CHAPTER NINETEEN

 

How Can I Help My Husband
Deal With My Abortion?

 

 

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"We have a continent of men who have shared with their mates in this decision in one way or another.  And the hurt is as deep." 

Wendy

 

A

n abortion affects many people.  It is my personal desire that the people affected by my abor­tion resolve their feelings and put my abortion behind them.  But the person I most want to understand and fully accept my abortion is the man with whom I share my life ¾ my husband Leigh. 

            For some of us, our husband must learn to accept our abortion as something of which he had no part.  For others, abortion was an act which affected both of you intimately because your husband is the father of the baby you aborted.  In either instance your husband may or may not have known about your abortion prior to your marriage.  Yet in both cases, our men live intimately with a woman who is in the daily process of learning to accept the fact that she killed her unborn baby.  Our hus­bands must cope not only with our pain, but also with their own innermost feelings regarding this act.

 

 

My husband is the father of my aborted baby.  How can I help him to grieve?

 

            Grieving is a personal expression of a loss.  Your husband's grief may be expressed differ­ently than your grief.  He fathered the baby biologically.  However, a man can never share the inti­macy of carrying a child within his body.  Therefore, the reality of it being a baby, his baby, that you killed, may not come readily to him.

            Talk to your husband about your feelings.  Tell him what it was like carrying a baby in your womb.  Tell him why you know it was a baby rather than just a blob of tissue.  Show him pictures of an unborn baby's development.  Share ways you found to grieve.  Encourage him to forgive people involved in your abortion.  Be sensitive to his needs.  Try to help him open up, but don't force the issue. Touch each other physically and emotionally.  Cry together.  Pray together.  If your husband is not a Christian, share your faith in Jesus and tell how He has helped you. 

            Second Corinthians 1:3-4 encourages us with these words:  "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (NIV).

 


My husband (not the baby's father) seems ambivalent towards my abortion.  Doesn't he care?

 

            If you  still  carry  guilt about your abortion, you may believe your husband should feel guilty too.  Yet your abortion is part of his life only because it is part of yours. Your husband can't know your innermost feelings until you share them with him. 

            Following are my husband's thoughts from several years ago: 

The abortion only affected me indirectly since it was not my child and I was only related to the situation after the fact.  The only effect was concerning my wife's reaction to it.  However, at the time I was still somewhat indifferent toward the idea of abortion.  It affected our relationship when she was unable to come to grips with the guilt and ill feelings that began to emerge.  She began having nightmares and any discussion of the subject was strained and extremely difficult.  Even being in a room where the topic was being discussed was unbearable for my wife.

            Part of Leigh's indifference was due to the fact that he didn't know how to deal with me.  That caused him to retreat from discussing my abortion in order to avoid agitating me.

            One wife writes, "My husband (not the aborted baby's father) won't open up with me, or is unable to share any emotion in this.  I only told him about it last year, after nine years of marriage.  He was very sweet and understanding that 'we all make mistakes,' but that's as much as he's cared to dis­cuss it."  Whatever you do, don't belittle, berate or badger your husband.  Give him time to adjust to your abortion.  It is possible your husband truly accepts your abortion as part of your past.  Be thank­ful.  Many women struggle with husbands who refuse to let their wives forget about their past sins.



Can my new husband ever really know the depth of my pain, the scarring that lives in my heart and the emotional aftermath?

 

            No person other than you can ever fully comprehend what you have endured because of your abortion.  But your husband can come to respect your feelings if you take time to explain them.  Linda writes:  "I'm not sure he understands the pain it still sometimes brings, but he is supportive and that is more than I prayed for."



Why doesn't my husband (it was his baby) grieve as I do?

 

            Each person grieves differently.  Men in our culture have been conditioned to keep their emo­tions in check.  It's important that you don't force your husband to "feel" as you do.  It would be wrong for him to pretend to grieve just to satisfy you.  Remember, for some people, grieving takes longer to begin.  Also keep in mind that although your husband may not grieve as you do, he may grieve as intensely as you.  


            Phyllis Lefort explains: 

We never talked about the abortion with each other or to anyone.  Both of us avoided the subject as much as we could ¾ excusing ourselves from conversations, turning off TV or radio programs, reading nothing but titles.  Twelve years we kept it secret.  One day while having tea with two Christian friends the subject of abortion came up.  I got up and went to another room and wept.  I couldn't handle the silence any longer.  Slowly I began to tell these two friends the whole story.  A while later I talked with [my husband].  I was amazed to find out that he was carrying around a lot of guilt and the same feelings I have had he also had.  [My husband], unlike most men, is very open and shares his feelings and thoughts even more than I do. . . . Each time deeper feelings came out and more details came out and slowly, step-by-step [we were] being healed.

            Your husband may have wanted the baby you aborted.  He may resent the fact he had no legal recourse.[1]  Then, too, at the time of your decision, he may have felt boxed into a corner ¾ a tradeoff faced him.  He may have felt he had to sacrifice the baby to meet your need or to save his relationship with you.  It may be that he has grieved longer inside than you realize.

 

 

My prospective fiancé knows the situation and used to be friends with the guy.  He has a hard time dealing with it.  How can I help him?

 

            The father of my aborted baby was Leigh's fraternity brother.  I know is was difficult for Leigh to socialize with "Tim" (as I shall call him), to know I had slept with him, to know Tim had ignored his responsibility.  Leigh had to resolve his anger and hurt just as I had done.  He had to learn to forgive Tim for the wrong he had done to me and my baby, and to forgive me for my acts of fornication and abortion.  As long as your husband refuses to forgive, bitter or angry thoughts about you and your abortion will continue to fester inside of him.

            Forgiveness is a personal and individual choice.  Explain to your husband why you chose to forgive and the weight that was lifted from you because you forgave.  Then let your man make his own decision.

            Because of our situation at college, Leigh and I were constantly thrown into contact with Tim.  It was especially difficult for Leigh because he knew I still had strong emotional attachments to Tim.  Added to this was the fact that as the years went by, I often spoke of Tim when discussing my abortion.  The advice I want to give is, try to avoid contact with and discussion of your aborted baby's father.  I know this will not be possible in many cases.  The father of your aborted baby may be a close personal family friend or business associate.  Also, although your husband may never meet your aborted baby's father, it may be necessary for you to speak of him as you talk through your abortion aftermath.  If your husband refuses to listen, respect his wishes.  Do your talking to a minis­ter or a woman friend.  Although talking about events and people concerned with your abortion helps you, some men have not reached the point in their lives where they can calmly discuss their woman's relationship with another man.  It takes more than maturity to handle what we are asking our men to hear.  It takes supernatural understanding.

            But God's grace is sufficient.  One husband and wife have dealt so completely with her abor­tion, that they are now close friends with the father of the aborted baby and his wife.  This living example of Christ's power to mend hearts and restore relationships stands as encouragement to each of us that any conflict can be reconciled.



How do I deal with a husband who wants to ignore his responsibility in the abortion?

 

            Your job is to love your husband and be the godly wife God wants you to be.  It is God's responsibility to "deal" with your husband regarding his part in your abortion.  Pray for your hus­band.  Submit to him.  Do not be bitter toward him.  God says not to let the sun go down on your wrath ¾ in other words, resolve your feelings of anger and resentment before you go to bed.

            If you believe you must "deal" with your husband's improper reaction to your abortion, your husband may eventually resent you for your intrusion.  First Peter 3:1-2 offers wise counsel: "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedi­ent to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior."



Since my husband was involved, how do we move to a new, trusting relationship?

 

            In order to move to a trusting relationship, you and your husband must seek forgiveness from God and from each other for your abortion.  Then you must choose to accept the abortion as part of your past.

            One post-abortion father told me with tears in his eyes that the responsibility for the abortion he and his wife consented to is not fifty-fifty.  "Pam," he said, "Each of us is one hundred percent responsible for our action.  I only thank God He has forgiven us."


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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[1]  It is ironic that in the United States of America men have no legal recourse to save their unborn baby's life, and yet men are required to support the child even if they wanted him aborted and the woman chose to give birth.



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