“This is pregnancy and infancy loss awareness month, but hardly anyone is counting our losses.” — SG
Unfortunately, there is a disconnect when it comes to acknowledging the feelings often experienced by siblings of aborted babies. As the above mentioned sibling was told when she sought to remember her aborted brother in a prayer vigil, her loss “was intentional”, and so she could not include him in the service. This left her feeling crushed, as her loss was just as significant as those who had lost a child any other way.
It is not unusual to find this reluctance to acknowledge the dynamics surrounding siblings and abortion. In the comment section of one article I wrote on the topic, a mom who had told her children about her two abortions stated: “I had two abortions, one illegal and one legal..and my two born kids don’t care a bit … they love each other and don’t think they have dead brothers or sisters they have to grieve, so enough with this fake emotional stuff.”
This “fake emotional stuff” is often hidden from parents who have had abortions. Surviving children feel a responsibility to keep the secret and support their parents for a variety of reasons. One may be to protect the parent from harm and hurt, another may be the fear of being rejected by someone you knew to protect you, but then found out participated in the death of another sibling. It is all very confusing, and they are often fearful to allow their feelings to be known.
Some parents feel it is not the business of other children. They are blind to the fact that it can greatly influence their lives, as it raises questions of “wantedness”, a sense of knowing someone is missing, if their name would even be the same, or if they would they even be here if their sibling was born? They may belittle and downplay these feelings, often boasting how their children a “fine with it.”
It is really no different than the denial of the impact of abortion on moms and dads, but, if we as a society continue to deny their pain, how can we move to understand and heal the wounds of the living children?
Siblings of aborted babies often feel isolated and alone in their feelings with no one to speak to about them. An experience like the one above only serves to draw them into further isolation if it happens to someone who has received no prior healing.
Thank goodness, the person mentioned above, though crushed, had been to a healing retreat and was able to process what had happened as a lack of understanding.
In the past seven years of Lumina holding Entering Canaan sibling retreats, women and men have participated from across the country. The need for them to unite and know they are not alone in their feelings or experiences reflects the damage abortion has done to countless siblings and the bond they may feel.
Abortion kills unborn children, but also damages women, men, siblings and countless others who come in contact with it.
Let us listen carefully to the cries of these people and prayerfully offer compassion and understanding for the losses they suffer which, through the dignity of each life, are just as valuable in the eyes of God.
Theresa Bonopartis is the founder of Lumina, which offers healing retreats for women, men and siblings impacted by abortion and those who aborted because of an adverse diagnosis. In addition, Lumina provides training for clergy members and mental health professionals on post abortion stress. This article originally appeared on her blog, Reclaiming Our Children, and is reprinted with permission.