Self-delusion won't bring joy and healing after abortion; only forgiveness will.
To a certain degree they may be succeeding. Many women who’ve had an abortion, in their quest to be accepted or feel normal again, or to heal from the pain of abortion, latch on to this illusion when they see women giddily proclaiming they are “regret free.” Those who promote themselves as being free of regret seem to be saying: “Hey look at me, I had an abortion and I am fine. Hey, not only fine but great!” And that message sounds very attractive to someone who is struggling every single day to live with her grief and guilt. Who wouldn’t then want to begin a process of self brainwashing so she, too, can wear the badge of regret free abortion?
Face it, no one wants to live with the excruciating pain of abortion. And I’m certain that there are some women who have “regret free” abortions. There’s a term in psychology for people who can harm others without regret or remorse—“sociopath.” But most who claim to be “regret free” probably have pretty good coping skills, i.e., defense mechanisms, such as denial and rationalization, that seal off the self-blame and suppress the memory of the abortion, perhaps for years. Do we really think it’s in the best interest of women to become callous or to have to expend so much energy trying to forget and trying to justify an abortion to themselves?
Regret free abortion sounds good in theory: no more pain, moving merrily along with life, but the implication here is that you can participate in the taking of your unborn child’s life and be happy about it, and that you will be able to stay ahead of your feelings and live in denial and rationalization for your entire life. No thanks.
This does not mean, however, that true healing and joy are impossible after an abortion. Absolutely not! A wise man once gave this advice to women who were suffering in the aftermath of abortion:
I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life.” (Pope John Paul II
, Gospel of Life, no. 99)
True healing and hope come from facing honestly what we have done and seeking forgiveness. With that comes a different coveted badge. The badge of the mercy and forgiveness of God; the badge of honesty, humility, peace, joy, and gratitude for true healing. Hope and healing do not come from denying the truth of what abortion is and what it does to one’s child and oneself.
Will it mean you will forget or not regret your abortion? The regret will always be there, as it should be, and in all honesty, do you really want to forget your child? The difference is, it will not be an anxiety-provoking regret, it will not trigger nightmares or addictive and self-punishing behaviors, because you have found the true peace of Christ. And with healing you can enter into a spiritual relationship with your child who is now living in the Lord and who one day you can hope to meet.
Your badge will be the true “Peace of Christ” which surpasses all understanding, and you will never feel the need to run, rationalize and deceive yourself again. Those suffering will see this in your face and know they have finally come to the truth that will set them free.
For more information about about healing after abortion, visit Lumina and Hope After Abortion. For more personal stories of women (2.5 million posts) who’ve struggled after abortion, visit http://www.afterabortion.org.