Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mother’s Love – Mother’s Day Grief

This is from the newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries. I thought it should be passed on to more people.

By Susan Gliko

Many Churches have a beautiful tradition of giving honor to mothers on Mother’s Day. Often the Pastor will invite all mothers to stand at the conclusion of Church services for a special blessing; other Churches ask that mothers remain seated while the choir sings the song Gentle Woman that equates the beauty of motherhood with the mother par excellence – the mother of Christ.

For the post-abortive woman, Mother’s Day can trigger buried feelings of intense grief and loss. As she sits there and contemplates motherhood – listening to the words of the song - blest is the fruit of your womb, gentlewoman, and gentle mother - she is brought face to face with her past abortion.

When a woman chooses abortion it is an act of disintegration. The mind has to deny what is happening to the body. The mind buys the lie that the culture of death sells – abortion is a non-event, the removal of a blob of tissue, the solution to a problem and the end of a mere potential – nothing more.

The body and heart, on the other hand, have a different story to tell - which is that at the moment of conception mother and child begin to communicate on a hormonal level and this information is permanently recorded in the mother's brain. This conversation with the child, which is supported by scientific research, creates a conflict with what the woman is trying to deny in her mind. This conflict often plays itself out in post-abortion symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, drug and alcohol abuse, bouts of crying, anger, to name a few.

In other words, “From the earliest moments of pregnancy, a woman is physiologically prepared to attach to her infant... As this process is interrupted, the body has no internal mechanism to realize and process that the child did not live... maternal identity is often harmed...As grief begins to surface, the woman’s own pain and tears may prove to be the very evidence that she is a loving mother (whether to her living children or those in heaven). Her sorrow bears evidence that she cares deeply about all of her children. Had her aborted child or children lived, she would have provided this love.” Terry Lennox, RN, MA, LCCE, CLC

Mother’s Day can be a moment of grace. Through the contemplation of the truth of motherhood, the body and heart are able to speak to the mind and the mind is able to hear – a moment of re-integration – a moment to hear the truth that they have lost a child, not a blob of tissue. This is where the intense grief comes from.

So, as this Mother’s Day approaches, and the sting of the truth springs from hearts – remember that in the Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II says, “The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision [to abort], 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 into discouragement and do not lose hope. Try, rather, to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourself 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. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost, and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child who is now living in the Lord.”

Nothing is definitively lost - your child is now living in the Lord – you are a mother.


Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion are held internationally. Rachel’s Vineyard welcomes, women, men, couples, grandparents and abortion providers. Our retreats are held in both Catholic and Interdenominational settings. Rachel' Vineyard Ministries is a resource for clinical training, education, and healing models.

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