Dismantling Denial

“Will this affect me, emotionally or psychologically?” I asked the attendant at the abortion clinic before signing their required intake forms.

She responded with an awkward smile, “Oh no. It’s just a blob of tissue. This will make your life better! You have plenty of time to have more children!”

Working to embrace her words as truth, I mentally repeated, “Abortion will make my life better…. Abortion will make my life better.…”

This sound bite was something I used for when thoughts of my abortion came to mind. It took me many years to realize that I had not aborted “tissue” at all but a tiny human. When I looked back on my sinful behavior since my abortion, I knew it had not made my life better but worse.

By asking this question at that time, I believe I had a good idea I would regret this choice. God gave me a heart that is filled with love and compassion for others. There was no way that type of heart could pass through such a procedure unharmed emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. When I later encountered infertility, I hit regret at a physical level too.

When I exited that clinic as a newly post-abortive person, I began a mental process to deny or “forget” my abortion ever happened. Denial after abortion was the only way to proceed because denial separating the agony of my heart from the logic of my mind. That process worked until several “life” circumstances began dismantling the spot in my heart that contained abortion memories.

The first life event was falling in love with my husband several years later. Being honest with him about my abortion was essential in building trust and honesty for our future together. I reasoned then that If he was going to leave me over that choice, I’d rather it be early in our relationship before I was deeper in love with him.

Thankfully, my future husband received my truth with love, compassion and understanding.  He went one step further by stated that if I ever ended up pregnant with his child, the last place I would ever find myself was an abortion clinic. In that declaration, I knew I was safe with this dear man and allowed my heart to fall completely in love with him.

While relieved by his acceptance, the effort of sharing my abortion truth took a toll on my heart. With the story vocalized and remembered vividly, my denial – or forgetting process – was harder to restart. The only way to kick it back into place was to stop thinking about it entirely. After several years, my husband started to wonder if we ever had that abortion conversation because I never spoke of it again!  

Refusing to acknowledge that abortion is wrong allows women to initially cope with any emotional conflict, stress, painful thoughts, threatening information and/or anxiety. We can remain in denial because any discussion of our abortions can lead us to feeling vulnerable and/or threatens our sense of control over this memory.

Individuals in denial often refuse to acknowledge their abortion was a wrong decision. They won’t face the truth that abortion took the life of an unborn child. We can also downplay any consequences of the experience.

This abortion denial process is tricky to maintain because it’s deeply dysfunctional! We often take one step forward towards healing and then twenty steps backwards. The pain of a past abortion may arguably be the worst form of self-torture existing in the world. Many women falsely believe that in addressing this pain directly and allowing tears to fall, they could become suicidal.

One day God ended my ability to deny my abortion was a wrong decision. It happened with a rush of blood when I was sixteen weeks pregnant with a very wanted second child. Realizing my child could be miscarried, I instantly got down on my hands and knees and asked God for help. I then asked His forgiveness for aborting my previous child.  This started the healing process as outlined in I John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Within thirty minutes of that prayer, my physician’s ultrasound screen revealed a fully formed boy inside my womb who was sucking his thumb and kicking with all his might. At sixteen week’s gestation, my unborn son was very much an obvious human being. The ultrasound’s grainy image destroyed the “blob of tissue” theory forever.

After that ultrasound ended my ability to believe I had aborted a “blob of tissue,” I was alone in my pain. The grainy image of my son haunted me. Several months later, when this baby was placed in my arms, I was overwhelmed with the depth of instant love I felt for him. That love suddenly brought back the abortion memory. I had to wonder, “What would that child have looked like?”

Eighteen months later my friend and neighbor, Dianne Hood, was murdered. The grief over her death threw me into mourning for the very first time. Future deaths of loved ones often trigger unresolved sorrow from the past. When I cried for Dianne, I finally allowed myself to cry for my lost child as well. It wasn’t long before God led me into an abortion recovery program and healed my heart.

While many can forget and never feel any pain over their abortions, others find that time changes their peace. In working through the emotions of healing surrounding the loss of my aborted child, I ended the denial forever. By naming and memorializing my lost child during my abortion recovery class, he returned to take his rightful place in my heart.

Take a moment to record any denial you have maintained relating to your abortion and how God showed you His truth. List the ways that this occurred and any Bible verses that may have helped you in those moments.  

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Hello, I am Sydna Massé Founder and CEO of Ramah International. I'd love to keep in touch and include you in our prayer chain as we continue to serve abortion's wounded and those considering abortion.

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