- Posted February 16, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Have you had an abortion?
Speaking Up For Post Abortive Siblings
My own journey started one night when mom said she wanted to talk to us. We had no idea what was coming. She began recalling a very dark time in our lives in which she became unexpectedly pregnant. I got a little more nervous hearing that. How did I not notice at that time? It must mean she had miscarried or something. Where was that baby now? Abortion never crossed my mind, as we'd been raised knowing it took a life, etc. Hearing her say that she had in fact had one, was incredibly shocking. But we could all see how sad she was, so went up and hugged her assuring her we loved her no less. In her great strength she answered our questions, telling us among other things, the date it happened, and the name she had chosen for him, Joey :) Having that information has made it so much easier to deal with in some ways.
The next day I found myself in emotional pain. I couldn't figure out the cause at first, but then I remembered the conversation the night before.
I spent the next 6 years doing my best to avoid thinking about him, how he died, etc. Easier said than done. Among other things, it became hard for me to acknowledge the youngest in our family as such, because Joey was now the youngest. While in one sense I wanted to forget him, I was very upset that he wasn't being constantly acknowledged. I also began thinking more about the fact that I was unplanned. Why was I saved and not him? Despite these issues, I never really resented mom. In fact, as with Joey, I became very defensive of her and while I was technically against abortion, I was also turned off to the pro life movement, believing it was basically filled with post abortive condemning graphic image wielders.
During those years there were also times of peace, do not get me wrong. But last year I decided I wanted it to be a more consistent thing and started looking around online to see what resources were available for us, post abortive siblings. I assumed there would be quite a selection. Nope. There was very little mention of our pain at all (from what I could find). I read about Rachel's Vineyard, but did not feel it would be a good fit for me. I wasn't ready to discuss my story in front of other post abortive parents and risk adding to their pain. Rather, I was really hoping to connect with other siblings like me. As there were not many options, I ended up writing a reflection on my experiences/feelings after the abortion (you can read it here: http://survivingsibling.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/reflecting-on-my-brothers-loss/) and sending that out to various groups. One went to Theresa Bonopartis with Lumina in New York. I asked her if she would read it at the upcoming retreat day for siblings (one of the only resources I found). She was so affected by what she read that she arranged for a few sponsors to get me out there!!! How awesome!! This was just about two weeks before the retreat and completely unexpected! I was excited and nervous at the same time!
The retreat was an amazing experience! It was my first time being with other people who could relate and I got to share my story, completely uninterrupted and without being judged! So freeing!! A beautiful release :) (I would love for all siblings to be able to experience that) Though we were only together for a few hours, I feel a strong bond with them and have been blessed to remain in contact. Since then, I've been even more determined to share my story and encouraging others to do the same. That has put me working in the very movement I once avoided. And while I have encountered some difficulty, the majority have shown great love, support and encouragement, etc.
Right now, my main source of outreach is on the internet, through my blog: www.survivingsibling.wordpress.com, my facebook pages: Abortion Hurts Siblings And Others and I Lost A Sibling To Abortion (a 'secret' group for other siblings), as well as other accounts on twitter, etc.
This has been one heck of a journey so far, but overall, I am filled with gratitude. Having gone through this has made me much more aware of the pain of others and taught me to watch what I say, And I have also made many wonderful connections.
While I have received much healing already, I still long for the day that there are many more resources immediately available for siblings. Retreats, support groups, etc.
I hope that my story has been able to inspire you in some ways! Peace.