Having an abortion can impact areas of your life in ways you may not have anticipated. Some women unexpectedly encounter trouble bonding with children after abortion. If you are parenting other children, whether they were born before or after the abortion, your relationships with them may be affected. You may not be able to experience peace and the joy in motherhood that you desire. Please don’t think you are the only one who is facing this. Other women have felt the same way.
Restore group participants tell stories like these:
Amy: “I felt so guilty after my abortion that I could hardly look at my one-year-old. Every time I felt love for her, I also felt pain about the abortion, and the only way to bear it was to shut off love and pain together.”
Maria: “I was 17 when I had my abortion. When I got pregnant at 21 I knew I wanted to do things so differently… but trying to ‘make up’ for the abortion made my son and me both unhappy and unhealthy.”
Teresa: “I thought the problem was with my children. Why didn’t they respond to me the way they were supposed to? After attending a Restore group, I realized that the coping tools that had allowed me to function after my abortion had also pushed my children away. Now that I am forgiving myself, I am working on building healthier relationships with my kids.”
David C. Reardon, Ph.D., is director of the Elliot Institute and author of numerous books and articles on the aftereffects of abortion on women. His studies confirm insights revealed by women in post-abortion counseling.
“Unresolved feelings about a past abortion can often impede bonding with subsequent planned children,” Reardon said. “Some women report becoming overprotective because they fear God will punish them by allowing their children to come to harm. Others report a need to emotionally distance themselves from their newborns because the feelings of love that are aroused also give rise to intense feelings of grief and despair over the children who were not born.”
In an article published by the Elliot Institute, “Are Later Children Affected by Abortion?” Dr. Martha Shuping observes that after an abortion, some women fear harm coming to their other children as “punishment” for their abortion. They may hold back from loving their children to avoid being deeply hurt again should something happen to them. Dr. Shuping also points out that inadequate bonding with children creates a risk factor for child abuse.
Women’s Health after Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence , published by Canada’s DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research , states “Post-abortal women report that their ability to respond to the remaining or future child(ren) can be manifested in several ways: a feeling of emotional numbness which leads to a lack of bonding, acting out of hostility and anger which can result in child abuse, and considering future children as “replacement children” who become overindulged.”
Are you struggling with bonding with children after abortion? You don’t have to go through this alone. There is help for you at Restore After Abortion. We asked one of our clients: What did you need from the group experience that you did receive? Her response: “Support and knowing that I am not alone in this.”
Restore is here to provide abortion care in a setting where you can safely process emotional or relational issues after abortion. Whatever your need may be for post abortion healing, we hope you will allow us to walk beside you and assist you. Call, text or email us at 630-599-0043, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are waiting to hear from you.
Sources: http://afterabortion.org/1999/are-later-children-affected-by-abortion/; Coleman PK, Reardon DC, Cougle JR. “The quality of caregiving environment and child development outcomes associated with maternal history of abortion using the NLSY data.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2002; 43(6):743-757.; http://afterabortion.org/2001/abortion-may-affect-mothering-and-development-of-later-children/; http://www.deveber.org/text/whealth.html; http://www.deveber.org/text/chapters/Chap15.pdf; http://www.theunchoice.com/News/parentingreview.htm