Sharing the Secret at Home
Sharing with Spouses
One of the first questions post-abortive women ask me is, “Should I tell my husband?” I believe that husbands should be told about their wife’s abortion(s) as soon as possible. Most healthy husbands have a right to know and by not sharing, you could be involved in full-fledged deceit! Deceit is not healthy in a marriage.
When I met my husband, I realized that he must know the truth about my background. My heart reasoned that if he was going to reject me, it would be better if he did so earlier in the relationship before my heart was too invested. In a way, sharing the truth was like the story of Ruth from the Bible. Ruth ended up lying at Boaz’s feet while he slept, hoping that he’d accept her as his wife and not reject her. Ruth went to meet Boaz in secret – in the dark. It is easier to be rejected in the dark.
The room was purposely dark the night I told my future husband, Tom, about my abortion. He held me and then relayed that if I had been pregnant with his baby I never would have found my way to an abortion clinic. Had he rejected me because of my abortion truth, he wouldn’t have been a man that I wanted to marry. The truth helped me understand his heart and trust him. When he accepted and understood my pain, I fell in love with him 500 times more in an instant.
I’ll never forget the day that Tom adopted my aborted child, Jesse. It was a simple moment between us. I was talking about his daughter, my step-daughter, whom I loved very much. I said, “While I know she’s not mine, she is a sibling to my children and your daughter. That makes her part of me too.”
Quickly, Tom responded, “I feel the same about Jesse. He’s my son. He’s just as much a part of me as any of my other children. When I get to heaven, I’ll know him because he’s part of you.” Suddenly Jesse was no longer fatherless.
My point here is that my husband was able to participate in my healing in many ways by simply knowing this secret.
Obviously, it’s can be daunting to consider sharing this secret after many years of marriage. Many will confess to me that they know their husband will forgive them for having an abortion. The deeper problem was their lack of truthfulness from the start and that relates to trust.
As shared previously in Session 2, “Julie’s” call reminded me that many women have never told their husbands about their abortions. She had heard me share my testimony on a radio broadcast and desperately wanted the healing that God provided to my heart. Her greatest fear was that her husband would discover this truth and reject her. She felt that he might forgive her for the abortion but that the trust in her marriage would be shattered because she had kept this secret from him.
Two days later “Julie” called me back saying her doctor had called her right after our conversation, informing her that her recent PAP indicated cervical cancer. Then he had transferred her to his receptionist saying he wanted to see her and her husband the following day.
“Julie” was horrified at the word “cancer,” yet God was with her. She immediately thought, “If I’m going to die anyway, then he might as well know the truth.”
Her husband was away on a business trip but headed home immediately when she called to say she needed him. She didn’t tell him about the cancer or the abortion on the phone.
When he arrived home, she sat him down and relayed the truth about her abortion. For over an hour he listened. He forgave her for not sharing this truth earlier. “Julie” relayed that she nearly forgot about the cancer in the joy of receiving his forgiveness. She then said, “Oh, by the way, the doctor says I have cancer.”
Their joy turned to fear and they ended staying up most of the night. She said that despite the cancer it had been a beautiful evening.
The next morning found this couple waiting in the doctor’s office. The doctor came in and looked over her chart and said, “Now why are you here?”
She said, “You told me I had cervical cancer.”
He said, “You don’t have cancer. I never share information like that over the phone. Your PAP test came back clear. There is nothing wrong with you!”
God works in mysterious ways. No staff member could be found in that office that placed a call to her after our long talk. God used it to give her a way to share the truth with her husband. Their marriage was already soaring to new heights because she was no longer bound by the fear that her husband would leave her. She knew that he loves her completely.
Sharing the Secret with Children
Sharing your abortion truth with your children is likely one of the most daunting ideas in abortion recovery. The level of sharing often depends on the age of children. However, keep in mind that many children have an idea that they have siblings in heaven, for one reason or another.
My mother lost two daughters to separate birth defects in the 1950’s. My oldest sister, Naomi, lived six months after a battle with Spina Bifeda. My mother then got pregnant again with my sister, Cydney. She lived three days and passed away due to a hole in her heart. In those days, medical science offered no cures. My mother then gave birth to my brother and eventually to me. I was raised knowing I had two sisters in heaven.
Because of my sister’s deaths, I used to think about them in my life often. When I was playing with imaginary friends, these friends were my sisters. I’d talk to them as a small child and dream about them taking care of me and protecting me from my big brother’s wrath. My thoughts about my sisters were always positive and uplifting versus filled with doom and gloom.
Over the years of working with post-abortive individuals, I’ve heard many stories relating to siblings of aborted children that may sound strange but are true. In one example, a friend was attending an abortion recovery class. She was terrified that her young children would hear her secret.
She called me when she came to work one day. She said that her eight year old son had awoken to relay that he’d had a fabulous dream. He had told her, “I dreamed and went to heaven and played with my big brother, Jake.”
Now her son was under 8 years old and they had never discussed her secret in her home.
I asked her, “How did that make you feel?”
She said simply, “Well, I know my child was a boy and his name is Jake.”
In time she shared the truth with both children and discovered they loved her anyway! When her daughter later experienced an unexpected pregnancy, knowing her mother’s testimony meant she never considered abortion.
In sharing this secret with my children, I’ve found that God has used it time and again. My three sons know that I’m not perfect and that I have many regrets in my life. They know that if they ever experienced an unexpected pregnancy, that they could come to me.
Early in my abortion recovery ministry, my children were small and the word “abortion” was often discussed between Tom and I. My oldest son was seven when he asked simply, “Mommy, what’s abortion?” I’m not sure what led him to ask that question on that particular day but I was prepared.
I responded, “Abortion is when they take a baby out of his mother’s belly before it is big enough to survive. The baby goes to Jesus and a lot of times the Mommy is later very sad.”
Bruce’s facial expression showed that he realized the horror I was describing.
His eyes grew large as he asked, “Is that legal, Mommy? To kill a baby?”
My response was, “Yes, honey, it’s legal. It’s bad, and we are working to stop it. For now, it’s legal in America and much of the world.”
His obvious horror with this truth was enough for him to emotionally consider in that moment. It was clearly NOT the time to tell him that his mother had chosen to abort his brother.
I waited a few months before arriving at the perfect moment in sharing about my abortion. He actually brought up the topic of abortion and asked a few more questions.
I didn’t share many details but he wasn’t horrified nor did he think less of me. When I asked him to forgive me for allowing them to take his big brother, Jesse, he hugged me and gratefully gave it.
Over the following days he would ask questions but was never judgmental. About a decade later we were talking about regrets and he said, “I know your biggest regret, Mom. Losing Jesse.”
He went on to say, “If Jesse were alive I probably wouldn’t be here, right Mom?”
I didn’t hear any “survival guilt” in his tone. He was just stating the obvious.
My response was, “Yes, that could be but that wasn’t God’s plan. In spite of my bad choice, He gave you to me. Jeremiah 1:5 states that, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” That means that God knew about every single day we would spend on Earth. He knew everything that was going to happen before I was born and He knew all about you.”
Several years later I shared in the same manner with my second son, Michael. I again started by telling him about abortion. He looked at me with his big blue eyes and said, ‘Oh, Mommy, I’m so glad you didn’t abort me.” I hugged him and waited a while before sharing about his brother, Jesse.
When God told me the time was right I took Michael on a “date” to the mall. On the way there I brought up the abortion word again and shared about his big brother, Jesse.
He responded excitedly, “I have a big brother in heaven?”
“Yes, you do, Michael. Do you forgive me for allowing him to die?”
He turned to me and hugged me. He said, “Yes, mother, I forgive you.” Then he went on dreaming about his brother.
With my youngest son, Daniel, it went differently. He’s a “deep thinker” and didn’t seem to have much of a reaction to abortion or his big brother in heaven. When he was around 8 years old, we were driving and listened to a sad song that featured an unborn baby talking to her mother that was going to abort her. The compassionate message of that song always makes me cry so tears began streaming down my face.
After the song finished, I worked to dry my tears. Impacted by my emotions, Daniel said, “You know that episode in Land Before Time — the one where Little Foot had to say good-bye to Chopper?”
I said with a smile, “Yes. I remember that was the second movie, right?”
He said, “Yes, Mom. Remember when I first saw that show I cried and cried? I was so sad at their having to say good-bye forever. It’s just like that song that made you cry. She had to say good-bye to her mommy and she was sad too. Good-byes are hard, Mom.”
It was a simple comparison but it worked for Daniel. We would have many other talks but at his level when he brought the subject up in conversation.
If you have someone in your life that you are afraid to tell about your abortion, you need to start in prayer before sharing. Talking about a past abortion can open a lot of doors to healing in a relationship.
It can also prevent the same sin from occurring in future generations. It is so very sad when the post-abortive person becomes a post-abortive grandparent or great-grandparent.
If God is leading you to share this secret, pray and ask God to provide confirmation to your heart as to the perfect time to share. Be ready when God opens that door. Know that God has gone before you to prepare your children’s hearts for this truth.
They may be hurt and grieve at first. They may be angry or upset. They may ask many more questions about your sexual past as well. So sharing this secret must be a direction that God provides to your heart, after He brings you to the point of deep healing.
Have you shared your abortion truth with those who love you?
If not, do you feel that God might be calling you to share this secret with them? Please continue reading this module’s pages and ask God to clarify His will for your life when it comes to your abortion secret.
For those of you who shared the secret long ago with someone who then offered compassion and no judgment, be sure to thank that person today and encourage them that God used them in your life. Thank them for the love they have offered you.