The sequence of these steps is not fixed. Each woman will be unique in the way she moves through the process. Some women will have begun their own therpeutic interventions. Others may need help beginning their journey to healing. These steps may be helpful for a woman who would like to begin her journey to healing:
- Tell your story with all its pain and anger. You may have to do this more than once. You may be depressed and may carry a burden of anger that is supressed. You may feel abandoned by your loved ones, beginning with the father of the baby and extending to your own nuclear family. You have permission to to explore your anger. Unresolved anger will impede your healing.
- You must bring closure to your relationship with the aborted child.
- We encourage you to grieve the loss, which may include both the loss of the child and the loss of the father.
- You must acknowledge the uniqueness of the child lost and the meaning of that pregnancy.
- Name your baby. If you are Christian, pray a prayer of commitment to Christ or of Baptism.
- Write a letter to your baby, saying all the things you need to say. This may include asking the baby's forgiveness or forgiving your baby for coming at an inconvenient time.
- Ritualize your loss, using symbolic objects such as baby pictures, clothing, or whatever is meaningful to you in making your baby more concrete. If you'd like, perform a ritual of letting go, such as a private funeral rite. You may want to purchase something to keep, such as a locket or a tree to remind you of the child. Writing songs and poems or producing artwork are also helpful parts of the healing ritual for some.
- According to your faith and belief system, you may want to establish a spiritual relationship with your child.
We want to help you understand that it is necessary to forgive those responsible for and involved in your abortion if you are to be truly free. In forgiving others you will come to understand forgiveness for yourself.
- You must come to accept God's forgiveness and know of His great mercy and love.
- You must come to forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness is about being able to suspend self-judgment and walk freely in the forgiveness accorded to you by God.
- After experiencing healing, many women desire to become involved in some activity that allows them to put life-giving energy back into this world in some way. We can help you to do that.
The key questions that a woman who is struggling after an abortion has to resolve are:
- Can my child forgive me?
- Can God forgive me?
- Can I forgive myself?
You must remember that, as part of closure, there will be times when you will feel sadness when you think of your child. That is normal. It does not mean that you are not healed. Rather, those tears will be a sign of your healing.
The healing process is often made easier when you are helped by others. We would like to help you or put you in touch with those who can help you. Please e-mail us or call us at 1-800-5WE-CARE. We're here to be with you as you journey to healing.