Talking About a Past Abortion with Kids

Do you feel inclined to speak with your kids about an abortion in your past?  Whether this pregnancy came to an end before or after your children were born, whether they knew about it at the time or have any memory of the experience, perhaps now feels like the right time to have this conversation.  Maybe you believe that this is an important part of your family’s history.  Or, your kids are getting older, and you don’t feel comfortable letting this information remain undisclosed.  Any person who feels a tug to engage her kids around this subject has unique, valid, and private reasons for desiring to come forward.  But approaching the subject of a past abortion can be very difficult (needless to say)…  especially when addressing young people who may be emotionally affected.

Helpful Tips

Any person who’s had an abortion decision needs to decide for herself whether telling her kids is a good next step, how to present this news to them, and what specific details to share.  This may depend greatly on the family members’ personalities, relationships, and ages/developmental stages.  Every situation is totally unique.  However, these general tips may help you approach this conversation with greater clarity and confidence.

  • Be clear and concise. If this is the first time your kids are hearing about your abortion, it may be wise to begin by presenting the broader facts.  It’s okay to stick with the basics and create space as needed for follow-up conversations later on.
  • Be patient. Your kids may need time to process this news.  That’s okay!  Their initial responses may be different than the responses they show once the news has sunk in.
  • Be open-minded. Your kids may have questions, and those questions may be hard to answer.  It may be helpful to consider what kinds of questions your kids may ask and how you’d like to respond before the conversation takes place.  If your child asks a question that you don’t feel comfortable answering, it’s okay to say something like, “Thank you for asking, but Mom doesn’t feel ready to answer that question right now.”  Generally, it’s wise to be honest and transparent without over-disclosing.
  • Consider tailoring the conversation to each child. Again, it’s important to customize the conversation according to your kids’ personalities, relationships with you, and ages/developmental stages.  If you’re not sure what’s appropriate, take some time to reflect on this and consider speaking with another adult who knows about your abortion experience, and knows and loves your kids.  You could also speak with someone like a mental health professional.

Restore After Abortion is here to navigate your post-abortion recovery process by your side.  We’ve been offering free support to individuals struggling with post-abortion stress for over twenty years, and we’d love to become a part of your support network too.

Contact us to learn more about our support group and one-on-one opportunities.  There’s hope and healing in the wake of an emotionally painful abortion experience.  And we’re available to help you discover it.