If you are seeking to come to terms with the conflicting feelings that the knowledge of the abortion history in your family has caused in your heart:
Know that the aim of this section is to bring you to a place of acceptance and peace. Although there are some searching questions which might be helpful for you to ask members of the family, the main reassurance is that you can comfort yourself because we have a great God who will bring blessings on you and all your family as you forgive. You can trust in Him.
When a mother has an abortion, her other children are also affected. Many children are told that it is the woman's right and a good thing to do, but it is virtually impossible to protect young children from the conflicting emotions which the abortion of a sibling causes. The love of parents, the role they have as setting the moral code in the family conflicts with the fear at the power over life and death which the mother clearly holds.
Many parents can cause harm to their children in the way that they tell (or with-hold) the information about the abortion of a sibling. Many mothers seek understanding and sympathy from their children – both sons and daughters, and do not consider their living children's needs. Children often struggle with fears (could something like that happen to me) and survivor guilt.
Abortions are often secret and you may not have known that there was another baby until years later. Your response may have been 'oh, that makes sense of so much that I didn’t understand!' Your mother's parenting, the disconnection alternating with over-protectiveness, the distance between your parents, the anger, the atmosphere of despair in the family, the emotional neglect; all these are part of the response to the trauma that your mother went through from her abortion.
It might be very difficult for you to get past your natural loyalty and sympathy – to see what has happened objectively, to consider the failure of one or both of your parents to protect their child. This can cause confusion in your heart and mind which can continue into adulthood. Talking this through with a trusted person - perhaps another family member, can be so helpful.
“Parents who have experienced abortion often keep it a secret and fear telling others, especially their children. But many parents have found sharing the truth draws the family closer and heals wounds, and can spare the next generation from repeating painful choices.” Silent no more Awareness.
Questions ask yourself/your parents/a trusted family member:
- How old was mum when she had the abortion?
- Who was the father/did he agree – insist – try and protect mum and the baby?
- What was going on in their life?
- Did anyone support her - go with her – know about it?
- Was she pressured to abort the baby?
- Why couldn’t that baby live?
- How much older/younger am I than my sibling?
As the secrecy is broken and the truth is shared this will make sense of the disturbing behaviour and increase the trust that telling the truth brings. Your sister/brother has been ‘stolen’ from your family, a real child that should be mourned. It is often helpful to ask others in your family (grandparents, aunts, and uncles) who might be prepared to help you understand better if your mum finds your questions too hard.
How to open the conversation with mum or dad or other family members
Now that I’m older I’d really like to understand more about what happened. I’ve got lots of questions buzzing around. Would you let me chat with you?
Heavenly Father, you know the stress and confusion in my family, how it has affected me. I need You to help me understand and process my feelings. To think that we have been living with the secret of a little brother or sister all these years, and the way it has affected mum and dad. Why did it take them so long to tell me? Lord Jesus, I need your loving heart to forgive my mum. I long to get through this and be a blessing to my family, but I can't help thinking about that little baby. It might have been me, and that scares me. I will put my hands in yours, and trust you to get me to a place of peace.