Understanding Repeat Abortions: An Excerpt from Forbidden Grief

By Theresa Burke with David C. Reardon

Note: The following is an excerpt from the book Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion.

Christine had her first abortion at the age of 18. She was under treatment for mild depression, and her psychiatrist recommended abortion. Since this was before Roe, Christine was told that she would have to sign a paper that stated she would commit suicide if she did not have an abortion. Her mental health care workers orchestrated the entire event. In reality Christine knew she would not kill herself, but she felt that she had to follow her doctor’s orders.

She later married and became pregnant again at the age of 22. Her husband was eager and ready to being a family, but she felt anxiety and fear over becoming a parent. The message from her psychiatrist that colored her view of herself as a potential mother was that she was not mentally stable enough to have a child and that having a baby would provoke a mental breakdown and even suicidal behavior. The thought of having a baby simply terrified her. Because of her fears of inadequacy, she had another abortion and divorced shortly thereafter.

Christine’s third pregnancy also ended in a second-trimester abortion. This pattern continued three more times for a total of six abortions. Each time she had an intense desire to be a mother, but each time she could see no other recourse but abortion, reenacting the first trauma of helplessness to overcome her perceived inadequacy and incompetence.

She eventually had herself surgically sterilized to avoid a future abortion. But now her self-destructive impulses were channeled into several subsequent suicide attempts.

What a different life Christine could have had if her psychiatrist had reinforced her self-esteem and her confidence in her capacity to be a mother. Instead, her therapist imprinted a deadly message deep into her psyche: She was unstable and inadequate to be a mother.

As a therapist, I worked with Christine specifically to bring the meaning of her repeated abortions into her awareness. Soon she began to realize that she had dealt with the original abortion over and over in the same negative way. It caused not only the loss of six children, but also denied Christine an opportunity to give life, love her children, grow as a woman, and experience the joys of motherhood.

Once she became aware of the original conflict, Christine stated that her “whole life finally seemed to make sense.” She could finally understand why she had become trapped in such a self-destructive pattern. Although an awareness of these patterns was essential for her healing, it also gave rise to tremendous grief and anger at having lost so many years and so many children.

This process, though difficult and bitter, was an important ingredient in helping Christine stop degrading herself. Her episodes of depression subsided, she obtained her first job in 20 years, and she began to ask more for herself in relationships. Instead of viewing herself as an evil person, she saw that her actions had their source in the tremendously painful conflict of an abortion foisted upon her by people she trusted.

Christine’s story illustrates one of the many overlooked consequences of abortion. It is the unspoken but accepted message to a woman that she is inadequate. Instead of being offered support, encouragement, and trust in her ability to care for a child, a woman is often persuaded, pressured or coerced to accept a violent solution that invades her physical and psychological integrity. The result, at the very least, is a lack of self-confidence and a diminished sense of self-worth. When traumatized women lose all confidence in their ability to protect and care for others, they are prone to becoming entangled in a pattern of multiple abortions.

Reenacting Pregnancy and Abortion

Christine is not alone. Approximately half of all women who have an abortion have had one or more previous abortions. Women with a history of more than one abortion are likely to suffer more severe physical and psychological problems after abortion. Studies of women having repeat abortions show that they are more likely to live in less stable social situations, have nearly twice as many psychological problems, and have twice as much reliance on social support services.1They are also more likely to go through a divorce, to be involved in substance abuse, and to rely on public welfare.2

This problem of repeat abortions is not due to callousness or the careless use of birth control. Instead, it is far more likely that women who have multiple abortions are caught in a pattern of reenacting their traumatic abortions.

A central aspect of trauma is a sense of helplessness. Reenactment is a means by which individuals revisit their traumas, repeatedly returning to the same traumatic situation with the hope, in some level of their minds, that they will eventually confront, conquer, and triumph over the experience.

One way that women who are traumatized by their abortions may seek to reassert power over their lives, and simultaneously to “undo” their abortions, is through replacement pregnancies. Unfortunately, this is a very risky proposition. While some women do carry their subsequent replacement pregnancies to term, others quickly discover that the same problems (including pressure or coercion, which will be discussed further below) that led to their first abortion are still there. As a result, they are likely to have another abortion, which reinforces the trauma of the first abortion. While many forms of reenactment are symbolic, in these cases reenactment of a traumatic abortion can be quite literal, resulting in one, two, three . . . or even a dozen subsequent abortions.

Repeat Abortions as a Result of Coercion

I have heard hundreds of women share stories of how their abortions were very much shaped by pressure, coercion and even force from other people and from their circumstances. This kind of trauma can keep women imprisoned in destructive patterns of repeat pregnancies, abortion and even abuse. Lexie shares her story:

The first time I got pregnant, I was 19. I was living with a much older man, whom I believed was very much in love with me. Like many couples, we had financial problems, and according to him I was just crazy to even think of having a baby. He said: “Hey, you know you not having it, right? I don’t even need to say anything else. I want you to schedule an appointment ASAP.” After that he walked out of the door. He was totally determined that I would have an abortion.

He gave me no option to even think about it. I was absolutely on my own if I wanted to have the baby, and I had absolutely nothing, not even family around me to help me to think about what I was doing. All I could think of was, “I can’t be a single mother; I am not even married. What am I going to do? Where am I going to live? How am I going to work? I can’t leave the baby alone. I have nobody here to help me.” Every time I would try to discuss possibilities of having the baby he would just leave me talking by myself, sitting looking at the walls.

All I knew was he wanted it done, and done as soon as possible. I was almost 3 months, and every day, every single day, I remember how stressful it was for me to be pregnant. I got really sick every day and was throwing up every time of the day and I felt so depressed and alone on those days . . . like never before.

So the abortion schedule was set. My name was called, the nurse opened my legs, and she told me I was going to sleep in seconds. I didn’t even see the doctor’s face. I woke up bleeding, some infection medicine was given, the thing was done. I left that place in such emptiness. The whole thing was removed from me, including my soul.

I couldn’t forget that suction machine. I was thinking, “Where is my baby now? What are they going to be doing with his body? Where is my baby going to be put? Was it a boy or a girl?” I constantly dreamed about that suction machine. What did they do with my baby? Where is he now? How bad have I hurt him? What kind of person would he be if he had the chance to live?

All that was on my mind after the abortion. Every day got worse. I became self-destructive. I couldn’t care for myself at all. Anything that would hurt me, I would go for it, and sex became one of those things. I spent two years trying to tell myself everything was under control: “Come on, it’s only a blob of blood” right?”

I got pregnant again, by the same man. This time he totally abandoned me. He didn’t want the blame for telling me to kill the baby again because we had past terrible discussions blaming each other about the first baby. He totally ignored me again; for almost three months, every time I would think about keeping this baby, he would say something like, “You already know you are on your own! I didn’t ask you to get pregnant! You did it to yourself. I didn’t ask you for a baby! Plus you’re going to be a single mother! Is that what you want?”

I remember looking at baby clothes at the store and looking all those pregnant women with their husbands and kids. All I could feel was, “Here I am, a second time pregnant, 21, all alone, and I have no money.” I tried to think of leaving him and trying to make a living on my own. I asked for help at the school I was going to. All I heard was, “It is very hard, honey, you have no idea what you’re putting yourself into.” Nothing was done or said to help me; all I had was a selfish man, 20 years older than me, telling me I was on my own. He said, “I don’t even want to see your kid; I didn’t ask for babies. You got that?”

The second abortion was performed. I remember waking up in a room, and when I looked straight ahead an abortion was being performed on some girl right in front of the room I was in, and the curtain was open. I heard the noise of the suction machine, and I saw gloves with blood, and suddenly the nurse saw me staring at that thing and she shut the curtain quickly. The other woman woke up crying right by my side, saying, “Where is my baby? Where is my baby?” I looked at her and I started to cry myself. I could not talk for days.

At this point I had lost my own self a long time ago. All I could feel was hate for allowing this to happen to me. Eventually, of course, the rest of any relationship with my boyfriend went down the drain. He started to drink, do drugs; I started to yell, to hate everything about him and everything that would involve his presence as well.

We could not talk with each other for months, otherwise things would fly on the sky and the house would be broken in pieces. Having the police at our door was usual. Bloody noses, kicks and black eyes became our best friends. I had tried to get out of it all so many times, but I had no job, and when I would find one, I would lose it before three months had passed. I just couldn’t care about anything. Everything that would bring me pain I would take it.

The third pregnancy was by another man. Again, I was pregnant for three months and living with the same previous man. This time, at least I was positive this baby was not his, and that somewhat made me feel good. I would make him think it was his and I would hide it from him until he found out I was pregnant. I knew he would tell me to get rid of it. All I could do was have my baby for those three months. I thought, “At least you have three months to live, baby. You know you’re going to die . . . just enjoy your three months, okay?

I would talk to the baby and buy baby clothes. The first place I would go in a store was the baby section. I was going insane. But for at least three months I had my baby. No one could take that away from me.

Eventually he found out and I went for my third abortion . . . just like a pro. After all, look at my background: three abortions. It’s like, “Wow, isn’t it impressive?”

All I know is that since my third abortion, all I can feel and think of is nothing. They took away something special. I had conceived life. But again they had taken the only thing I had that was good and pure in my life. Do you know what I am saying? What’s there left for a person to feel? Tell me.

Lexie’s life spiraled out of control after the first abortion. The three months she had with her baby was a short-lived experience of motherhood until her pregnancy was discovered and destroyed. Clearly, her mental stability deteriorated quickly as the unrecognized trauma repeated itself, drilling the wound deeper into her psyche, and left her feeling helpless to exert any control over her life. Without intervention and healing, Lexie would undoubtedly have continued this very self-destructive pattern of traumatic reenactments.

Repeat Abortions as a Form of Self-Punishment

Many women really do experience their pregnancies and their unborn children as part of themselves. In some cases, abortion may be experienced as a form of self-punishment. The destruction of the woman’s developing child also in some way destroys an extension of the woman herself. She may feel she deserves the feelings of loss and grief that follow, or she may be punishing herself by denying herself the enjoyments of motherhood that she thinks she does not deserve. For some women, these tendencies can play an important role in repeat abortions.

For example, Melissa’s self-punishing behavior was acted out not only through repeat abortions but also through self-injury and risk-taking.

I’ve had seven abortions. Each time I felt numb and dissociated
. . . like a mental case zombie. Afterwards, I’d feel defeated and frustrated with myself. I have enormous self-disgust and hatred. I punish myself by cutting or banging my hands against a concrete wall until they are swollen and bruised purple. I like to hurt myself. There is a strange pleasure in it. Also, I take a lot of risks where I usually get hurt . . . kind of accident-prone, I guess.

When people are afraid to express disturbing feelings outwardly, they may vent these emotions through self-destructive acts. Among the post-aborted women I have seen who engage in self-injury, one commonality is that they have never received permission to grieve the loss of their child. Many self-mutilators brand their anger and pain indelibly into their skin, creating tattoos of scar tissue that mimic their confusion and vexation. Multiple abortions are another way to act out the pain.

How Many Is Too Many?

As mentioned earlier, nearly half of all women entering abortion businesses have had one or more previous abortions. Studies have shown that women who abort are highly likely to become pregnant again within one or two years. For example, one study of metropolitan teens who had abortions found that 27 percent were pregnant again within 12 months, and 75 percent were pregnant again within 24 months.3 In experimental trials with RU-486 abortions, 25 percent of women who had these chemical abortions were found to have become pregnant again within one year.4 When repeat pregnancies are the result of reenactment of trauma, it is quite likely that the subsequent pregnancy will end in another abortion.

The problem of repeat abortions is very disturbing to abortion clinic staff, who spend most of their time counseling women on how to avoid becoming pregnant again. While they believe women should be able to have abortions, many staffers are deeply and rightly disturbed by the pattern of repeat abortions they are seeing. But they are uncertain what, if anything, they can do about it.

At a National Abortion Federation (NAF) meeting, for example, one counselor described a woman who had three second-trimester abortions in a period of less than 18 months. Significantly, each time she would come in for the abortion at 21 weeks, reenacting the late date of her first abortion. An abortion counselor from Connecticut described a woman who came to their clinic for her 14th abortion, saying, “There was a feeling among some of the counselors that we should not continue to see this patient . . . . A feeling that we were in fact reinforcing this behavior.”5

That is exactly what they are doing: reinforcing abusive and self-destructive behavior. Unfortunately, since abortion businesses are committed to performing abortions on request, they have abdicated their responsibility to understand the reasons why women may undergo abortions and to offer help and alternatives (and even refuse to do the abortion) when these reasons are the result of coercion or are distorted, dysfunctional, or even part of a self-destructive cycle.

There is something quite troubling about “medical care” that doesn’t involve any questioning about the deeper things that may be going on within her or offering any better alternatives. In modern medical practice, patients expect a health care professional to treat the whole person. For example, a doctor seeing a patient with heart disease would not simply keep performing heart surgery on the patient but would recommend lifestyle changes and other alternative treatments to lessen the need for invasive medical procedures. But among abortion providers, a mindless submission to the mantra of “choice” has eviscerated any sense of obligation to ensure that the woman or girl is not being pressured or coerced the abortion will actually help rather than hurt her.

One of the counselors at the NAF discussion explained her ability to accept 14 abortions with the comment that perhaps the woman was making the decision “not to contracept,” asking, “Isn’t that valid?” Such an ideological commitment to “choice,” without reflection or review of what is really happening (including whether the woman is really “choosing” the abortion) and what will be its result, is a form of blindness.

Such counselors, both inside and outside our nation’s abortion clinics, have simply blinded themselves to the real needs of women and how abortion can destroy them. Until these counselors confront and overcome their own blindness, they will be unable to truly help women break free from this destructive cycle.

Excerpted from the book Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2007). Copyright 2002, 2007 Theresa Burke and David C. Reardon.

This entry was posted in ALL, Articles, Temp. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Understanding Repeat Abortions: An Excerpt from Forbidden Grief

  1. sotina says:

    Am 26yr a kenyan a mother of a 6yr son am 7weeks pregnant my husband is working bt am not working he wants me 2 abort bt i dont want 2 abort this wil b my 5th abortion i av tried 2 talk 2 him bt he has made his mind on aborting his scared of another mouth 2 feed my appointment is set for tomorrow am forced 2 go coz of finance can anybody help me b4 tomorrow pliz can anybody talk 2 him i want 2 kip my pregnancy pliz help

    • EI says:

      I wish we had some resources or contacts in Kenya to help you. But we don’t. I would suggest talking to a pastor, priest, or religious leader, elder, his parents, anyone who might intervene and help explain to him that forcing you to abort will do more harm than good. You can also tell the doctor you don’t want to have the abortion. Once the child is born, he will regret having pushed you to abort the child.

  2. pauline says:

    i am in a mess a gain after having an abortion am not finacal stable neither m parent i just joined campas help am planimg on havng an abortion

  3. Trish says:

    I’m 32 and 4weeks pregnant. I already have a 9yr old daughter whose father has nothing to do with her. I’m living with my father but was planning to move out in a few months. The guy was a someone I had just started dating and found out he was a total liar. I’ve already had 6 abortions, the first one almost killed me and I’ve also had a miscarriage that almost killed me. I want to keep my baby but don’t want to do it alone again. I know what it’s like to do it alone and it’s hard. I’m afraid I I have this abortion I may never have a chance again. I’ll be 33 in two weeks and feeling like time is running out. After my last abortion I went through severe depression because I wanted to keep the baby so badly. I had already started taking prenatal vitamins and had a sonogram then found out my boyfriend of almost 4 years was cheating on me. It was my third abortion for him. I’m so torn. I want my baby but I know I’ll be criticized for it by my friends and family. What do I do?

    • EI says:

      “I want my baby…” That answers most of what needs to be answered. You are looking for help and acceptance and support in loving and caring for your child, and you deserve all of these. Please look to the pregnancy help resource centers for both emotional and financial support. Because you have already been through traumatic abortions, I would also strongly recommend that you participate in a post-abortion healing program — at the very least because working through these past abortions will help you to be a better mother to your 9-year-old and a better mother to your unborn child.

      All you can do is your best. As you know, you’ve already had a miscarriage and there is a chance you could lose this child yet to miscarriage. But clearly you can and should try your best to avoid that and to give this child a chance . . . and yourself a chance. Trust that God has a plan for your future and will see you through all the troubles and obstacles that will come . . . each of which can help you to become a better mother and a more whole person.

      Don’t be afraid of the criticism. First, because it all goes away once they see your wonderful baby. Secondly, because in the face of any criticism you can and should tell them that you already had an abortion which almost killed you, and other abortions which left you emotionally devastated. Going through another abortion would be the biggest mistake you could make. Tell them that instead of repeating your mistake your going to repeat your joy, which came from giving birth to your 9-year-old daughter. Tell them your confident that this is the right thing to do and invite them to support you, and your children, instead of criticizing you. If they continue to be critical, look for love and support from the women at the pregnancy help center. That’s a big part of their ministry. To love and encourage you even when your family and “friends” are falling short in that regard.

      Don’t give up hope. Fix your heart and mind on the fact that your unborn child is every bit as real and yours as is your 9-year-old. Protect and love both, and don’t take the guff from anyone who criticizes either.

      You’re in our prayers.

  4. Alexandra says:

    I found this article pretty disturbing and one sided. Making all women who have had repeat abortions depressed and mentally unstable. I am a 21 year old university student, I am a single mother, I have had 2 abortions in the past year and yet again I am pregnant. I never thought I would be this girl. I am smarter than this, I have morals beyond this. Yet I need help. I need to have this 3rd abortion. That will make 3 abortions in 1 year for me. 3 abortions in my lifetime that I never thought or wanted. This is against my religious, moral, ethical, and spiritual beliefs. I can not believe I am pregnant this was NOT my choice and I tried to prevent it. But I can not be pregnant now, I can not have a child now.

    I would have no job, no home, no means of support for my daughter, and no future for my daughter or myself. My significant other promised to get a vasectomy the same time I am getting this last and final abortion to ensure that this does not happen again. I am not depressed I am not wanting to harm myself. I am very upset with myself and feel like a horrible person. But I need to do what is best for my child.

    Not everyone who has had multiple abortions requires mental health evaluations or isn’t fazed by it at all. Rather, we need support and knowledge that we are going to be okay. Ensurance and kind words for our lost and never forgotten children in another world better than this.

    • EI says:

      Dear Alexandra,

      I understand your distress. You’ve trusted that birth control measures would prevent pregnancy, but now you’re pregnant a third time! And I understand how even the thought of giving birth to this baby is chilling — totally overturning your life plans and raising countless concerns about how you feel unprepared to be the good mother you would want to be. I also understand the feelings of shame that you are going through this same cycle again and again.

      But the only honest advice I can give you is to break they cycle. Don’t do it again. Trust that there is something real and good in your “religious, moral, ethical and spiritual beliefs” which is not only guiding you to know what is right, but also is guiding you to reap the rewards of doing what is right. It will be hard. It will require adjustments, but having your child will be the most rewarding decision of your life. I promise, you won’t regret it. But an abortion, on top of two others, you will regret.

      Sure, it may make sense from a life planning perspective. But on an emotional and spiritual level, it is like cutting off another limb. Sure, you may be able to cope with it — at least for a time — but you are lying to yourself if you think it won’t have long lasting negative effects on your life. There are so many indications in your note, and even the fact that you wrote it, that you already know that your veneer of coping with the other two abortions is already cracking. You are already on a down hill slide, and having this baby is one of they few things that can help pull you out of it.

      I know you’re concerned about the financial issues having an unplanned child will raise, and about finishing school. But remember there are many resources available to help. Both public and private resources. Please talk to a pregnancy help center to at least get a more realistic assessment about what resources are available to help you. Don’t let your exaggerated fears drive you into a decision that you will regret.

      You wrote that we should be offering support and encouragement of the idea that having multiple abortions is okay. I understand that sometimes hearing a kind lie is easier than hearing the truth. But especially in this case, the lie causes more harm and the truth is more likely to set you free.

      I’m sure you will receive lots of reassuring and kind words at the abortion clinic. But they will be lies. Kind lies. Intended to help you through the day. But, as you already know as you right about your already “lost and never forgotten children,” lies that pretend you have not lost children but only fetal tissue. They will be lies that ignore all the additional problems which will arise if your partner has a vasectomy that ends up being irreversible and a huge heartache to him–and perhaps you, too–in the future if either or both of you are unable to have children in the future.

      Remember, the abortion clinic counselor operates under the principle of just helping you to get through the day with the least stress possible. She will reassure you. She will agree with how sensible you are being. But she won’t and can’t promise that you will be happy with this decision 25 years from now, or even 10 years, 5 years, or 1 year from now. In her mind, “honoring” your choice means leaving it up to you to reap both the good and the bad of this decision without her interference.

      We’re different. We want you to learn from what thousands of women have directly told us who have been in your shoes. It is easier to adjust and cope with an unplanned baby being born into your life than to adjust and cope with the loss of, as you put it yourself, “never forgotten children” who simply ask one thing of their parents: acceptance.

      In some small way, you wrote because you were disturbed that you did not receive the reassurance and soothing of your conscience that you hoped for. Indeed, the whole reason you searched and found this article is because on some level you were already worried and already knew this was a bad idea, but were hoping to find some reassurance that it wasn’t a bad idea. So the kind thing, and the true thing, is to tell you that your fear and premonition that having a third abortion was not a good thing is right on. Please don’t do this. I’m saying this for your own good. Not for your child’s. But for you. Call a pregnancy help center. Make an appointment. Look into what resources may be available to help you finish school even while you are pregnant, even after you give birth to it. Start thinking about how the challenge and strength you will develop in doing the right thing, rather than just the easy thing, will reward your life.

      Be not afraid. Life is good. Accepting this gift of new life into your life is the best thing you can do not only for your child, but for yourself.

      You are in my prayers.

  5. Tracy says:

    I pray, Alexandra, that you choose life for the baby with whom you are now pregnant. Please remember that even if you are unable to provide care for this baby, there are SO many couples that are hoping and praying for a baby and would gladly adopt yours as their own. God be with you.

  6. Monique says:

    I had two abortions, one in 2011 the other in 2012, all around the exact same time. The first one I wanted, no question, because of financial situations and my situation period. The guy I was pregnant by wasn’t my boyfriend we were just having sex..he was supportive of my decision which ever it was. I didn’t feel much and didn’t regret much, I thought about it from time to time but I was never regretful, until I got pregnant again.

    The second time, I was in a relationship for about six months when I found out. I was excited this time around, I thought he would be excited too. His reaction at first was distant, then he told me not to abort it, which excited me more. Days later, he must have spoke to his family and friends and had a change of heart. Reminded me of the situation we were in and how afraid he was to become a father which sort of frightened me. I didn’t want to end up like many women I know. Being a single parent didn’t scare me but the thought of how it would affect the child.

    I’ve seen how being without a parent can affect a kid and I don’t want my child to go through what I did. I want my child to have a clear childhood and not grow up too fast or see/know things before it is time. I look at my sister and how my niece is raised, she is a very smart girl, but since it is just her and my sister she has been watching herself since she was pretty much four, because lack of baby sitting. Idk.

    Back to the second abortion. I was discouraged after hearing him be so negative when before he was so positive. I began to agree with what he was saying. I told my mom about it and I knew she wanted it as well but she wouldn’t say those exact words. I didn’t want this abortion at all but I felt it was logical. So I went through with it. Afterwards I felt numb and back to normal and depressed again as I began to feel regret for the first one. A few months I began to feel very depressed and guilt, I was still with the guy and found out he got another woman pregnant. I went through a point, when I couldn’t see babies or would feel a certain way when I saw other women with their children.

    Today, I found out I’m pregnant a third time, by an older man with 7 kids. Idk what to think. Part of me wants to keep it because I know I would regret it if I didn’t. The other part of me is feeling what I felt last year. Financially I feel it will get better with time, but the deciding factor that resulted in my other terminations was me living with my alcoholic mom. She is very depressed and she drinks and hums all day. I look past it sometimes but it’s draining, she gets into her moods and is very volatile angry and violent at the drop of a dime. I don’t want to raise my kid around that though I have no where else to go. I see how the way she acts affects my niece and nephew, she yells and disrespect us in front of them and it rubs off on them. I also seen what this did to her and my sister’s relationship, she kicked my sis out when my niece was two and from then on constantly called her badness to my niece.

    I’m not tring to blame my decisions or base my decision on my mom or anyone else. I just believe a child is a victim of their surroundings and are easily influenced. I haven’t talked to the father yet because he just used me for sex I’m not sure how this is going to pan out. I’m lost I don’t want the depression that my family and I are drowned in to affect my child. But I don’t know if I’m strong enough to go through this pregnancy or even without it..from reading previous comments I do have a mental problem or depression with pregnancy but I definitely don’t want to ruin a innocent life with my uncurable issues…help please.

    • EI says:

      Dear Monique,

      I know it’s hard. Your life is already hard enough and the immediate obligations and duties revolving around having a child won’t make it easier . . . but having a child can, and generally does, make your life more meaningful and fulfilling.

      You write about being afraid that circumstances surrounding you are less than ideal for raising a child. I’m sure that’s true. But circumstances can change and can get better, and having a child to love and protect is often what motivates people to finally make things better.

      Most importantly, it’s just tricking yourself with words to say you “don’t want to ruin an innocent life with my uncurable issues.” Aborting a life is more than ruining a life. It is 100% ending a life. Studies show that children born to single mothers, even in dire poverty, grow up happy that they were born. Their lives aren’t perfect. But they aren’t ruined, either. They have a chance, and ups and downs like everyone else. Even a life that is 10%, 20% or 80% “ruined” by being born into less than ideal circumstances is 90%, 80% or 20% “better” off than the life that is destroyed and not given a chance to experience your love.

      It’s a common “excuse” to justify abortion with the idea that a child is better to kill an unborn child than expose that child to the hardships of being born into a world that doesn’t promise him or her a better start in life. But that guess that a child is better off dying before birth is just that, a guess. Many, even most, children are born into a less than perfect situation, but by some grace of God there are blessing and opportunities that will come to them. Don’t try to justify another abortion as you doing a favor to your child by protecting him or her from being around a drunken grandmother.

      Please call a pregnancy help center to find out what resources and help they can give you to help you give your child a better start and childhood than you had. That would be best for the child, and for you. With each abortion, as you have already found, the emotional burden and harm it does to you is greater. A third abortion will just make things worse. By contrast, having this child can also help to start you on the road to recovery from your first two abortions.

      Please let us know if we can provide any more help. But the people you most need to talk to are the experienced and equipped pregnancy help centers nearest you.

      You are in our prayers. We pray you will stand firm. Choose life so that you may have life abundantly.

  7. Amber says:

    I really feel helpless right now. I’m about 6 weeks pregnant, and I am single, although I am pregnant by my ex boyfriend.

    I just went through an abortion 7 months ago with the same man (he was an ex at this time also) when I was 6 weeks, and although it was stressful and I cried for a couple days, I got over it….or so I thought.

    After a few months after the abortion I would feel like I wanted my baby and was very sorry for having the abortion. The thing is, I had the abortion so that I would not have to deal with the father, who I had previously broken up with because I didn’t see a future with him. He’s a good guy, our personalities just don’t match which creates lots of petty arguments, and I’ve had better relationships so I know I can have better.

    Well, in the past few months, I was feeling bad about not wanting to be with him and aborting his first child (he would always still call and beg me back) just because of “personality differences” and figured maybe we should take the time out to be friends and figure each other out before we get back into a relationship, and start having sex. (I was turned off from sex for months for fear of getting pregnant and having these feelings because I knew I wasn’t ready to build a family with him). This man is very forceful. When I say forceful, I mean taking advantage of my kindness to him. Like taking a mile when I give him an inch. Days he wanted to come over, I would decline, but he will just beg and bargain until I agreed. Coming over turned into spending hours…then overnights…then overnight daily, and now he has been in my house for 2 months with no agreement about moving in at all. I feel like he just forced himself onto my turf…into my bed and everything else. That makes me resent him, and part of the reasons why I broke up with him in the first place.

    I hate feeling like I’m being controlled, when I just wanted to be kind to him and give us a chance to have a better relationship so that we could bring about a relationship, marriage, and more kids. (I have 2 already, he has none).

    Well now I am pregnant by him again, and I am so miserable because I tried to prevent this very same thing from happening, even voicing all my fears and concerns to him. I just wanted the chance for me and him to bring about a baby that we both wanted in love, and now I feel that won’t happen because I have too much resentment towards him. I feel like he intruded into me and my children’s lives in a selfish manner, only worried about his wants, and not that of mine. I’ve been trying to kick him out my house in the past few days, and I actually truly want him out my life for good this time, but I guess that’s not possible being that I’m pregnant again.

    I don’t want to have a repeat abortion, because what they don’t tell society is, that its a very TRAUMATIC experience that NO ONE should go through…but its OUR CHOICE right?

    My questions and concerns are… How do I cope with wanting the baby but not wanting the father? I hate that I even have to deal with him forever and ever. I feel as if he did this to keep me in his life which makes me resent him even more. Now all I’m asking is for my peace and to be left alone and he doesn’t even want to do that. I cry everyday and I’m very miserable and depressed being that I don’t know what to do with myself. Almost makes me feel like I need to go through with the abortion so I won’t be bothered with him any longer. Suggestions please.

    • EI says:

      You asked for our recommendations.

      First. Don’t have an abortion. As you already know from your first abortion, it’s a traumatic experience. And women who have multiple abortions have even more problems than those who have one. This is NOT the best way to get him out of your life.

      Second. If you really want your space, tell him to move out by next weekend (or this weekend, if he has a place to go), explaining that you need your space and need to have time to figure out if there is any place in your life for him, other than being able to see the baby after he or she is born.

      I’d suggest leaving the door open to you guys working things out . . . but be clear that it has to be on your schedule, not his. For now, he needs to go. He needs to show that he respects your needs, including your need for some distance right now. If and when you decide to marry, then you’ll be committed to putting up with each other. But for now, you need your space. If he balks, or even before he balks, let him know that you are serious and will cause the police to have him forcibly removed if he does not move out by your set date.

      Third. You should read our tips on finding a post-abortion healing program. I strongly recommend that you participate in a program to help you work through your past abortion because it will strengthen you in sorting out if and how you should have a relationship with the father of this child and also to be a better mother . . . since unresolved abortion issues can impact how you interact with your children in negative ways.

      You should also consider asking this guy to participate in the post-abortion healing program with you. Rachel’s Vineyard is particularly conducive to women and men going through it together. It’s hard for me to imagine that the two of you can develop a truly healthy and balanced relationship unless and until you both work through how the abortion has affected both you and him . . . and he has empathy for what you’ve been through and you have empathy for what he’s been through . . . and he may be hiding a lot of that, and it may even help explain why he has tried to push his way back into your life in such an indelicate way.

      It may well be that the two of you can work things out. I hope so, for both your sakes and for the sake of you unborn child. But that path requires both of you to work through your healing and your relationship in a respectful manner.

      He needs to understand and respect that you need your space right now. And you need to be firm in requiring that he respect that need . . . even if it means asking the police to remove him and getting a court order.

      Again, I recommend that you tell him that you are still willing to seeing if and how he can fit into your life and that of your child. But his refusing to give you the space and time you need to figure that out is hurting his chances, not helping them.

      You are all in our prayers.

  8. nikki says:

    I had my first abortion at age 21 by a boyfriend of 4 years,with whom i lost my virginity to (i blame peer pressure, I wasn’t ready). Once i told him I was pregnant the next day i had the abortion, that’s how much he didn’t want the baby. I took the pill and it became affective the next night while i was walking home.i couldn’t walked and called my boyfriend to come out and help me, he got mad because he was in the middle of an live video game but promised he would come. I’ve waited an hour and a half before i was able to make it to the house on my own. With that, I left once I turned 22.
    I had no where to go so i moved to an shelter that promised within four months of staying there i would get my own apartment. A councilor I was going to convince me to stay at the shelter. Since i had a job it would be faster finding me a place to stay. Not true.
    While the time there I meet an older guy, 20 years difference, who help me overcome my depression. We put our money together and got an one bedroom. it wasn’t even a year and i was pregnant again by this older guy who became abusive once we left the shelter. There was no question asked whether to keep it or not.abortion number 2.
    He wanted to keep it but didn’t tell me till after the baby was gone. Everyday I felt regret and everyday he reminds me of what I did to his baby. Remind you I was getting beat on during the 5 month pregnancy. 4 months later I’m pregnant again, for the third time. Yes I did do birth control. He wants to keep it but looking at our relationship i don’t know what to do.
    1. Since leaving the shelter he still hasn’t found a stable job.
    2. I have a car he don’t, I take the bus since the little work he do get is “on call”. 3. He’s no longer physical abusive just verbally. He smoke and drinks.
    4. There’s no way I can take care of a baby with only my income, that’s three mouths I gotta feed plus bills.neither of us is eligible for welfare, we tired numerous of times.
    If I do leave him, he would be back on the streets, but i doubt it since every time I try to leave he tells me that i won’t make it past the door. So far he hasn’t done nothing wrong to cause me to leave.he really want to keep the baby and tells me everyday how he appreciate my sacrifice.he has no family, all of them are dead and mine’s don’t want to be involved.
    I was in school and getting my bachelor, once i lost my virginity everything went down hill. If I do have the baby I know i won’t be able to go back to school and will be stuck with someone I’m afraid of. If i don’t have the baby it will be easier to leave this relationship once he gets a car. I’m deciding to have my tubes tied no matter what my decision will be. I just don’t want to leave in regret wether I have it and struggle or don’t have it and with my tubes being tied not to conceive again.
    Please help.

    • EI says:

      Please take the time to go to at least two pregnancy help centers that you can find on this link.

      There are a lot more resources and people out there than you think and many have been where you are and can help you through this. They may also be able to give the father of your baby the counseling he needs to treat you better and to wake up to his responsibilities to you and your baby.

      Most pregnancy resource centers that you find through this page can also help you find post-abortion healing program, which can be very helpful.

      I implore you not to have another abortion. Each repeat abortions increases both the physical and psychological risks and consequences for you. It is so much better to break this cycle, even if you can’t support the baby and decide that adoption is the best option. Even that would be better for you than having another abortion. You don’t have to decide on the adoption option until the baby is due, or even after it is born. But I promise you won’t regret giving birth to your child, whether you raise the child yourself or place it for adoption. But an abortion, you will regret.

      I also caution you against getting your tubes tied. You will eventually want to have children . . . all the more so because of your past abortions. And having children will be good for you and your healing. But tubal ligations are not always easy to reverse, and can be far more expensive. Again, talk to a pregnancy help center counselor — a pro-life counselor, not a family planning counselor who is often an advocate of sterilization to advance population control interests rather than your personal interests.

      You are in our prayers. Please email or call if we can be of more help.

  9. nikky says:

    Hi El,

    I’m 21 & had an abortion in December last year. I really wanted to keep the baby and had convinced the father, now my fiance, who had been against me keeping it, to support me. The reason why he was asking me to abort was because he already has a 3 year old son that he’s struggling to support since we are both still in College & also that we were having a fling with relationships on the side @ the time I fell pregnant. I told him I wouldn’t abort because its illegal, against everything I believe in & I’ve had previous problems with my cervix so I feared it would affect my fertility. He accepted & respected my decision but everything went wrong when I told my mom. She immediately asked me what would be more important, having this fatherless unplanned baby or continuing with my education. I chose my baby & she told me I’d have to start thinking about paying my own fees & finding a job to take care of my self & my disgrace of a pregnancy. That’s when I started thinking about my possible future which led me to choosing te abortion. I asked to to schedule the appointment since she said she had a contact to do the procedure (its illegal in my country) I had the kind where pills are placed in the opening of the cervix to induce labor or something. It was done in a dark hospital room & it all seemed so dodgy. I still get chills thinking about the ordeal.

    I think she did this because I told her I had a holiday fling out of the country & lost contact with the baby’s father because I feared that if I told her who the father was she wouldn’t understand since she knew my boyfriend at the tym. & also if I told her he didn’t want the baby @ first because he couldn’t support it & all she wouldn’t accept him later (I had come to realise I was in love with him). In my tradition there is a lot that goes on when a child is concieved out of wedlock & in most cases than not, the couple ends up seperated because of the friction & the payments for the “damage” done to the girl. I knew that our new “relationship” wouldn’t last if we went through that traditional route & that he would struggle by having to fend for himself once it was found out he’d impregnated another girl. It would seem like he is old enough to take care of himself if he can go & get another different girl pregnant. I love him & I didn’t want him to suffer because I was being selfish for wanting to keep the baby when we had so much to lose if I had it.

    I put myself last & went ahead with the abortion. The pills took effect about 5 hrs later & it hurt so much. It was more the pain of losing the baby I wanted so bad & having done such a cruel thing than it was the cramps & all that. I bled for almost 2months & that was the most difficult time. I thought I would go mad from the depression & I secluded myself all that time. It took months to mend the relationship with my mother & my fiance helped me get over my anger & hate and assisted me in mending the broken bond. I still hate myself for it & find myself hoping to fall pregnant again so I can make right everything I did wrong. I had picked out names 4 the baby & couldn’t wait to be a mother & now I find myself wondering if God will ever forgive me for what I did & entrust me with a baby. I should have just gone rouge & been a struggling single mother than to go through this pain everyday. I would hv been 8months pregnant now & I know I would be happier than I am now.

    I found out from havin a sonogram that I had a uterine cyst afta the abortion & feared that if I took birth control something could go wrong considering my previous mentioned cervical problems as well. I want to be a mother but I’m afraid if I fall pregnant again I might have to go through it again. My fiance still has to do all the traditional work & pay the bride price before I can be considered his wife & dat usually takes a year or two because it costs a lot. I don’t want to lose him by falling pregnant again because I’m terrified to use birth control. Please help me. I’m afraid to go to the gynae because they might notice I aborted & arrest me. So I dnt know if I’m okay or not. Its frightening & depressing & I don’t know how to deal with it all. I can never forgive myself for murdering my baby & hurting myself more than I can ever be able to deal with all this. Please help me. :(

    • EI says:

      Dear Nikky,

      I don’t know what country you are in, but if you can find any post-abortion healing support groups, I pray you will do so and go get support and guidance to help you through the healing process. God will forgive you. But He is also hoping you will learn from this experience to both grow into a better person and also to help others.

      One of the things you should have learned is that to avoid going through this again, you need to insist that your fiance respect your loss and respect your body and your fertility. The whole you. And that respect includes being abstinent until marriage. There is actually much wisdom in the “old ways” in every culture which are built around the idea that intercourse belongs in marriages where husbands, wives, and extended families can rejoice at every pregnancy and confidently work to provide for the children conceived. In such a pro-life culture, abortion is rarely considered because people are ready to WELCOME children into their lives.

      Birth control is not a solution. Most forms of birth control involve additional health risks to you, plus every method has a failure rate which may lead to an unexpected pregnancy and another abortion. Indeed, every one of the birth control methods involving drugs (pills or shots) or inserts (like Norplant or intrauterine devices) work at least in part by causing the abortion of human embryos before or shortly after they implant in the uterus. The primary method of the pill, for example, is to suppress ovulation. But because a heavy dose of the hormones used to suppress ovulation 100% of the time involves more severe health risks, the modern “low dose” pills allow for occasional “breakthrough” ovulation which may then allow for fertilization and procreation of an embryo — in which case other hormones in the “low dose” pill act to cause an early abortion to “flush” away the baby before it is securely implanted in the womb.

      So my advise is simple. Instead of talking to a gynecologist to ask for birth control, talk to your fiance and ask (even demand) that if he loves you and wants to protect you from another abortion (and the problems associated with birth control) that he accept that you need to save intercourse for marriage. If necessary, he can consider this time to be a bit of penance for the abortion and a down payment on proving to you that he loves you for you. the whole of you, not just sex. The whole of you includes your fertility. Which means he must respect your fertility and not “play” with it until he is ready to accept and love the consequences of it . . . namely, your children. Maybe a little more abstinence will help to motivate him to work extra hard to pay the bride price so you can marry sooner rather than later.

      You are in our prayers. I especially pray you will find some help with working through your grief and loss. Don’t give up hope. Because of your sorrow and repentance, God is ready and willing to forgive you. With the help and good example of others, you will someday be able to forgive yourself, too. Part of that process begins with learning from your mistakes. Demanding abstinence and the respect from your fiance which is the whole point of “waiting until we are married” is part of what God wants you to learn from your past. It’s not easy. Especially when your fiance is used to having his way with you. But I promise that it is the best for you . . . even if you lose this fiance, because if you wait for a guy who will love you enough to wait for you and wait until he can truly love and support you and children, you will undoubtedly be happier throughout your life.

  10. Anita says:

    i know this post is old but i just need advice on what to do. i have had 5 D/C before all 3weeks pregnancy within age 15 to 27. i ended those pregnancies because then i felt that was the right thing to do as i was never in love then with my ex who wanted to get me pregnant by all means. now i’m 30yrs old and finally found the man of my dreams, we are engaged about to be married in september and we are celibate. but my nightmare just begun as i am currently 3weeks pregnant again by my ex who raped me while i was unconcious because i had a few drink when he invited me over for his birthday. i still have a feeling i was druged by him because he got jealous when he saw my ring. i trusted him and never thought he would do such to me. right now all i think about is suicide or have another abortion but i am just so confused because i thought i was over with repeated abortions. i am alone in this and very depressed. i can’t live without my fiancee and i doubt he will acept me with another man’s baby. this is the worst phase of my life, i finally fell in love with the man of my dreams but unfortunately pregnant by an ex with choices of suicide or another abortion to make it six. please advice me on what to do before i make a wrong decision.

    • EI says:

      Dear Anita,

      My heart goes out to you in your terrible situation. First, I encourage you to get in touch with a pregnancy help counselor . . . if only to have an understanding woman who will listen to you, hug you, and support you.

      Am I correct in assuming you have already told your fiance about your past abortions? I hope you have. If you haven’t that is the place to start. If you already have, begin by telling him how you desperately do not ever want to go through another abortion again. He will likely reassure you that he would never push you for an abortion.

      Then, tell him how your jealous ex- took advantage of you, likely with drugs but certainly with rape. Tell him this is all the worst possible thing you can imagine telling him, how you love him and don’t want to lose him, but you are afraid you are pregnant and you’re terribly afraid of both losing him and having another abortion. Tell him you love him and hope that he can love you enough to love this baby, who is truly your baby even if he or she was conceived in rape.

      Before either of you consider an abortion, please read some of the testimonies of women who have had abortions following rape. You’ll find more related articles here.

      It is my hope, and prayer, that your fiance is truly a noble man and gentle soul. If so, I am confident that he will surprise you with how deep and generous his love truly is. He won’t be the first such man who will gladly accept his fiance’s unborn child and love him as his own. I personally know of a couple cases very similar. It is truly inspiring what a noble heart can accept, embrace and do for his beloved! Don’t sell him short.

      Give him a chance to show his love, especially in this situation where you are most afraid of losing it, and it will deepen your love and admiration of him beyond measure.

      I suggest that you bring it up soon rather than later. I know it is hard. And there is the risk that he won’t understand. But there is a greater certainty that if you keep this a secret, and have an abortion in secret, that secret will rot at your relationship. It will be a sign of your lack of trust in him. And even if you tell him the truth after the fact, it will hurt him that you didn’t trust him enough to tell him before.

      I know it’s hard. So, very very very hard. But the right, loving thing to do is to tell him and pray his love is big enough to accept this situation and to love you with all his might.

      You are in my prayers.

  11. Anita says:

    Thank you EL for your sincere advice, i will do just as you have adviced as it is the right thing to do. i guess the problem i am faced with now is how to tell him because he is currently working abroad and we are suppose to have our wedding there. pls advice me if it’s right to tell him over the phone, now that the pregnancy is barely 3weeks or tell him when i see him by july which i consider a bit late because the pregnancy will be about 4 months and visible. my situation is indeed terrible and i don’t even wish this for anyone. i guess this is my destiny and i can’t do anything about it. and yes he knows about my past abortions but not the actual number of abortions i have had. honestly i feel so lost and i am beginning to believe i am not destined to be married to the man i love. thank you again as i feel more relaxed and confident in your last reply.

    • EI says:

      Dear Anita,

      His being overseas makes telling him more difficult, of course, but it doesn’t really change anything. You need to tell him as soon as possible.

      I would suggest texting him or emailing him in advance to tell him you have important, bad news to share with him and how you wish you could share it in person so you could hold his hands and see his eyes. But since you can’t, you ask him to find at least an hour when you can talk and his mind will be centered on you and that he will prepare his heart with all the love he can muster for you, because you really need it now above all other times. Ask him in advance for understanding, patience and a willingness to listen patiently and to bring his best self forward.

      If possible, perhaps you can use Skype or some other video call option so you can at least see each other.

      As suggested above, try to prepare him as much in advance as possible so he won’t be caught totally off guard and will be in a position to listen with an attitude of concern for you rather than fear or judgment. Make it clear that you are already relying on him to help you through this trial precisely because you love him so much.

      If he is at all spiritual, ask him to pray in advance to open ask for wisdom and an open heart in preparation for your conversation. You should pray the same way . . . maybe put in a good five or six periods of 15 minutes of prayer into it for the next day or two.

      If you can pray together at the beginning of your conversation with him, that would be good too. I’d suggest this outline: praise God’s Holy Name; thank Him for the gift of each other; ask God’s forgiveness for all the mistakes of your past, including those where you made bad decisions or allowed others to hurt you; ask for God’s blessings on your future; entrust yourselves to His will, promising to seek His will in all things; then praise His Holy Name again and thank Him for the gift of faith.

      You might even consider writing a prayer in our own words, at least touching on each of the points above, and share it via email with your fiance asking him to pray in in advance of the call and to read it with you at the beginning of your call.

      You are in my prayers. Easter Sunday is tomorrow. I pray that you will experience the joy of resurrected hope and life renewed.

  12. Anita says:

    thanks EL again for your support, i just want you to know that i have just spoken to my fiancee and to my suprise he was really supportive as he didn’t even scold me or shouted one bit only advised me to be more careful next time. but of course there is a problem as he thinks i should abort the pregnancy because he wouldn’t want to be marrying me with another man’s baby in my stomach and of course by september my pregnancy will be so visible. i have asked him to give me time to think about it and i know it will also give him more time to think about what he suggested too. so for now, this is the point where we are now. i will keep trusting God to see us through this terrible challenge. thank you again for the courage you gave me and i am happy i decided to empty my sorrows today as i now feel so light headed now. thanks alot.

    • EI says:

      Dear Anita,

      I’m very glad to hear that he has been understanding…at least up to a point. It’s easy to understand his initial reaction and how he can imagine that an abortion would fix things. Now it is time to see if he’s able to deepen his understanding to see that an abortion would hurt you and your relationship, whereas in contrast, if he could reaffirm his love for you by accepting this baby it would deepen your relationship in so many ways.

      First, I would suggest that both of you read about he risk factors which identify women who are at greatest risk of psychological harm from abortion. Having multiple abortions increases the risk. (I would also, strongly recommend that you get in touch with a post-abortion healing ministry to help you through this crisis, and also to address issues with your past abortions which may interfere with your relationship and ability to be the best mom that you can be.)

      If you like, I can also send you and/or him a complimentary copy of Victims and Victors which includes the testimonies of women who had rape pregnancies, many of whom aborted and others of whom carried to term. The interviews and testimonies of these women suggest that the vast majority of women who aborted regretted their decision while the vast majority of those who carried to term are glad they did. Neither path is easy. But only one will make you feel proud of yourself and will give you a child who will always love you and be grateful to you.

      If you would like my phone number for ongoing support, let me know and I will send it to you via private email.

  13. Bunja says:

    I have committed it four times; all before 6 years. Now the thought is haunting me. I am 39 by now. Just broke up with my fiance because he doesn’t want a child. Four abortions! The thought is killing me every second. I have a fear I might have some problem in my cervix; like cancer (afraid to get tested), I have a fear I might not get pregnant ever, I have a fear I will pay the price of my sin here on earth and later. I cry when I think about it, I want to scream; of all, I keep thinking of suicide. I really want at least one child. As I mentioned, I am not young anymore.
    I don’t know how you can help me. Where are you? I am an African but currently lives in Europe . The pain of guiltiness is aching my soul.
    I don’t think I can forgive myself even if God does (if he could)
    Blessings to you

    • EI says:

      Please read our tips on finding post-abortion help.

      While I don’t have a complete list, I know there are many programs in Europe. For example, you will find a schedule of the Rachel’s Vineyard’s international retreats here.

      There are also many good books and websites that can help you.

      What you describe, the inability to forgive yourself is very common. Don’t give up hope. Reject every thought of hurting yourself. There is help, most of it from women who have been exactly where you are and have experienced not only the miracle of God’s forgiveness, but the miracle of a healing that took them beyond themselves to a place of healing.

      Hang in there. You are in our prayers. If you have trouble finding a program, let us know and what country and city you are in, and we will see if we can help you find a program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>