CHAPTER EIGHT

 

How Do I Cope With This
Feeling of Emptiness?

 

 

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"I felt empty . . . totally removed from the things around me.   Others carried on and I was different."

Liz

 

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he death of your baby has left a void.  Emotional numbing following an abortion is a normal defense mechanism against the onslaught of mental pain.  I believe it may occur before a woman recognizes her abortion was wrong as well as after the truth sets in.  It can be akin to that ini­tial relief.  You may have felt so drained from the decision and surgery that you simply felt void of all feeling: not at peace, but not in turmoil ¾ just drained of all emotion.  As realization set in, shock may have pro­duced an emotional withdrawal to protect you from the pain.

            As with the other negative emotions which beset you following an abortion, this feeling of emptiness is normal ¾ to be expected, understood, and dealt with.



Why am I so numb to things in life which should bring joy (i.e., marriage, children, success in finances)?

 

            If you have not completely dealt with your abortion, various aspects of it may still trouble your mind.  You may feel you do not deserve the joy and peace which your present life brings.  A bad expe­rience in your past, even though caused by yourself, does not necessarily negate subsequent good experiences or prohibit them from occurring.  However, we never find true happiness in life unless we first realize that all good gifts come from God (James 1:17).  He gives them to us because He loves us. 

            If God has blessed you with a husband and children, thank Him and ask Him to show you ways to love them.  If God has provided material comforts, thank Him for these also and seek to use them in ways glorifying to God.  You will find that a proper response usually changes your perspective.

 

 

Is life really worth living?  I contemplated suicide for several months.

 

            Your life is the most precious thing you possess.  It was given to you by God, just as your aborted baby's life was given to him by God.   Do you think that killing yourself would in any way compensate the death of your baby?  No.  Killing yourself would only be another sin against the God who loves and has forgiven you.  It is God who determines the length of our lives.  It doesn't matter that you don't see your life as worth living.  Your responsibility is to live it until God decides to take you home. 

            Although you may think dying now will be better than the life that lies ahead, the truth is, you don't know the wonderful things God has in store for you in this life (1 Corinthians 2:9).  Look for the good.  Focus on the positive.  I recently counseled a woman who declared that God had never done anything good for her.  Yet this woman was on a paid leave of absence from her job for an entire year in order to work through her problems; she had a close Christian friend (who had also had an abortion and understood the guilt and pain); and she had a pastor who sincerely desired to help her to resolve her spiritual and emotional conflicts.  This woman had spent so much time focus­ing on her negative feelings regarding her abor­tion, that she failed to see all the good that God was bringing into her life.

            Look around you my friend ¾ God has created a beautiful world filled with color and light and shapes and wonder.  Go to a zoo or a park.  Sit and contemplate the beauty of life.  Life.  The most precious gift of all. View life through God's eyes and you will see it is worth living.  The worth of life is not based on your income, your physical attributes, your problems, or others' views of you.  It is based on the fact that you are created in the image of God and that God deemed your life of enough value to send Jesus Christ to redeem you from your sins.

            Yes, you killed your own child, but you are not the only person on this earth to have commit­ted a heinous sin.  If things were as they should be, a "life for a life" would be just punishment for our crime.  But God in His grace and mercy has decreed you forgiven through Christ.  Christ bore your punishment.  Christ died that you might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). 

            Trusting God to "save" you includes so much more than avoiding hell.  God provides a means for you to live your earthly life in joy and peace.  I know how much you want that.  The Bible provides answers to problems which may have plagued you for years.  God wants you to live your life to its fullest.  God provides the answers, but He wants you to search His Word and to find and act upon them. 



Why do I no longer cry at things that used to make me cry?

 

            I think this is part of the general numbing you are feeling.  Your emotions have been anes­the­tized for a time.  Since you see your abortion as the saddest event possible, nothing else will move you to tears.  It will pass.



Why do I yearn so much for the baby?

 

            This, too, is normal.  Your natural mothering instinct has been abruptly cut off.  Unfulfilled.  Your baby was not only a separate living individual, but also flesh of your flesh.  You miss him as you would miss any living child that died or was removed from you.  You yearn for the completion of something begun. 

            Imagine you are listening to a magnificent musical composition.  But wait!  The orchestra suddenly ceases playing just before the final chord is resolved.  You feel the need to hum or hear the end.  Your abortion is like that orchestra which ceased playing.  It cut short the anticipated ending and you yearn for the completion.

 

 

Is it normal to want to have another baby to make up for the other one?

 

            Yes, but a word of caution must be given here.  Many women have "replacement" pregnan­cies within a short time following their abortions (or miscarriages).  They believe the new baby will make up for all the hurt and emptiness.  Remember, each baby is a unique individual.  He can never "replace" a previous child, nor should you expect him to do so. 

            Accept your aborted child as dead and irreplace­able.  Accept the fact you will always be the mother of a dead baby.



Should I have another baby?

 

            Yes.  But at whatever point in time you become pregnant, remember this new child is just that ¾ a new child.  Your job will be to love and nurture him without comparison to the child you aborted.



Is it truly wrong to fulfill this mothering instinct (that has nowhere else to go) with a dog?  Sounds dumb, huh?

 

            This question was submitted by a single woman with a sense of humor and a very real need.  There is nothing wrong with having a pet to love.  Although dogs and cats and other animals can pro­vide companionship and pleasure, they can never replace your need for human companionship. 

            If you look around, you will find plenty of outlets for your mothering instinct.  Instead of "mothering" a pet, consider focusing on human babies that need love.  Have you ever thought of vol­unteering to "mother" boarder babies?  Hospitals welcome people who desire to give these "unwanted" children the love and affection each human needs.  You could also extend your love to shut-ins or to people in nursing homes.  Establishing a relationship with a human being is a challeng­ing goal to work toward.  Take time to develop a relationship with another person.

            By all means, adopt a pet and love it ¾ just keep things in perspective.



How do I fill the void?

 

            You can fill the void by keeping busy.  Charitable organizations, work, school, parenting, reading, sewing, gardening, exercise, and a myriad of others things cry out for our attention. There is nothing wrong with this, but sometimes we do things in order to keep so busy we don't have time to deal with the problems in our lives.  Busyness should never serve as an excuse to avoid dealing with a problem.  I have a better suggestion to fill the very real void you are feeling.

            When Christ left this earth to return to heaven, He did not leave us empty.  He left another comforter ¾ the Holy Spirit.  If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit came to dwell inside you at that moment  (1 John 3:24).  He will never leave you.  He exists to guide, encour­age, and comfort you. Ask Him to fill you with purpose.  You will find new meaning in life as you seek to serve others, not out of desperation to fill the void in your own life, but out of concern to meet their needs.

            Behind the pulpit in my church hangs a wooden cross. I've always been struck by the fact the cross is empty.  Empty.  Christ no longer hangs on a cross, but is alive.  When God raised Christ from the dead, He was proclaiming, "I have accepted Christ's death as sufficient to pay the price for your sins."

            The beauty of the old rugged cross is that it has served its purpose.  Now the cross stands empty, boldly declaring to all who will listen and believe, "The price has been paid, through Christ you are free."  Because the cross is empty, I am full ¾ full of hope and joy and peace.


Your Thoughts

 

 

Before I read this chapter, I had a question about . . .

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In this chapter I have learned . . .

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To resolve my post-abortion trauma, I will . . .

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I need to talk to God about . . .

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A verse from the Bible which helped me in this chapter is . . .

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After reading this chapter, I have hope because . . .

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