As a society we are not very good at caring for the bereaved. We have a mindset that excludes death from our daily thinking. When it comes to the death of the baby in the womb (a miscarriage) we understand that there will be a time of grieving, but usually, this is a private affair. When a friend has an abortion that grief is often mixed with other emotions including relief, guilt, anger or even despair. Do not underestimate the time and care your friend will need. Also, seek help for yourself if you need it.
How can I help my friend?
“We took her out and she had a great evening, she was off her head and forgot all about it, she just enjoyed herself.”
Tracy from Brighton
Abortion is the end of a pre-born child's life; a traumatic experience for most women. Anyone who has been through a traumatic experience will not be helped by the use of alcohol or drugs. In fact this can be harmful as it can only prolong the recovery time. There is a real need to talk out her feelings with someone who will listen and not offer their opinions. It's equally difficult to be told “you did the right thing” as it is to be told “I think you did the wrong thing”. Give your friend the time and safety to really explore what she thinks and feels. Remember, you might be her friend but you will also need a friend. Ask Jesus to be yours and He will guide you and give you wisdom.
Oh God I feel so sad for my friend. It could have been any of us. We didn't realise what a traumatic experience it would be, we thought it would be an easy way out of difficulty. I really want to be a good friend. I want to help her to make good choices and recover. Please show me how to help her. Jesus said he would comfort those who mourn and I think she is mourning for her baby. I really want to comfort her but I feel so inadequate. Help me to be real with her. Help me, let me find the real You.
I’m too embarrassed to open the subject
“We both sat through the talk about abortion, but afterwards she did not say anything about it so I was afraid to as well. But I know it's affected her; she's changed so much and I think she's depressed”
Saskia from Leeds
It is always a difficult thing to broach the subject of death, and the issue of abortion makes it doubly so. Our culture does not encourage us to speak of these things. Yet those who have lost a child often say that they really need to talk about it, and it is equally true after abortion. The only way is to be honest. Ask her how she is managing, how she is feeling. Listen, give her space. Let her cry, do not try to make things better for her. Meet again, ask what has been helpful. Ask her what she needs.
Help me Jesus, this seems such a hard thing to do. I feel afraid, but I want to help my poor friend. I will let go of my self-consciousness and think of her. I am asking for an opportunity, for wisdom, for love. Make me a channel of your peace. Lord God, help me speak of her little one who has died. I can see she is in pain, and I want to protect myself from being too involved. I am so sorry for my selfishness; I will open my heart to her and give her the freedom to mourn. I will join her in her grief. I'm trusting You to give me the strength I need.
I encouraged her to abort
When my friend was pregnant, she confided in me and I really encouraged her to do the sensible thing and abort the baby. It would have ruined her life. When she was weak, said she did not want to go through with it, I was the one who kept her strong. There were times when I argued with her, shouted at her. I loved her and I was not going to stand by and let her throw away everything for just one silly mistake. I went with her to the clinic. I supported her. Now she is in such a strange state. Sometimes she seems to hate herself. I can see in her eyes that she is thinking about the abortion. She is thinking about that baby. Would it still be alive if I had not been involved with her? I tried to be a good friend. Now I need to open the conversation and ask her to tell me how she is feeling. To ask her to forgive me for pressuring her.
Oh God, how can I bear this! I tried so hard to be a good friend and do the right thing, to be strong for her. I didn't allow myself to think about the baby or I would have been unable to help her. Now it is like the baby is the only thing she is thinking about. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong but now I feel so guilty. Where can I find peace? Can I be forgiven?