Hurting After Abortion: After the Choice.

 One of the most ignored parts of abortion, by both sides of the argument, are its profoundly hurtful and detrimental effects on men and women throughout our society today. It is the “taboo subject” as those who have suffered through abortions walk about their daily lives, raw, unhealed, with their wounds still exposed. One out of four of us are suffering from an abortion today and this number is quickly increasing.  Who are these women and men? It is almost certain that you know someone who may be suffering after an abortion. It could be a sister, an aunt, a brother, father, or even you mother or grandmother who may be walking around with this deep hurt within them, afraid to seek help. 

 “I did not feel that I deserved to be forgiven for what I had done. I wanted to be punished, and since no one punished me severely enough, I punished my own self. I did not feel worthy of God's love or forgiveness,” said one unnamed Rachel’s Vineyard participant.  Many other women and men report and live out similar feelings of uncontrolled sorrow and self-condemnation.

 Those who have had abortions in their past are often plagued by uncontrolled bouts of crying, depression, deep guilt, intense grief, anger and rage toward the opposite sex, emotional numbness, sexual problems or promiscuity, eating disorders, low self esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, nightmares or terrors, suicidal urges difficulty keeping relationships, anxiety attacks, flashbacks, multiple abortions, discomfort around babies or pregnant women, and fear or ambivalence, or lack of bonding, in pregnancy.  All these symptoms, together or separately can make abortion a difficult part of a woman or man’s past and present.

 

But there is hope.  There are programs that offer a precious opportunity for healing to any woman or man who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion.  A nonjudgmental and gentle encounter for those who attend, Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat weekend is a chance to get away from the daily pressures of work and family. It gives those who attend many tender opportunities to focus on a painful time in life, and to begin healing through a compassionate process. Many women and men who previously felt fear, sorrow, loneliness, self hatred, and abandonment, are now able to find peace, forgiveness, love, relief and support from others who truly understand.

 “This retreat is much needed in our world,” one Rachel’s Vineyard participant said, “it was a wonderful…listening to others’ stories gave me strength.” As each woman and man experiences this healing, this hope, this joy, never forgetting what has happened, but finding peace and hope, Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats will continue to grow.  It is now the largest international post abortion healing program, with all of its retreats formed on a grassroots level.  One of these opportunities is in Mobile.

 “Sharing all the heartache was the most meaningful part of this retreat—turning sadness into joy,” one anonymous retreatant from Mobile, AL shared, “This was a cleansing experience, and I was finally able to confront my sins, forgive myself, and give my baby to God.”

 Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, written by Theresa Karminski Burke, PhD, focuses on God’s love and forgiveness in a nonjudgmental environment. Based in Catholicism, the retreat is open to and welcomes people of all denominations. In Mobile, Rachel’s Vineyard is administered by experienced and trained retreat facilitator, a thoughtful and gentle priest, and a professional psychologist in a very private location.

The retreat is an extraordinary opportunity for any person who struggles with the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion to journey into a place of healing.  The weekend will help many souls find a voice, and transform the pain of the past into hope. For a registration or for more information, call Beth at the Catholic Center: 251-434-1550 ext. 18, or email bburgess@cssmobile.org  All inquiries are kept strictly confidential. For more information, or to contact the national site: www.rachelsvineyard.org

 

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