…Abortion is a deeply traumatic experience and was so for me back in 1989. When I was in my crisis, my mother was gravely ill. I had no one to turn to, and those I did reach out to all said abortion was the best choice. I chose abortion because I felt it was my only choice, which means I had no choice. I went against everything that I believed in thinking it would spare my mother in her fragile condition.
To this day, I do not remember the actual taking of my child’s life. It was so traumatic that I left my body. Afterward, I remember thinking that now I had to pretend nothing happened and that I was fine, when in reality something horrific had happened and I was not fine. I was forever changed.
In order to continue to function and survive this trauma, I did what most all women do–enter the phase of denial. Women literally go through a time of forgetting the child within her womb; it was tissue, it was a blood clot and it was not yet a child.
This denial may last for ten, twenty and even many more years. Denial often manifests itself in many seeming unrelated ways, such as panic attacks, nightmares, difficulty in relationships, suicidal tendencies, start of or increase of drug and alcohol use and abuse and also reenactment in the form of repeat abortions. These are all symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome.
The walls of my denial started to crumble and fall after my mother died in 1994. I started to cry and just couldn’t stop. This deep grief was welling out of me, and I was having a hard time getting a grip on myself. I started to have panic attacks that were so bad I had to be medicated and nightmares were becoming a common occurrence.
All the denial in the world couldn’t change the underlying truth of how women [are created].. Children are literally and scientifically carved into the very fiber and being of a woman. There has been scientific research noting, that at the moment of conception mother and child begin to communicate on a hormonal level and this information is permanently recorded in the mother's brain.
I could no longer forget my child. I was acknowledging my longing and love for this child, who I was never able to hold to my breast, keep safe in my arms, and keep close to my heart. I wanted to dignify the reality of this precious one.
I finally found relief for this deepest pain and loss of mine through a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. The mother child bond was reconnected and I was able to dignify my child through a memorial service…
So, now when I hear the song, Isaiah 49, and they ask the question, “Would a mother forget her baby? Or a woman the child within her womb? The answer is no, she might be able to forget for ten, twenty and sometimes many more years, but the truth and reality of the child is carved and recorded permanently into her every fiber and being. She will never forget her own.
Susan N Gliko is a married stay-at-home mother of four living children. She is also the state coordinator for Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats in Montana.
If you or someone you know is hurting from a past abortion, there is hope for healing. For more information check out www.rachelsvineyard.org or call the national hotline 877-HOPE-4ME.