Almost everyone knows someone who’s had an abortion. Many people know someone personally who is suffering because of an abortion. If a friend confided in you tomorrow that she had an abortion, would you be able to respond in a way that brings her closer to healing?
How to Talk to a Post-Abortive Mother
If this is the first time your friend has told you about her abortion, she may be afraid that you will be critical or that you will repeat to others what she tells you. She must know that you are a real friend who cares about her, and that you are not sitting in judgment of her.
Before you talk to her, keep in mind: What does she need today?
- someone to listen?
- a shoulder to cry on?
- a referral to a professional counselor,
- a priest or minister?
- or even crisis intervention?
Begin by listening to your friend. Let her pour out the whole story without interrupting her. You don’t have to understand every detail. It’s important that she lets go of some of the burden she’s been carrying and that she no longer feels alone.
She may talk about:
- what happened at the facility
- rage and anger—at the boyfriend, her parents, etc.
- the facility personnel, God, herself
- guilt, regret, depression, nightmares
- alcohol or drugs to try to forget
- suicidal thoughts
- unbearable grief
- being alienated from her boyfriend, family and friends
- feeling that she doesn’t deserve to be loved or forgiven
Assure Her of Your Love and Support
Much as you’d like to make all her suffering go away with the right words, her grief and loss won’t disappear after one conversation. Assure her of your friendship. Tell her you will be there for her and help her find healing.
Post-Abortive Resources & Paths
Ask your friend if she has ever heard about help for people struggling after abortion. There are safe places where trained people can help her overcome grief and loss, and give her hope. There are counselors, priests and ministers prepared to help, as well as support groups and retreats. Offer her the name and phone number of the local Project Rachel. Give her this website: www.hopeafterabortion.com.
Even a woman who doesn’t go to church or think of herself as religious can be afraid that God will never forgive her for having an abortion. She should know that God loves and forgives those who are sorrowful. He wants to comfort them and give them his peace.
You might want to invite your friend to go to church with you, or ask her to consider talking it over with a priest or minister trained in post-abortion counseling. Some Bible passages and prayers relating to God’s love and mercy can be found at the Prayers section of this website.
Begin the Journey
Encourage her to contact Project Rachel for help. Visit www.hopeafterabortion.com for more information.
Assure her again of your friendship. Promise to be there, not only today, but in the future. Thank her for having the trust to talk with you. It took courage. Her healing journey has begun.
Helping a Friend Suffering in Silence
If you see a friend struggling with sadness and emotional turmoil and you suspect that abortion might be the cause, would you know how to offer help without being obvious about your suspicion? A suggestion: At an appropriate time and place, you might say something like this:
“ I found an interesting website that gave me a new outlook on abortion. I never realized the awful pressures women face in making that decision or how, afterward, they suffer, grieve and feel alone. There are programs, like Project Rachel, all over the country that help women struggling with emotional problems after abortion.”
Have information on local programs (address and phone number) on hand in case she asks for it. Or leave information where she can find it.