Aching to Unburden, But Wondering How?By Annie Banno
3/13/03      (with updates)
Many have written me saying they want to go public with their stories of abortion, but don’t know how to do so without their little ones finding out. This is truly a painful dilemma for the thousands of women who contacted Silent No More about wanting to attend the January press conferences around the U.S. but being unable to risk this kind of publicity:
(photo courtesy of the "St.Blogustine" blog)
You don't have to do like my fellow sign-holders in public. Not at all. Joining Silent No More is actually a good idea even if you don't ever want to hold signs or speak in public.
A good first way to unburden is to write your story and allow it to be added to the many others that are now available on the Internet. Silent No More's testimonies page lists the stories of 1,430 folks as of January 2012 who've done just that-- and their stories are searchable by no less than 24 categories.
Groups like Operation Outcry have posted several testimonies from among their state leaders, including that of my very dear friend Theresa Bonopartis.
After reading what others have written, writing your thoughts and feelings down can help give you some peace and relief from the strain of holding your secret inside.
Then, on this page, not only can you can do so silently and anonymously, you could also check the top of the page for a link to the flag of your own country (one of 8 shown), to find an SNM campaign in your area, for if and when you might ever feel you are ready for holding a sign at a silent rally. The U.K., Spain, Uganda, Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, Canada, and of course, U.S. flags are listed.
And this is just one list of "e-mail buddies"--some women and even two men you can e-mail privately with just to talk anonymously.
Several others of these websites also have real people as chat/e-mail counselors who will “converse” with you online or on the phone. If you have no one to talk to, these great people have been where we are, and will listen to your story and keep it in total privacy.
Message boards about how abortion has affected you are available too, like this one and others at this link we've just updated.
A huge number of healing services are held yearly that are designed to provide women beginning to face their abortion with a safe, private place to gather with others and experience the grace and mercy of God, however you might experience that God. Also, memorial services seem to be regularly scheduled every year providing women--and yes, even men--an opportunity to grieve for their aborted babies.
You can attend all these events without young (or ANY age) children knowing the purpose. When my son was still in diapers, he grew used to my attending multi-day business conferences. From the time he was three, I went on women’s retreats while he stayed with his dad. He only knew that Mom was going to a nearby “place to pray” with other women. And besides, he and his dad had an “all-boys weekend!”
I also would strongly encourage you to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat or a post-abortive support group. Our sidebar has links to many of them under RESOURCES FOR HEALING. RV’s site lists over 100 retreats in North America and overseas.
[NOTE: As of January 2012, that site lists over 1,000 retreats worldwide, a growth of 1,000% in 9 years, rather than a slowing down and dropping off of the number of women and men being helped. The countries include Argentina, Australia, Cameroon (Africa), Canada, Columbia, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United States, Uruguay.]You can read a few pages of some women's stories of their RV retreat experiences here.
All such services are in strictest confidence. Always have been, too.
Some post-abortive women become pregnancy counselors at pro-life help centers, perhaps even some without ever sharing their secret with those volunteering alongside them. U.S. Pregnancy Care Centers lists most of the 4,800 life-affirming agencies (3,400 in the USA and 1,400 outside the USA--just check the links at the very top of the blog) and can help you locate one in your area. Even if you don't have time or ability to counsel women, they are always grateful for volunteers (for example, to run the kids' crafts/games area at fundraisers and walkathons). You will make a difference. Several women who work at these centers are post-abortive, and you will feel so accepted and loved that it will help in your healing.
Knowing you are not alone is good, but talking to someone who has “Been There, Done That” or even just or writing it out anonymously can be helpful and important. So call or e-mail someone. It is possible to share your story in strictest confidence and begin healing.