the fact. Watching subsequent children grow up, graduate, get married and/or have children of their own are often reminders of the choice so long ago. These events can become triggers that start a grieving process.
Facing grief that hasn’t been acknowledged for decades can be a challenge. Pretending
and pushing back the feelings can become an overwhelming project. It is definitely
easier to stay in denial as a place of protection. Eventually, the walls can come down
though when the pain becomes too great to ignore.
For this reason, it is important for a woman needing to grieve her choice decision to have a safe, validating atmosphere. Well meaning persons can often make the process worse by assuring them the right choice was made for them at the time. The choice is validated, but not the grief. This is what happened to me. I became very frustrated that there was NO safe place to cry about my loss. If this is the case for you also, I would encourage you to find that safe place and cry your eyeballs out. Sharing your secret will help you to heal.