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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

We are a team of 20-somethings brought together by a common faith in Jesus Christ and employment in our parent organization American Family Association.

How to Minister to Post-Abortive Mothers

Ashley Gillespie
Writer and customer service expert

I don’t remember much from that November morning, but I do recall the eerily still and silent ultrasound screen. At that moment, the technician confirmed that I was in the beginning stages of miscarriage with our eight-week-old baby. Instantly, my dreams of a baby, along with the idea of my new life as a mother vanished. The nurse looked at my husband and me and gave a response that was intended to soften the blow of the reality that I had feared: “I don’t see a heartbeat today.”

My mind searched for answers. I was completely bewildered. Less than a week prior, my mother and I had gone for an ultrasound appointment. We not only saw my baby’s growth but had heard its heart beating: a strong 120 beats per minute. Fast-forward five days later and my sweet baby, our first child, was dead.

This is Engage’s emphasis week on the sanctity of the lives of the unborn. I can only imagine what kind of pain a woman must feel after having her pregnancy terminated. While my pregnancy ended naturally, it was gut-wrenching and has caused me to mourn as I’ve never mourned before. While as a “Pro-lifer” I may not begin to understand the heart of a mother who has undergone an abortion, I can see glimpses of the kind of grief she must encounter afterward as I still endure the heartbreak of my miscarriage. I feel like we are often so gripped by the loss of babies’ lives that we forget about the mothers that are still here. If you, like me, have experienced the loss of a child, whether, through miscarriage or untimely death due to an accident or illness, we have the unique opportunity to minister to these ladies because we have some similarities. If you have not experienced either of those things, I would like to challenge you to see abortion a bit differently than the media displays it. I would encourage you to develop a gospel response to this issue. To do so, we must take a look at the women and their circumstances, acknowledging their pain and grief, and providing them with the support system they need.

I believe there is a gospel response to women who have had abortions. Of course, our reactions should never be judgmental or smug. Most of us have no idea what circumstances these women have been put through. These women and young girls often live in environments that are of the stuff of nightmares. Instead of writing these ladies off for their poor choices, we should be willing to embrace them with open arms, accepting them and forgiving them as Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). During my miscarriage, the only hope I had was in the sovereignty of God—knowing that while I do not understand His plan for my life, I can hold on to the fact that He will take care of me, even when bad things happen. Many of these women do not have that kind of comfort. In fact, they may see God as absent or even angry. It is here where we can share in the mighty work of Jesus and the forgiveness He offers, which is the only answer that can bring comfort and peace.

Abortion has become more than just a political stance for me. I, like many others, hear the statistics of abortions around the United States. We hear the number of the lives lost, and while that number is gigantic, it’s also impersonal—especially for someone who hasn’t been personally affected by abortion. Abortion became less about the act and more about the women it was affecting after my miscarriage. As a result of my miscarriage, I have begun to see them like me. They mourn as I do. They experience the same waves of deep depression out of nowhere as I do. They lash out in their grief as I do. However, many of these women choose to cover up the wounds they have and repress their grief, feeling that they do not have the right to be saddened by the loss of their child. After all, many feel like murderers. Despite the feelings of guilt, the road to their restoration is paved with the healing that comes from being able to grieve and feel the sorrow of the life that they’ll never know.

I have been blessed with amazing support from my husband, family, friends, as well as my church family and co-workers. But what about the mother grieving over her aborted baby? It is so important to support ministries like Surrendering the Secret, who provide a biblically-based abortion recovery program that allows them the support they need. Here, women with similar stories can come together to receive freedom from their past through real-world, biblical principles. From the testimonies, some women have rekindled their relationship with Christ through this program, and some have committed their lives to Christ for the first time, now being able to experience joy at the hope that they will one day see their babies again.

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