Theresa Burke of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries has written an article on How to Listen to Someone Who is Hurting from Abortion, which has been posted at the Silent No More Awareness Campaign website.
As we reach out to those who have suffered the loss of a child through abortion, it is important to understand the paradoxical tendency:And:
1. They want to bury abortion-related feelings
2. They have a desperate hunger to find an outlet for the pain, to find reconciliation, understanding, peace and healing.
This creates a real dilemma for friends and family who want to talk to someone about their abortion experience. The issue is so painful, there is a marked sensitivity to the subject. Many women and men "don’t want to go there." Sometimes parents, boyfriends, husbands, counselors and friends are usually part of the decision to abort, often encouraging or even forcing the abortion. They too will be reluctant to reach out to the suffering individual because of their own unresolved feelings. They will minimize their pain, tell them "it’s time to move on" and "you made the right decision."
We need to comprehend the magnitude of desperate circumstances that have fostered her profound and shattering desolation. These emotions do not go away after an abortion. They continue to intensify and swell, choking off her connection to herself, God and to others.The article includes a list of specific points to keep in mind to help those who have not had an abortion understand what a post-abortive woman may be experiencing. One of those points is:
Abortion recovery programs can help most people who are suffering, but many people who are hurting never get the help they need. When this unique grief is not treated it can get worse, last longer, and prevent the individual from living a life of joy and hope. The wound in her heart may be actively festering with further despair as her life spirals out of control.
Understand the Fear: Many fear that if they open the door to their abortion experience and face their deepest feelings that it would be overwhelming and even disabling.Very true. The most common fear expressed to me by people prior to participating in an abortion recovery program is that the person will feel worse afterward--as Theresa says, "overwhelmed" and "disabled". I think people can accept the possibility that a program might do nothing for them--on the principle of "nothing ventured, nothing gained"--but the possibility that they'll rip a carefully-constructed scar off an intolerable wound and be left to hemorrhage raw emotions is pretty scary.