What happens in a marriage after abortion? Is everything all better after the "problem" of pregnancy was solved? No matter what language you speak, what race or nationally you belong to, how old you are, or what religion you believe in, the answer is the same: No!
The answer is "no" because a human life has been taken. The couple's child has died, and as in all cases involving the death of a child, the couple must eventually come to terms with their grief. Abortion grief is very much like any other grief, except that in an abortion situation, a relationship that was "bound together as one," has now been torn in two.
Abortion was a serious wound in my own marriage–one that left a tremendous scar. Before the scarring took place, however, the wound first bled, then it seeped and oozed and bled some more. Infection set in and gangrene soon followed . . . . The wound was ugly and painful, and it got worse before it ever got better. In order for healing to come, the wound had to be opened up and the infection scraped out. This resulted in many fights and arguments between my husband and me.
After an abortion, there first comes a stage of denial: "Go through life and pretend it never happened." This is how the mind and body cope with what has taken place, but the human mind can't forget that the abortion happened. It stuffs the information away into the subconscious. But it must always be dealt with later in some other, often very unpleasant, ways.
There is proven, documented evidence that tells us that women will suffer from post-abortion syndrome. They may be haunted by guilt and extreme sadness that manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including bad dreams and crying spells. These feelings will not just go away on their own. Sweeping them under the rug and having an unscathed marriage is an impossibility. Eventually the reality of the child's death can no longer be stuffed away in the subconscious.
In my own life, I reached a stage where I was consumed by vicious, verbal anger and intense blame which I pointed directly at my husband, blaming him for the death of our child. My grief and anger so consumed me that I could only focus on it and on how lousy I felt, rather than trying to save my marriage.
I watched a documentary once about a couple that had aborted their child. The woman confessed that when she walked into the waiting room after the abortion and saw her husband, she immediately hated him. She said that if she had had a gun in her hand, she would have shot him. I never wanted to kill my husband, but I sure had a lot of angry, hateful, hostile feelings toward him.
Abortion goes beyond post-abortion syndrome that affects the woman alone. It carries over into relationships, affecting how couples feel about each other. It even affects how you parent the children you decided to have and are now trying to raise.
Marriage vows are based on the idea of loving, honoring, cherishing and respecting each other. After an abortion, love can turn to hate, honor to dishonor, respect to disrespect, and cherishing to yesterday's newspaper.
What took an abortionist and his staff six hours to undo, took me 18 long years to put back together, both my life and my marriage…
Reprinted from The Post-Abortion Review, 10(2), April-June 2002. The Elliot Institute News, 12/04