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Closures can begin when grief-work has been fairly well completed. There will certainly be times in your future when other feelings of anger will flash back. There will be times when other abortion connectors may surface. These can be expected, but they will lessen in frequency, lessen in duration, and be lesser in intensity. You are coming through some real dark times… things won’t be this dark again, not if you are working this through fully and completely.
Closures are important. There have been no closures in your abortion experience. There are many loose ends as you well know! You need closure in the following areas:
Inside every one of us is a mental picture of God based on the following:
Even though you may intellectually understand that you can be forgiven, you may have trouble believing it with your heart….really believing it! To come to a place of closure with God regarding your abortion experience, you will need to see your painful past in the light of a deeper reality of God’s love for you that includes not only forgiveness, but also restoration and the wholeness for which you are longing. Do you understand the Gospel message of salvation and forgiveness? The Good News of the Gospel is not too good to be true….it IS the Truth! “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Distorted concepts of God may have clouded your thinking. Begin to develop a personal relationship with God. Read a daily devotional. Read the Bible daily. Go on a God-hunt—look for God at work in your life each day. Begin to pray. Watch for His answers. If you are not already a part of a church, begin to attend one. Attend Sunday School as well as the church services, so you can ask questions and become more familiar with the truth of God’s Word, the Bible.
Write a letter to God expressing your grief and your need of forgiveness. Ask for His mercy. Ask Him into your heart so that you might know Him in a personal way and reap the fruit of His salvation.
One of the hardest things you will face in post-abortion grieving is to forgive yourself. The reason for this is that you tend to “measure” the severity of your sin with the amount of forgiveness that you think you should be able to receive. When a sin you commit is a small one (i.e. a “little white lie”), you usually don’t have any trouble believing that God can and does forgive. These sins are usually repairable, so you feel hopeful that God forgives you completely, and you no longer carry these sins upon your shoulders. But, if the sin you take part in is a big one, and can’t be undone (abortion) it is much harder to let yourself off the hook. That is why you are holding unforgiveness toward yourself. When you continue to hold unforgiveness toward yourself, your behavior will show it. Here’s what can happen.
No one can merit God’s forgiveness, or self-forgiveness–it is not something you can earn. It was earned for you by Jesus death on the Cross. Think about it this way. If I had a measuring cup in my hand, just how much do you think you would have to do to fill it with good works and clean living before you would be able to say ‘the cup is filled, now I can forgive myself for my abortion?’ You have been trying to fill this measuring cup for quite some time and haven’t filled it yet, have you?
Self-forgiveness begins with coming to a personal heart-filled knowledge of God and of His forgiveness of you!It’s really all one step all taken care of at the Cross, two thousand years ago. Once you have accepted God’s forgiveness, there is no second step of trying somehow to forgive yourself because it just can’t be done by anything YOU do. Once you are forgiven by God, you need to replace your unforgiveness toward yourself with the truth of God’s Word again. Nowhere does God see you as useless, a failure, unlovable, or undeserving of His love. Once you have repented and are trusting in the shed blood of His Son, God sees you as clean, forgiven, and restored in Him. Once you realize this, then it is time to walk in His mercy and grace as a child of God. He is not withholding anything from you…He loves you. The person God has planned for you to be is now emerging. Let go of unforgiveness toward yourself because that only cancels the work of the Cross!
Over the weeks that you have been working through your grief, you no doubt recognized that you have very strong maternal feelings for your aborted baby. These feelings were shut down and denied before the abortion and have since surfaced. What you are experiencing is “a mother’s love (father’s love) with no place to go!” Society told you that abortion was nothing and that you’d be fine. But you know now, that isn’t true.
In order for closure to be complete, you will first need to say “hello” to your baby before you will be able to say “good-bye.” You may have tried in the past to say good-bye, or to “give your baby to the Lord,” only to keep hanging on or only to discover you are still having dreams about your baby and you haven’t known what to do. An emptiness still remains along with a heavy sadness that hangs in your heart.
Let’s go back to the time when you first found out you were pregnant with that baby. Get your notebook out again and answer these questions:
This is a part of the bonding that was taking place even when abortion plans were in the making or immediately afterward. It is unusual not to bond. Your mind, your inner person was trying to bond with this new life, even while you were shutting down and not allowing the feelings to surface. Women, in particular, have to shut down feelings and emotions in order to abort. The first step in saying “hello” is to recognize and acknowledge the child that was within you. Let this recognition be a bond for you now. This is very important.
One post-abortive friend said to me, “I have to make my baby real. No one will allow me to make my baby real. They keep telling me to get over it. But I can’t. I have to admit to myself that my baby had worth, and was real. If my baby’s life meant nothing, then my life means nothing …I have no worth either, and nothing makes any sense!” She is exactly right! Every human being has worth and it is healing to acknowledge the worth of your baby, even now.
Do you have any sense that your baby was a girl or a boy? Many women do…they just know! Others have dreams in which they see a baby or small child and can tell in the dream if it is a boy or girl–and they have a sense that this is the sex of their baby.
If you feel that you know the sex of your child, then your next step is to give the baby a name. If you don’t know the sex of your child, then give the baby a name that could be for either a boy or girl, such as Robin, Chris, etc. By giving your baby a name, you are saying “hello.” But more than that, by giving your baby a name, you are giving him/her the dignity of human worth.
Now that your baby has a name, it is time to write a letter to him/her. Yes, really! Think about all the things you would like to say to this child. How much you regret your abortion, etc. This letter is not only “for your baby”; it is for you to help you sort through all the grief you have been carrying and to say those things to your baby that you wish you could say. Write what is on your heart to say. If you are having trouble getting started, these are some things you might want to include in this letter:
Make up a baby remembrance folder. Decorate it however you would like. In this folder might go the following:
Please understand, these activities are not to “pay a debt” for your abortion as you may have done in the past. These are healthy ways to say good-bye as one would do at the death of any other family member. And by giving of yourself, it is a way to begin to set a new course for your life that is unselfish in nature, allowing your values of integrity to again rise to the surface.
Are you struggling with forgiveness issues toward others? This is understandable as your hurt has been a deep one. Forgiveness toward others is a part of closure. I think that sometimes we have trouble forgiving, because we really don’t understand what forgiveness is, and what it isn’t. So let’s look at some things about forgiveness first, and what it involves.
In this case where reconciliation is not possible, it may help tp journal an anger letter expressing your feelings in writing. Please do not send this letter. Writing out what you feel is one way of releasing the hurt you carry. As you begin to write, you may be surprised at what all flows out of your heart; some find they are angry with many people, including themselves! If you are able, you may want to add a few sentences about any willingness to forgive this person. Remember, forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. It allows God to heal bitterness, shame, and much more.
The woman or man who has had an abortion may come across situations, events, sights, sounds, or other connectors, that consciously or subconsciously remind them of their abortion(s). Some examples of abortion connectors might be the sound of a vacuum cleaner, sights and sounds within any medical clinic, the inability to attend baby showers, pregnancy due dates or other 'anniversay reactions' connected to your abortion.
These connectors with their resulting flashbacks may bring on a swift emotional response such as anger, anxiety, tension, or a feeling of wanting to flee from the area or the situation. These connectors may also induce physical reactions such as abdominal cramping, headaches, tightness in chest or stomach, feeling "weak in the knees", etc.
You may have recognized some of your own connectors since your abortion;Whenever you find yourself displaying strong emotion, or physically reacting to a situation, sight, or sound, take note that this may be another abortion connector for you.
The more you recognize the abortion connectors in your lifeand learn how to respond differently if possible, the sooner the abortion connector will lose it’s influence and power over your life.
You may want to list the connectors you’ve recognized, and decide what you can do differently when these bothersome situations arise.
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