an After abortion

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CALL 1-888-510-BABY or click on the picture on the left, if you gave birth or are about to and can't care for your baby, to give your baby to a worker at a nearby hospital (some states also include police stations or fire stations), NO QUESTIONS ASKED. YOU WON'T GET IN ANY TROUBLE or even have to tell your name; Safehaven people will help the baby be adopted and cared for.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Merciful Mysteries?

I've been thinking about mercy a lot lately.

How it's been granted, in spades to me, already.

And to many, hundreds of thousands of others, perhaps more, too.

So it's ironic that the same day I started drafting this post, our friend Theresa at Lumina posted this about mercy. A great image.

Recently, I've started saying a daily Rosary in the car on the way to work, for protection from some rather evil-acting elements in life, doing their level best to cause me havoc just because I did something exactly as I was instructed to do it, nothing more, nothing less.

But in saying this Rosary, especially lately, it got me thinking. It might be thought blasphemous of me, but I've been wondering, why have there never been "Merciful Mysteries"?

Bear with me: this isn't a religious exercise at conversion, and it isn't about using it as a tool for the pro-choice side to trot out their old retort (to which this group has a great reply).

It's merely a preface for anyone who's intelligent and thoughtful, who may want to honestly learn something actually historical, like to understand how it came about as a response to historical events or why people even bother with a Rosary. Also, this preface will lead just to some simple thinking about so many instances of great, unfailing mercy which preceded us on this earth.

I'd learned not too long ago that a Rosary isn't just mind-numbing, empty-headed repetition which seems stupid. In fact, the Rosary came about so that the "little people", the less fortunate, the illiterate, could be included and cared for by having a prayer-set akin to what the monks and the literati had. Kind of like the "giving them an iPhone-of-that-time":

It’s commonly said that St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans), instituted the rosary. Not so. Certain parts of the rosary predated Dominic; others arose only after his death.

Centuries before Dominic, monks had begun to recite all 150 psalms on a regular basis. As time went on, it was felt that the lay brothers, known as the conversi, should have some form of prayer of their own. They were distinct from the choir monks, and a chief distinction was that they were illiterate. Since they couldn’t read the psalms, they couldn’t recite them with the monks. They needed an easily remembered prayer.

The prayer first chosen was the Our Father, and, depending on circumstances, it was said either fifty or a hundred times. These conversi used rosaries to keep count, and the rosaries were known then as Paternosters ("Our Fathers").

In England there arose a craftsmen’s guild of some importance, the members of which made these rosaries. In London you can find a street, named Paternoster Row, which preserves the memory of the area where these craftsmen worked.

The rosaries that originally were used to count Our Fathers came to be used, during the twelfth century, to count Hail Marys—or, more properly, the first half of what we now call the Hail Mary. (The second half was added some time later.)

"The final portion of the petition of the 'Hail Mary' was not added until the terrible years of the 14th century as the plague known as 'the Black Death' ravaged Europe. It was then that the common people of the Church cried out to the Blessed Mother in fear and hope, adding the petition 'Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.'"
It's also important to note that "...the rosary is not a prayer of words, but of meditation. When a Catholic completes praying an entire rosary of 20 mysteries, he or she has meditated upon the entire gospel; the incarnation, birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection, and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. No method of prayer is more beneficial than this."

But maybe not exactly the entire gospel of the life of Jesus?

I have been thinking about this for over a year, and in truth, don't know how to boil it down to only five mysteries.

I can think of at least eleven Merciful Mysteries:

  1. Jesus shows his mercy, curing the daughter of the Canaanite woman who begs that "even the dogs eat the scraps from the master's table."
  2. Jesus calls Levi the tax collector to be one of his Apostles, later called Matthew.
  3. Jesus calls down Zacchaeus the tax collector from the tree, says he's eating at his house that night.
  4. Jesus shows his mercy to the woman caught in adultery, saving her from being stoned to death.
  5. Jesus shows his mercy, forgiving the sins of the paralyzed man let down on his mat from the roof, then curing him.
  6. Jesus shows his mercy, raising Lazarus from the dead.
  7. Jesus shows his mercy to the widow at Nain, raising her only son from the dead during his funeral procession.
  8. Jesus shows his mercy to the respectful thief dying on the cross next to him.
  9. Jesus shows his mercy and asks his Father's forgiveness for all his crucifiers, saying "They know not what they do."
  10. Jesus shows his mercy, descending into "hell" after his death to redeem those redeemable by his cross and resurrection.
  11. After his resurrection, Jesus shows his mercy by giving Peter the three occasions to reaffirm his love for Jesus, thus atoning for his three denials of Jesus.
There are probably others that could be included: every single one of his healings that are documented in the bible, perhaps. But these stand out, to me.

For those of us who regret our abortions, it is all but impossible for the others in our lives to accurately estimate the depth of the despair and grief we feel but try to hide.

For what I've done, I have felt that I should be as truly hated and despised as tax collectors were in Jesus' time.

What I did really was no better, and actually worse, than the adulterers of Jesus' time, who were stoned to death, not forgiven.

I have felt that I should be as utterly destitute as widows were then, when their only sons died, because they would be stripped of any property or rights they ever had and be forced to be homeless and beg in the streets or turn to prostitution, if they could survive that.

And these feelings didn't come from being Catholic or even religious. They just were, natural, there. Buried for twenty years, but there all the same.

I guess they came from, deep down, knowing the fundamental truth we all have grown up with, that, as Bill Cosby once said (in his comedy routine "Baby" from the album "Why Is There Air? Volume III, circa 1965-66): "It's human in there!"

Yet because this one, other Man existed, long ago, and because of Who he was and is and always will be, I can not only get up each morning and keep putting one foot in front of the other, I can forgive myself and thrive again on this earth.

Remarkable, I know, but blunt truth.

It's commonly accepted that at some point in his adult life, Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to him. He even predicted it to his disciples, not once but twice.

I've got to say that if it were me, knowing all that, I'd really not be feeling much mercy towards my persecutors. As in, none whatsoever. I have a hard enough time when someone tailgates me on the highway at 60 mph!

So this Extreme Mercy is something I 1) cannot understand, 2) cannot imitate (but will try), 3) cannot explain, and 4) can only ask for and then receive.

That's it.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Abortion and the DSM ... From 2004 to 2014

We first wrote about the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, back in 2004, as reprinted here by Abortion Recovery International, specifically how the DSM had actually, for seven years, included abortion as a life event which could lead to PTSD, and then, bowing to politically-correct pressure, removed it from the DSM without a shred of scientific research to justify doing so.

It's long but well worth reading. It is important to know how seriously the psychiatric world took abortion as a trauma to women, based on its own accumulated, clinical counseling and research experience, once upon a time.

It's ironic that now, a decade later, psychiatrists themselves are revolting against the DSM:

Psychiatrists split on whether to ditch DSM
Tuesday 19 August 2014 3:40PM

Led by the powerful US National Institute of Mental Health, practitioners across the world are in open revolt, demanding that the practice be brought into the modern world and be anchored not in conjecture but in contemporary science.

‘There are many practitioners, including psychiatrists, who wonder about the sanity and the soundness of the enterprise in general,’ says Dr Gary Greenberg, a practicing psychotherapist and trenchant critic.

The essential problem with traditional psychiatric practice, according to its detractors, is its over reliance on ‘symptom-based’ diagnosis. That is, the diagnosis of psychiatric conditions based almost exclusively on clinical observations.

Under the current system, a standard consultation goes something like this: the psychiatrist talks with a patient about his or her problems and then uses the substance of that verbal exchange to identify the underlying cause of the patient’s mental illness.

Then, in order to prescribe treatment, the symptoms exhibited by the patient are matched to a set of pre-determined psychiatric labels, for example depression or ADHD—attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—and medication is dispensed accordingly.

Those labels—or ‘disorders’, as they’re known—are listed in a book called the DSM, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, and is often referred to as the ‘psychiatrist’s Bible’. Though it’s an American publication, it heavily influences the practice of psychiatry and affiliated mental health professions around the world.

However, critics charge that treating people according to their mental health symptoms makes as much sense as a physician prescribing the same medication to everyone with chest pain, regardless of whether that pain is the result of heartburn, a simple muscle spasm or the beginnings of a massive myocardial infarction.

In other words, it makes no sense at all.

...Dr Greenberg argues that a failure to anchor psychiatric disorders [or we could add: the mysterious removal of same] in evidence-based research has led to the manipulation of diagnoses over time in order to suit funding priorities, the demands of the big pharmaceutical companies and social fashion.

Funding priorities? Like perhaps abortion provider Planned Parenthood's $540 million a year from the federal government in taxpayer dollars?

Social fashion? Like that of the pressure from PPFA, N.O.W., NARAL, and almost every newspaper, magazine and news outlet on both coasts?

I suppose we could ask, "What took the shrinks so long?" But that would be ungracious of us.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Detroit area nurses deliver help to new mothers"

Some good news, for a change. A story in The Detroit News from last month.

The Detroit Wayne County Nurse-Family Partnership can be reached by calling Direct: 303.327.4240 , OR Toll-free: 866.864.5226.

"After serious complications with her pregnancy, Murray gave birth to Christian on April 21. He weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces, and suffers from health problems. But she and her baby receive two to four visits a month — and unlimited phone conversations — with a registered nurse. The visits, research shows, could prolong both of their lives.

"A 20-year study published in JAMA Pediatrics in July found that the Nurse-Family Partnership, which provides low-income first-time moms with regular home visits from nurses with bachelor’s degrees, reduces preventable deaths for mothers and their infants."

But the picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it?

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Friday, September 19, 2014

New Reposting of My Columns at CatholicExchange.com

I've just discovered a new (?) reposting of my old columns, the still-relevant ones, today, at CatholicExchange.com. I am flattered. They'd been in archival pages for awhile. I'll have to let them know of a couple of changes, though: the email addy they post is now defunct. Best email for me/us now is the one at the right in our sidebar. And I'm no longer Connecticut State Leader of Operation Outcry: Silent No More Awareness, though the two organizations still thrive, albeit separately again. They still do good work: the first one being more a legal/activism group, the second one being more focused on just helping women (and men) who regret their abortions--or involvement in one--feel not so alone. On that latter site you can read about Julie Holcomb, the woman who was forced by Steven Tyler of Aerosmith to have a saline abortion years ago.

If you'd like an "I REGRET MY ABORTION" sign of your own, you can contact SilentNoMoreAwareness.org or you could even email me, Annie, and I'll send you one.

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A Follow-Up Study on Mental Health of Women After Abortion vs. After Miscarriage

"The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study", by Anne Nordal Broen, Torbjørn Moum, Anne Sejersted Bødtker and Øivind Ekeberg, published in BioMedCentral BMC Medicine, 2005, 3:18 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-3-18.

This is apparently a follow-up study to the one we posted on 9/17/14, by several of the same researchers.

Abstract:
Background

Miscarriage and induced abortion are life events that can potentially cause mental distress. The objective of this study was to determine whether there are differences in the patterns of normalization of mental health scores after these two pregnancy termination events.

Methods: Forty women who experienced miscarriages and 80 women who underwent abortions at the main hospital of Buskerud County in Norway were interviewed. All subjects completed the following questionnaires 10 days (T1), six months (T2), two years (T3) and five years (T4) after the pregnancy termination: Impact of Event Scale (IES), Quality of Life, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and another addressing their feelings about the pregnancy termination. Differential changes in mean scores were determined by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and inter-group differences were assessed by ordinary least squares methods.

Results: Women who had experienced a miscarriage had more mental distress at 10 days and six months after the pregnancy termination than women who had undergone an abortion. However, women who had had a miscarriage exhibited significantly quicker improvement on IES scores for avoidance, grief, loss, guilt and anger throughout the observation period. Women who experienced induced abortion had significantly greater IES scores for avoidance and for the feelings of guilt, shame and relief than the miscarriage group at two and five years after the pregnancy termination (IES avoidance means: 3.2 vs 9.3 at T3, respectively, p < 0.001; 1.5 vs 8.3 at T4, respectively, p < 0.001). Compared with the general population, women who had undergone induced abortion had significantly higher Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) anxiety scores at all four interviews (p < 0.01 to p < 0.001), while women who had had a miscarriage had significantly higher anxiety scores only at T1 (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: The course of psychological responses to miscarriage and abortion differed during the five-year period after the event. Women who had undergone an abortion exhibited higher scores during the follow-up period for some outcomes. The difference in the courses of responses may partly result from the different characteristics of the two pregnancy termination events.

...
Background: ...A recent review of post-1990 research articles [13] concluded that anxiety symptoms are the most common adverse response, and that our understanding of abortion as a potential trauma has increased. Recent studies have explored the traumatic aspects of abortion. One study reported that 1% of participants suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) two years after the event [12], and another reported that 10% of women were traumatized (according to a high Impact of Events Scale [IES] score) six months after the induced abortion [14]. In a previous study [15] in which the subjects were the same as those evaluated in this study, we found that 18.1% of women were classed as "cases" (> 19 points on one or both of the IES subscales) two years after an induced abortion.

...Regarding the nature and direction of possible selection bias, a former study has shown that those who do not participate in studies such as this have more problems than those who do participate [38].

...Another limitation arises from the selection of the participants. As described in the Methods section, there was an overrepresentation of women who coped well with the termination among those who completed the study. This was particularly evident for women who had had an induced abortion. Therefore, the results at T2, T3 and T4 may have been biased towards overly favorable mental health outcomes.

...The elevated scores for guilt, shame and IES avoidance for women who had had an induced abortion may require more attention. Several recent studies have focused on the relationship between guilt, shame and PTSD [33-35]. One article states that "the affects of shame and guilt in particular can be very disabling, in so far as they ... affect the experience of the self and social behaviour, contribute to later psychopathology, effect help-seeking, and impede emotional processing of the event." [36]. In our previous article [15], we found that feelings of guilt and shame 10 days after a pregnancy termination predicted high IES avoidance scores two years later (a statistical interaction effect showed that this tendency was even more important for women who had had an induced abortion). It is possible that feelings of guilt and shame associated with the induced abortion contribute to a slower improvement in mental health.

(All those [##] footnotes in the above excerpts have links to the research cited, at that site. It's a long but mostly-easily understood article on the research. If you're a statistician, those parts will make more sense to you, but if you aren't, it won't detract from the readability of it.)

So the short of it is, no, you're not crazy to feel guilt, shame, or try to stuff down those feelings after an abortion, or to feel like you have PTSD. It happens to more of us than Planned Parenthood's own personal research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, wants any of us to believe. But we do know better.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

A 2012 Summary of Research Studies of "Traumatic Aftereffects of Abortion"

Another well-researched summary of research, done by Sarah Terzo at ClinicQuotes.com, who we posted about yesterday.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Update on The National Day Of Remembrance

Day of Remembrance Helps Post-Abortive Women Find Healing

Women who have had abortions were among the speakers at numerous services held nationwide. For some of these women, the National Day of Remembrance was the first time they had ever spoken publicly about their experiences.

At a memorial service held at St. Peter’s Church in Henderson, Nevada, a woman attending the service asked for the opportunity to speak, and she proceeded to give her personal testimony about an abortion she had in Spain 58 years ago and of the pain and sorrow she has carried with her all these years until just recently when she went on a retreat with the post-abortion ministry Rachel’s Vineyard.

On Saturday, September 13, thousands of pro-lifers gathered at 132 locations throughout the United States for the second annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. Among these sites were 41 graves where the remains of aborted children are buried.

Over 28,000 aborted babies have been given a proper burial at these sites, but they represent only a fraction of the more than 56 million children aborted since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decision.

Read the rest of the article, especially about the woman who learned of the event only two days before, and went, knowing she'd be the only one there, and it was pouring rain. And look at the photos. I went last year, but couldn't this year. It does help.

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"Suicide prevention tips from a survivor"

By Sarah Terzo, this article first appeared on Secular Pro-Life Perspectives, a wonderful blog we've just discovered. "Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com" [warning: that last website is very good too, but has some graphic descriptions and even some photograhs, that will be too tough for some to take depending on the degree of one's recovery process. We'll add it to the blogroll but not on this blog, over on the sister blog, AbortionPundit, as it has some good information from the side of abortion providers.

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Psychological Impact on Women of Miscarriage Versus Induced Abortion: A 2-Year Follow-up Study

Conclusion: The short-term emotional reactions to miscarriage appear to be larger and more powerful than those to induced abortion. In the long term, however, women who had induced abortion reported significantly more avoidance of thoughts and feelings related to the event than women who had a miscarriage.
From the published study, "Psychological Impact on Women of Miscarriage Versus Induced Abortion: A 2-Year Follow-up Study", Broen, Anne Nordal MD; Moum, Torbjörn PhD; Bödtker, Anne Sejersted MD; Ekeberg, Öivind MD, PhD., in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: March/April 2004 - Volume 66 - Issue 2 - pp 265-271.
Abstract

Objective: To compare the psychological trauma reactions of women who had either a miscarriage or an induced abortion, in the 2 years after the event. Further, to identify important predictors of Impact of Event Scale (IES) scores.

Method: A consecutive sample of women who experienced miscarriage (N = 40) or induced abortion (N = 80) were interviewed 3 times: 10 days (T1), 6 months (T2), and 2 years (T3) after the event.

Results: At T1, 47.5% of the women who had a miscarriage were cases (IES score 19 points on 1 or both of the IES subscales), compared with 30% for women who had an induced abortion (p = .60). The corresponding values at T3 were 2.6% and 18.1%, respectively (p = .019). At all measurement time points, the group who had induced abortion scored higher on IES avoidance. Women who had a miscarriage were more likely to experience feelings of loss and grief, whereas women who had induced abortion were more likely to experience feelings of relief, guilt, and shame. At T3, IES intrusion was predicted by feelings of loss and grief at T1, whereas avoidance at T3 was predicted by guilt and shame at T1.

Eighty women in the study had had induced abortions, and at the two-year afterward point, most just avoided feeling or thinking about their feelings, and this was predicted by more feelings of guilt and shame in the 10 days immediately following the abortions.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

83 posts away from 3,000 published posts. Egads.

Is that even a lot anymore? Facebook wasn't around when this blog started in 2003, or it was still only for college and highschoolers only, or something. I'm so ancient (or at least I feel that way sometimes)...and this blog will be 12 years old this coming February...

How many of our boyfriends threatened to leave if we didn't have our abortions? I'll never know if my old bf would have done that, I was too terrified he would, to wait to find out. I just almost didn't think twice and had the abortion. But I doubt he would've stayed if I'd said I wanted to keep the baby. I ended up later marrying him, having another baby, and he honestly couldn't be bothered even then with being much of a dad or a husband and I ended up getting divorced when our son was just 2. (sigh) But it all worked out for the best, two-decades-plus later. And I honestly wouldn't go back and change a thing now, because of the great son I have, now a grown man.

This gal's bf left her outright, but she had more sense and gumption than I certainly did.

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