In the process of telling your story and exploring your emotions, you may have already identified losses that resulted from the abortion. These losses may include—
Loss of child, grandchild, brother or sister, niece or nephew - Lost opportunity to parent or grandparent - Lost or weakened relationship with parents, family members, or friends - Spiritual loss—feeling far away from or angry toward God - Loss of relationship with your partner - Loss of self-esteem or having a low opinion of yourself - Loss of dreams, goals, or vision for your life. More...
The loss(es) you’ve experienced or are experiencing as a result of the abortion are real. Identifying and acknowledging these losses is an important step toward healing. Minimizing or denying them will not only impede the healing process, but it may also lead to unhealthy behaviors.
Although this is a difficult step, you may feel a certain amount of relief when you’re able to put a name to the loss(es) you’ve experienced. It’s also a comfort to know you are not alone.
Please use the space below to identify your losses. To aid you in this process, you may wish to refer back to your story or any activities you’ve completed while exploring your emotions.
Identifying and acknowledging your loss(es) is important. Deciding to accept and resolve them is even more important. The decision to accept and resolve the loss(es) you identified above is a decision to grieve them. More...
And the decision to grieve your losses is a decision to feel pain.
Our culture minimizes grief by either denying it or promoting quick and efficient ways to deal with it. However, neither of these strategies work because grief is real and grieving is a process. Masking the reality of grief and the pain that is felt doesn’t benefit those who are suffering from loss.
Your losses are real. Your grief is real. Your pain is real. Your ability to move through the grieving process and experience healing is also real.
Grieving rarely moves through a series of steps in a linear fashion. Grief tends to intensify and diminish in cycles over a period of time. People work through their grieving processes differently—some more quickly then others. The intensity of feeling also varies from person to person.
People who have the support of family and friends are often able to move through this process of dealing with the reality of grief and loss. However, family and friends aren’t always willing or able to lend support to someone experiencing grief after an abortion. There are also times when people get stuck somewhere in the grief cycle and find themselves unable to complete the process. This is when the aid of a trained counselor or support group is recommended.
As you move through the grieving process, it will be helpful for you to gather support from others, to be patient with yourself, to give yourself time and space to work through the process, to understand that each person’s journey is unique, and to know that the pain will diminish over time.
Journaling either online or off-line will be beneficial. You may wish to write a symbolic letter to those who were involved in your abortion loss(es), expressing your anger, sadness, disappointment, or betrayal. You may also wish to write a letter seeking their forgiveness.
Writing a Letter
You may feel anger, sadness, guilt, or any number of emotions toward those you identified as losses.
If you felt pressured into the abortion, then you may harbor resentment toward those involved or at God for failing to rescue you. More...
If you suggested the abortion or felt as though you didn’t do enough to encourage a different pregnancy outcome, you may feel guilt. If a pregnancy was hidden from you until after the abortion, you may feel anger or helplessness.
Your emotions may be directed outward at other people or at God, or your emotions may be directed inward at yourself or even toward the child whose life was lost.
You may desire forgiveness or you may want to blame or to strike out at someone. This is all a normal part of moving through the grieving process.
Writing a letter that expresses your feelings to the individuals involved, reading (see Reading Note) the letter to yourself, and then destroying the letter can be helpful. These letters are not meant for sending, saving, or posting.
Note: If you’re dealing with anger, disappointment, guilt, or shame in your relationship to God, or if you’re seeking forgiveness from God, you will benefit from seeking spiritual counsel.
Destroying the Letter
Now that you’ve written your letter, you may wish to read (see Reading Note) it to yourself before destroying the letter.
The act of destroying the letter symbolizes your willingness to let go of the anger, guilt, or other harmful emotions.
It also symbolizes your willingness to forgive and to accept forgiveness.
As the letter disintegrates, imagine letting go of your harmful emotions toward others, yourself, or God. The act of destroying the letter isn’t nearly as important as the decision you’re making to let go of the negative and invite the positive into your life. While the emotions may return, your decision to move on will remain, allowing you to continue moving forward toward healing.
Reading Note: If a trained peer counselor, professional therapist, or spiritual counselor is part of your support system, then you may choose to read the letter(s) to them or have them read it to you. You may also wish to destroy the letter in this person’s presence.
This site is not a professional counseling site, nor is it meant to take the place of professional counseling. Sometimes an abortion experience can create intense emotions that you may not feel equipped to deal with on your own. Please use the Find Help locator to access national and local support resources. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) if you're thinking about or planning to hurt yourself.
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