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Dealing With Post-Abortion Guilt
==> QUESTION: One of my daughter’s close friends called me and told me that my daughter is hiding something from me that I need to know. She was pregnant and planned to have an abortion the next day without my knowledge. I talked to my daughter about it and she admitted it. I found out that many people at school knew about it and I was humiliated. She told me she was going through with the abortion regardless of what I said, and I could either support her decision or not.
We are active Catholics and it was completely against everything I believe in. I was extremely torn between my Catholic faith and wanting to make sure my daughter was safe. I was afraid where she was going to do this procedure. She was adamant that she could not raise a child, even with our help, and refused to give the child up for adoption. Her child would be biracial, Korean, and Hispanic, and she felt she would never be placed in a good home and would end up in foster care. Admittedly, I had no desire to raise another child at this point in my life. I know her child would become my full responsibility. In the end, I made the decision to go with her for an abortion. This whole decision was made in less than ten hours, because I found out about the pregnancy the evening before the scheduled abortion.
Ever since the abortion, I have been burdened with guilt. I haven’t been going to church because I can’t bring myself to go because I feel like a hypocrite. Every week I tell myself I’ll be back this week and then on Sunday I can’t go. She knows I’m not going and she knows why, and she feels very guilty about it. I know many parishioners at my church are aware of abortion because she has told so many people. I feel humiliated and ashamed. Did I decide to help her because I was worried about her or because I was worried about myself? I can’t get over my guilt, and if I had to do it all over again, I would refuse to go with her. I would do anything to make her not have the procedure. She had a few weeks to think about it, and I had a few hours. I deeply regret the decision.
I miss going to church, I miss my faith, but I don’t know how to come to terms with this. I know that people are people, many have already condemned us and I will always feel that everyone in the church knows what happened. My 13 year old son doesn’t know anything about this and I’m afraid someone will tell him. He wonders why we don’t go to church anymore. Both kids went to a Catholic elementary school affiliated with this church, we are lifelong members and I really don’t want to move to a famous church, I planned to be a member here for the rest of my life. I’m afraid to go and talk to my pastor about it because I’m afraid he’ll excommunicate my daughter and maybe me.
If you have any suggestions for me I would really appreciate it.
==> ANSWER: In situations like this, we have to ask ourselves: “Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?” So, do the pros of abortion outweigh the cons?
Benefits of Continuing Abortion – Some of the consequences of compulsory pregnancy and forced motherhood (ie unwanted children) are as follows. Child:
· has more emotional handicaps
· does poorly in school; has poor success
· they are twice as likely to have a record of juvenile delinquency
· is 4 times more likely to have a criminal record as an adult
· more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs
· 6 times more likely to receive social assistance between the ages of 16-21
· he has a worse relationship with his parents
· is at greater risk of being abused or neglected by parents
Disadvantages of Abortion-
· creates a feeling of regret and sadness
· it does not give the child in the womb a chance for life, so many religions look down on it
· abortion always reduces your chances of having children later in life
· the “mother-to-be” will always wonder “what if” and may feel some level of guilt for the rest of her life about the child she could have had
Regardless of her political persuasion, it always comes down to a very intimate, personal decision that no woman makes without some degree of emotional trauma. All options—abortion, or raising the baby, or allowing another family to adopt the baby—carry emotional pain and personal sacrifice. This is the price your daughter — and you, unfortunately — are paying for her poor choice to have unprotected sex.
Millions of women and men, both in society and in the church, suffer under the guilt of abortion. Almost every fifth woman who has an abortion declares herself a Christian. This means that every year a quarter of a million abortions are performed among Christians.
It is counterproductive to try to eliminate the guilt without addressing the cause of the guilt. Others may say, “You have nothing to feel guilty about,” but you know better. Only by denying reality can you avoid feeling guilty. Denial causes you to have an emotional breakdown whenever something reminds you of the child or grandchild you might have had. You need a permanent solution to your guilt problem, a solution based on reality, not pretense.
Conclusion: The good news is that God loves you and your daughter and wants to forgive you both for having an abortion, whether you knew what you were doing or not. So your first task is to accept his forgiveness, your second task is to then forgive yourself, and your third task is to forgive your daughter.
Also, I think you need to go back to your church and start attending services again. If you start getting some “bad vibes” from other church members, then find a church that forgives like your God did.
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