Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stages of Grief


Source: Forgiven and Set Free by Linda Cochrane

Is grieving a normal and healthy response after an abortion? Absolutely. The child that was lost became a major loss through death. Grief is painful, but it is necessary in relieving our sorrow. After an abortion, women may attempt to bury their grief, turn off their emotions, and run from God. Eventually, they face the fact that abortion ended their unborn child's life.

The grieving that follows an abortion is similar to the grief of a woman who has a miscarriage. Both experience stages of denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. Both experience guilt, but the source of their guilt is not the same. Women who had a miscarriage feel guilty because they don't know what role they played in their child's death. Women who choose abortion feel guilty because they do know what role they played in their child's death.

For men, they are usually the silent, wounded warrior...suffering because they are not given a choice. Because they had no choice, they question their right to have feelings following an abortion. Make no mistake, abortion leaves both men and women wounded. They both struggle with fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, grief, and depression. For men, there is in most cases, an unexplainable need to defend their masculinity; that need causes much confusion and strife in most of their relationships and they don't even realize the effects of abortion was the root cause of their problems.

1st Stage of Grief
What usually goes through a woman's mind after having an abortion? "Thank God, I am not pregnant anymore." Men usually think, "Thank God, the pregnancy is over." Everything that has happened since she found out that she was pregnant and all the decisions since then, have now come to a's finally over. Now, you are left feeling relieved. But, it doesn't take long before the woman starts to rehearse over and over in her mind, what had happened to her and the child. What do I do now? You try to make sense of it all, but you start to fall into the next stage, denial.

2nd Stage of Grief
Denial is usually long-term and can lasts for many years. Why? It is too difficult to cope with the memories of your abortion. You start to deny that abortion killed your child. You may think, "No, I would never murder a baby. I just terminated a pregnancy". You may begin to think back when you were told that it wasn't really a baby you were getting rid was just a "blob of tissue". You find yourself justifying what you did.

For some women and men, denial ends when they are confronted with the truth of seeing pictures of fetal development. You tend to pay close attention to the stage of development that your own child was terminated. Other women come face to face with their loss when they have a wanted pregnancy. You may wander will this baby make it? I chose to abort a child, do I deserve a second chance? The answer is yes. God is forgiving and He is in the business of second chances. There will be consequences for what you did, but as long as remorse is in your heart, forgiveness from God will be rewarded. Many women and men desperately come to grips with the truth and finally stop running from God. They begin to seek Him from the depths of their hearts, searching for comfort that only He can give.

3rd Stage of Grief
In this stage, you start to realize the truth about abortion and you become angry. You start to question the actions of others and blame them for your loss. Your questioning begins... "The clinic should have told me the truth about fetal development; they should have told me about adoption, My parents should have been more concerned about me than what others thought, She shouldn't have chosen abortion, Men don't have any choice in abortion or Why didn't God stop me?" If your anger continues and you don't express yourself, it can turn into bitterness and interfere in other areas of your life. Anger is not a sin. It is a God given emotion to help you deal with problems. But, when you let your anger control you, then it becomes a sin. To get rid of this anger, the next step you must learn to do is...forgive.

4th Stage of Grief
In this stage men and women must learn to forgive the people and circumstances that led to their abortion. It becomes the hardest stage to overcome. But, in order for you to heal, it has to be done.

You start to come to grips with the truth and know that you cannot change the past or change others. What you can change is your own response to your hurt and anger. You can now begin to choose forgiveness. It is the unconditional type of forgiveness that leaves you free, with no strings attached. Then, you can learn to make room in your life for love. Love can conquer all fears and soften the pain. God's love is everlasting. Why? Because, God is Love. He can teach you how to love unconditionally and His love is forgiving and sets you free.

5th Stage of Grief
The roles men and women played in their baby's death can fill them with guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and self-pity. It is in this stage that harmful behavior such as excessive drug and alcohol use or suicidal tendencies are noticeable. Men tend to also have to deal with becoming more aggressive and abusive. In this stage, you may feel the need to punish yourself, which may show up in psychosomatic illnesses or you may become accident prone. Through these behaviors, you may attempt to ease the pain of guilt, but fail to do so. You began to blame yourself for not preventing the abortion; not learning the truth in time, not choosing life for the baby, and for not standing up for what was right. Men who chose abortion experience extreme guilt because he failed in his responsibility to his child and to his child's mother. In moving forward out of depression, you are no longer angry with yourself but have now accepted responsibility for what you have done. You now start to surround yourself with God's loving forgiveness.

Last Stage of Grief
By now, you have forgiven those who hurt you and have accepted God's forgiveness. You have acknowledged all the emotions that go with grieving and you have faced them head-on.

You begin to show gratitude for all that you have learned and want to share that experience with others. In acceptance, you are fully aware of what God is doing with your pain and watch joyfully as He turns it into a blessing. You have a deeper understanding of God's plan for your life. You wait patiently as He shows you how this painful experience with grief fits into His perfect plan. Is this a process that you would want to repeat? Absolutely not. But, if you learn anything, learn that it was God's love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that brought you through it all. You learn the true meaning of being forgiven and set free, even when you didn't deserve it.



  1. Job well done on an article that caring and non-judgmental. May God bless the heavy heart of those who have stopped by your page looking for answers.

  2. Thank you for the kind words and the blessing!

  3. I am a 42 year old mother of 3 daughters, now ages 6, 9 and 11. My husband is the eldest of 3 sons. We live in a small New England town north of Boston.
    The pressure to have a son was intense from the birth of our first daughter. My mother in law sent me, 3 months later, Shettles book, "How to Choose the Sex of your Baby". When our 2nd daughter was born, my husband told me he thought I had "an acidic womb". Because of the pressure, I wanted to find out with our 3rd. Upon seeing the sonogram, he left MAGen and detached for the next 16 months. When our beautiful, healthy daughter was just 7 days old in my arms, he told me, weeping, "I am not complete without a son".
    Hearing this after 3 pregnancies and deliveries and 2 miscarriages, was very, very hard.

    In November 2008, we attended a friends wedding- first weekend away in a long time, and I became unexpectedly pregnant. He wanted me to take a gender test at 11 wks; saying at week 13, if it was a 4th girl, he would want me to abort. I refused to take such a test.
    From that moment on, he was against the pregnancy, and blamed it on finances.

    I have carried grief ever since Jan 09. I wept so hard at the clinic, the social worker said, "You should not be here". I could not sign the admit form due to Coercion box Yes/No.
    But he was silent, reading Sports Illustrated. Totally detached.

    We are now separated and the sum parts of my experience has forfeited my marriage.

    Coercion is very common for many women, married or not.
    In my personal experience, there was no choice. It was an "un-choice".

    I've been in therapy often since and my mantle of grief over this has been consuming.
    I pray often for God's forgiveness, and there is a lack of literature due to the stigma and shame attached to abortion.

    Thank you for your websight.

    1. Dear Friend, your story is heart breaking! I am so sorry for the trauma and pain you have suffered....

      I pray for God to heal your heart, mind, soul and see you through it all in the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Forgiveness is a key element... forgiving your husband, forgiving his mother, forgiving the abortion people, forgiving yourself, forgiving God and then receiving forgiveness from the Lord. His grace is sufficient and his mercies are new each morning!

      "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

      Jesus is our only hope, our peace in the storm and He will never let us down. May the peace of God be yours today.

      Much love,

  4. I appreciate your page a lot. My heart is heavy with guilt for my loss. I have another child and I often imagine what my lost child would have looked like. He/she would have been all grown up by now. I just can't find forgiveness anywhere. I desperately want my lost baby back. Its so hard.....

    1. Even though the memory never leaves, I have found that the sting is softened by the grace, love and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord bring comfort and healing to your broken heart I pray.


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Over the years my opinions have changed but this will never change: Jesus Christ, Lord, God and Savior, died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for my sin.