Men and Abortion

Father's stories
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I am currently 37 years old and a Father of 5 children. My eldest being 12 and youngest 4. My wife may also be pregnant in the early stages, making that 6 children to be blessed with.
As we do, we make decisions every day of our lives, some good, some poor, and at the age of 22 years, I was in a relationship of 4 years and got my partner pregnant.
Deep down inside I wanted to help support her and raise the child with her, but she wanted to focus on career and life goals and not go through with the pregnancy. As her partner, I was happy to support her decision because in the end, she was carrying the baby.
I knew it was wrong for me, but I didn't know the lasting consequences this decision would cause.
A year or so later, our relationship ended and I moved on. Unknowingly, I buried my feelings and emotions deep until I finally was triggered a few years back.
I suffered severe anxiety, depression and a range of mental anguish. I was torturing myself mentally and was not able to perform my daily tasks as a father and a business owner.
All this was due to the trauma of undealt emotions of this unfortunate event. That is where my wife found help through Rachel's Vineyard.
Thanks to Rachel's Vineyard I was able to work through my trauma. As a male, it may be thought that we don't suffer the loss of a child in the womb, but believe me, we do.
I was so scared of going to this retreat, especially as an only male as I thought, through the female eyes, "I wouldn't understand" or I would make them feel uncomfortable. All these thoughts came rushing to me to stop me from going, but I persevered.
Through the retreat at Rachel's Vineyard, I was able to see both the female perspective and express the male perspective. We were able to label our emotions, accept our decisions and forgive ourselves.
We were guided by a very understanding priest through this process who was really helpful and non-judgemental.
The most comforting and healing thing about the retreat was to know that I wasn't alone in this situation. We all shared the same feelings of shame and despair but we all supported each other too which was part of the healing.
I made some friends and till this day, we still remain in contact and are always supportive of each other.
I highly recommend Rachel's Vineyard to anyone who is affected by Abortion, whether you are the mother, father, grandparents or a family member.
     (*Bill is not his real name – we have used it for confidentiality)

Some letters from retreatants to their children.
To my brave and beautiful boy, Sam
Letting go of you is hard, but like you, I have to be brave and let you go and fly freely in heaven.
As you were a gift here on Earth you are a gift up there in heaven.
I am sorry from the bottom of my heart that you are not here.
I am sorry I wasn't there to support you and your mother during that beautiful time of her awareness of your presence.
And I forgive your mother for not allowing me to be aware of your presence on Earth, but I thank her from the bottom of my heart for telling me of your presence in Heaven.
You are a true spirit. A free and loving child and that spirit is embodied in my heart.
And you are with God as I am.
We are both in his arms.
And I rejoice in that!
So now Sam, all I have to do to know you're resting peacefully is remember God and his acceptance of my love and then I see you there still resting in peace as always!
Goodbye my boy.
Be free.
Love always
your dad

With Out A Face
To the girl without a face
Whose features I cannot trace
In my heart I have mourned
I wish, that day, you were born
The grief and shame that is near
Is the cross that I must bear
I think of you everyday
How you look; do you play?
Would you give me that time of day?
I am sorry for what took place
Will you extend some of God’s grace?
To the girl without a face
You hold a very special place
In my heart of hearts you dwell
This regret I cannot quell
I ask the Lord for a place
For the girl without a face
Whose features I cannot trace.
Love Daddy
(by a retreatant)
Dear Mat,
I am so sorry for the pain I have caused you and the rest of the people who mean so much to me.
I miss the opportunity to kick a football around the backyard with you and will never see you take those first steps through life.
There is not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and imagine who or where you might be today.
Fly, my little man, fly……
Dearest Patricia,
I would like to express my love to you. I do regret that I was not able to
show it. I was young then and very care-free; not knowing what was rightand wrong.
However, this does not mean that I am excusing myself of all myresponsibilities.
I know you would have forgiven me and that you are with Our Lord JesusChrist.
Please pray for me that I will continue to live this path of righteousnessespecially so that we can meet.
Within my innermost being I want to attain
eternal life in Heaven.
I have an adopted son and am trying my best to bring him up living as how Jesus Christ would like us to.
I am struggling to be a true disciple and wishing that I could help others
along this journey of life realizing that God loves us very much and would like us to be with Him.
With all my love,
P.S. I would like you to know that I’m sure mummy loves you too.

Dearest Michael,
Truly I cannot recall much about you. Maybe it was because I just
wanted to forget everything during that time. I must have gone
through too much anxiety and stress that I had a nervous breakdown.
It was all my doing and I sincerely apologize for the pain and anguish I caused you.
It was not mummy's fault but mine. So please forgive her. I ask for your forgiveness as well.
Just as I had written to your sister, Patricia, to pray for me, I alsoask for your prayers.
I sought healing and I have been living a committed life towardsmy present family seeking guidance from God daily: reaching out
to others as well as helping them in their journey to live righteously filled with love.
The retreat (Rachel’s Vineyard) that I am attending presently, helped me not to deny the existence of the two of you but to acknowledge
that you both are truly alive and in Heaven.
I love you,

Human Life Review, Winter 2003 by Alan Close
This article by Alan Close appeared in The Weekend Australian, Dec. 28-29, 2002. Alan Close, an Australain author relates his experience of lost fatherhood including several terminations.
He says: "I didn't choose not to have a child-how many of us do?-it is, rather, how my life has panned out. I'm 47, which means of course that I'm not too old. But if anything I feel readier now to be a grandparent than a new father. Watching men my age with small children, I have no doubt we were meant to do this business 10 or 20 years earlier, and I wonder whether emotionally and energetically my fathering days have passed.
I have been the father of several terminations, all but one of which were clear mutual decisions-as much as any can be. That one exception, however, was my girlfriend's last-minute choice. She had been my partner for several years but our relationship was in turmoil after we had become involved with other people.
I doubt we would have stayed together even if we'd had the child-a boy, we were certain, and already named Jack. But I also have no doubt that I would have parented Jack with every gram of dormant love that lies hardening in my bones now. He would have been 13 this month. I can imagine, too easily, his gangly cockiness, the sullen, aggrieved tone in his voice and, also too easily, the frustration and fierce protectiveness this arouses in me as his father."
See full text here

The great Australian novelist, Peter Carey, in an article in The Australian Magazine (October 14-15, 1994) entitled “My Lasting Wish”, reflected with deep sadness on his lost children.
His grief over the babies is palpable. Peter recalls how they were lost, through abortion and subsequent miscarriages. “Lately when I think of my children I have begun to remember not just the four-year-old, who is rattling on my doorknob as I write, or the eight-year-old whom I will take to a swimming lesson this afternoon, but those other children I have spent a long time trying to forget. These are the children from my first marriage, children a long time dead.”
His story is a familiar one, remembering how things were in the early sixties in Australia. Peter describes the illegal abortionist’s premises in a suburban house in Melbourne, and how he sat, with the mother of his girlfriend (later his wife) while she was in surgery. “While we sat on a park bench, ‘H.’ lost her baby. I met her afterward in the waiting room. She was strangely unchanged and yet also changed absolutely. She was pale and shaky, lost in her own pain.”
Peter and “H.” went on to marry and discovered, years later, to their horror that the abortion had resulted in an “incompetent cervix”, which caused their next two pregnancies to result in extremely premature birth for first one child and then twins – all of whom died soon after birth.
The story ends with Peter calling to mind how he was unable to give names to the children he lost – a way of holding the grief at bay -- allowing the ashes of his babies to be placed in a wall, unmarked: “I wish only that we had honoured those children with a plaque, a name. I will always wish that, forever.”

What is Post-Abortion Syndrome?
Post-Abortion Syndrome is a stress disorder commonly experienced by men who have fathered children who were aborted. Through the process of denial, some men block the natural process of grieving and dealing with the death of their children. They deny their responsibility for the abortion, and in so doing block the natural grieving process that must take place before healing can occur.
Who are these hurting men?
Abortion not only affects the father of the baby, but the grandfather, the siblings, and other relatives. Men who marry women who have had abortions are also affected by their wife's pain, even if they did not father the aborted child.
Why do men need healing?
It is always healthy for men who have been affected by an abortion to grieve the loss of their child and to find closure and healing from the wounds; wounds that are frequently unidentified as related to the abortion.
Why abortion hurts men.
Abortion denies a man's instinct for commitment, protection, and provision.
The guilt and fear from an abortion can erode a man's ability to trust.
Abortion may result in anger, anxiety, and errors in judgment. This can cause failures in present and future relationships with women, children, and others, and may diminish one's capacity as a father, a husband, and a man.
Abortion may cause men to fear that God will not accept or forgive them.
One Man's Story
It was June of 1981 and I was preparing to graduate from high school. I was like any other senior; full of expectations and looking forward to a great summer. Then my girlfriend told me she was pregnant. We both agreed that an abortion would be the best course to take because I felt we had other things to worry about, and believed we were too young to be parents.
After the abortion I felt a sense of relief, but that relief soon turned to feelings of disappointment and loss; and finally to a feeling of deep anger towards myself, my girlfriend, and everyone involved in the decision.
I have found forgiveness, healing, and an inner peace that comes from knowing God still loves me. I can finally stop beating myself.