How to Help Others Heal After an Abortion

How to Help Others

DO’s DON’Ts
  • Do listen patiently. They are trying to sort out their feelings. Verbalizing them with someone who will listen helps. Expect and allow them to repeat themselves and to bring the subject up again later. Listen for clues to their deeper feelings to which you can respond later.
  • Don’t shut them off by changing the subject.
  • Do reassure them that we all make mistakes, and all religions teach that our mistakes/sins can be forgiven. God wants to forgive us. All we have to do is to admit that we need and desire it.
  • Don’t condemn them for making a bad or immoral choice
  • Do reassure them that their feelings are normal. Others have experienced the same thing and found healing. Build up a sense of hope that they can be healed and reconciled with God and their child in heaven.
  • Don’t deny that they lost a child.
  • Do allow them to vent their anger toward others. Remind them that it this a sign of an even deeper hurt that lies beneath the anger. Encourage them to get in touch with both the anger and the hurt, which they need to do before they can “let go” of their anger and approach forgiveness. Encourage them to see that the people they blame were also confused, scared, or just looking for the fastest way out of a hard situation.
  • Don’t encourage them to blame others for the abortion. But don’t push them to forgive others either, especially when they are in the initial stages of venting their anger and rage.
  • Do allow them to regret their choice. Remind them that we all learn from our mistakes. Women and men who have found healing after an abortion often become more humble, compassionate, and sensitive. Even a negative experience can be used to help others.
  • Don’t insist that they did the “right thing” or the “best thing” at the time.
  • Do encourage them to entrust their child completely to the care of God. Reassure them that, on a spiritual level, their loss is only temporary. Someday they can be with their child in heaven, and they will be able to ask for, and receive, their child’s forgiveness.
  • Don’t suggest that having another child “someday” can make up for the one that was lost. Future children are a blessing and comfort, but they can never replace the child who was lost.
  • Do give them a copy of this publication, an 800 number to a post-abortion hotline, or some other referral information. If you don’t have it on hand, promise to get it to them within the week. Then keep your promise.
  • Don’t leave them without encouraging them, over and over again, to find and accept the help of post-abortion counselors or peer support groups.
  • Do show that you care by keeping in touch and continuing to be a sounding board for them. Make at least one follow up call to see how they are doing.
  • Don’t be afraid to follow up.

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