Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion

Dancing With Denial: Abortion Rights Advocates Want You To Share Your Abortion Story

by Kevin Burke, LSW

The following interview is fascinating and revealing on a number of levels.  The format of this exchange is unique; a woman who had an abortion interviews her partner, the father of the aborted baby.

 [Whatever your perspective on abortion, before going any further, read the exchange between this couple who remain together after the procedure.]

Now that you have read Natalie and Rob’s dialogue, let’s dig deeper into their story. 

Natalie shared:

I found out I was five weeks pregnant eight weeks into our relationship. When I told Rob, he told me he loved me. But he didn’t want to have a child, and terminating the pregnancy was a clear decision for him. It wasn’t clear for me, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel disappointed

Based on listening to the stories of thousands of women and men after abortion recovery, if Natalie’s heart was given the opportunity to more honestly share, she would say something like this;

“Rob loves me, but with limits.  He could not accept the gift, the fruit of our love, our developing child.  I am disappointed and heart-broken that I had to sacrifice our son or daughter because he was clearly not interested in supporting me in this pregnancy.  I sacrificed my child for him and for our relationship.” 

Denial as Empowerment

To preserve the relationship, to place a protective wall around the deeper emotional and spiritual wounds that are a natural part of “terminating” a pregnancy, the couple must look at the timing, practical reasons why abortion was the only sensible solution.  

Next Natalie shares why telling your story in the context of this denial is so important to the pro abortion movement – because your grief and loss are transformed into…empowerment

Natalie: I feel empowered and outspoken about abortion as an issue; experiencing it instilled an urgency in me. Rob has slowly started speaking about it, too. Most days I’m proud of us and hopeful for our future.

Natalie and Rob can bypass any feelings of grief, loss, and a natural sense of shame that arise from participating in the death of one’s unborn son or daughter, and channel that powerful emotional energy into promoting abortion rights.    

The couple references the Alabama pro-life legislation and how this is a threat to "abortion rights." But the real threat is how such legislation crashes against the walls of their denial.

If abortion was not an option for the couple, or they were delayed in access to the procedure because of abortion restrictions, they would likely have a living son or daughter blessing their lives.   

Despite this denial, it does not prevent the couple from going deeper, and getting closer to the truth, as you can see in this exchange:

Natalie:   When I told you I was pregnant…I jumped to that solution without knowing fully that’s what I wanted. Part of me wishes I didn’t so we could have had a more open conversation. Was it always the decision in your mind?

Rob: I feel like the decision wasn’t fully made until you walked inside the doors, and even then it wasn’t fully clear, it could have gone either way. But I don’t remember having second thoughts. But that might have changed if we waited a couple of weeks.

Natalie: Would you have been disappointed if I walked out and hadn’t gone through with it?

Rob: …Yeah. But we would have had more time to talk about it.

Natalie: Do you think we should have taken more time?

Rob: Yeah, maybe.

This exchange reveals how this couple must dance around their deeper feelings and regret so as to protect one another’s feelings.  Yet even as they shield each other from facing the full horror of acknowledging that they sacrificed the life of their baby, they are able to express that regret in the context of time.

If they had more time, they would have likely decided against abortion.  Natalie would be holding her little boy or girl in her arms, kissing and loving the child.  Rob, despite his initial tragic response to his partner’s pregnancy, comes across as a decent and caring young man.  He likely would have risen above his anxiety and embraced fatherhood with love and joy in his first child. 

Something I need to Talk About

What has happened that led Rob to share publicly about something that is usually kept a closely guarded secret?

Rob: I think just time passing, being able to look back, coming to terms with it. Given what’s happening right now it feels like it is something I need to talk about, especially with other men.

The reason Rob needs to talk about it and seek out others who understand this loss, is because he suffered an emotionally traumatic event.  He directly participated in the death of his unborn son or daughter.  It is natural that he needs to talk about it.  This is an important part of the recovery from such a loss.

But sadly, he is telling his story within the restrictions and boundaries that are necessary to promote abortion rights.  This will provide some relief of the painful feelings associated with that event, and let off a bit of steam. 

Yet, Rob shares, “I think about it every day.” 

Why does he think about “it” every day? 

Because, “it”, must be given a name.

 There is a tiny voice crying out to a father’s heart; a child that still lives in the Lord and desires their father and mother to find reconciliation and healing of this loss.  A son or daughter that hungers to be acknowledged, grieved and reconciled in love with their parents.    

Rob and Natalie have honestly shared their abortion story, yet within the confines of pro-abortion ideology.  Yet there is likely more to this story than they can share at this time.

 Has their emotional and sexual intimacy changed since that abortion event? Abortion loss takes place in the context of their shared love, and mutual giving of their bodies, hearts and souls in their sexual relationship.  It would be natural that feelings about this loss, about the child they rejected, would come to the surface at times of such intimacy.

Over time, they may find themselves working too much, drinking too much, and perhaps viewing pornography.  Anger may become an outlet for the deeper grief they share.

 Should they have a child, Natalie will find her abortion loss will once again surface.  She may experience anxiety during her pregnancy and possible post-partum depression.  Like other women after abortion, she may become a helicopter parent; an over-involved and anxious mother.

As the couple grow apart over time, they may be tempted in the future to look outside the relationship for intimacy, to be with someone that does not share this loss. 

But there is another way.

If Rob and Natalie ever read this article, this is my personal appeal to them or any couple that shares this loss:

“Rob and Natalie, I am so sorry for the loss of your son or daughter to abortion.  I know you tried your best to face this loss, and to find ways to help support one another through this difficult time.  You are both clearly decent people who would have been, and hopefully will be great parents. 

But I must encourage you to go deeper in your healing of the loss of your son or daughter.  This is a spiritual as well as an emotional wound.  You will see this more clearly when you attend an abortion recovery program together.

 Programs like Rachel’s Vineyard, of which I am a co-founder, allow you to explore this loss as a couple and open your heart and soul to a powerful experience of God’s forgiveness, healing and a peace that this world will never give you. 

Supporting abortion rights will offer you some sense of acceptance of your abortion, and an outlet for your pain.  But in the end it will keep you imprisoned by denial, and in time this denial will damage, and possibly destroy your relationship.

Most couples emerge from the healing experience blessed in so many ways, renewed and strengthened in their relationship, and as future parents. 

God bless you both. 

Kevin Burke, LSW