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Are there any retreats for men only who have suffered loss from abortion (that their wives may attend). My marriage has suffered near death from this scourge, and I was clueless.
Wife

There are not separate retreats for men and women. The retreats are open to both. Some people are intimidated and express concern about being on retreat with the opposite sex, often times because it was a person of the opposite sex who hurt them. But what I have experienced and witnessed is how the retreats remove that distrust toward the opposite sex. I have also seen some couples attend a retreat together, while others choose to go on separate retreats individually. If you are interested in going together, I would encourage you to do so. Even if your husband's abortion is from a previous relationship, it has still affected you and the two of you would benefit greatly from attending. Read this for more about couples who attend together:

http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/qa/question-list1.aspx?forumID=8


do babies go to heaven or to limbo if they are aborted.


Anonymous

http://voices.yahoo.com/pope-benedict-xvi-changes-catholic-churchs-stance-311194.html

This is a good summary on this issue. See if this answers your concerns.

God Bless

Kevin


Many years ago before we were married, we had an unplanned pregnancy and chose abortion. Two children and 35+ years of marriage, I have come to decide that abortion is wrong - my husband still feels that women should have the option. I don't know if he is taking this stance to protect what we did years ago. Are there any books etc that I might use to help convince him? Thanks
pat

Dear Pat,

It is possible your husband is attempting to justify past actions, and it can be hard to reason against this mindset. What is important for him to understand is that abortion is a much bigger issue than just a "right" to choose. We have the choice to go to work each day or stay home. We have the choice to watch TV or read a book. We have the choice to eat or not eat. These are choices that affect no one but ourselves. However, in the case of abortion, the choice to end a pregnancy impacts mutiple lives... the child who is aborted, the mother, the father... the list goes on. Abortion is more than just a women's issue... it is a human issue. One of the best books I've read that counters common abortion arguments is "Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments" by Randy Alcorn. Here is a a great summary of the most heard arguments: http://www.mfc.org/legmanual/abortion%202.pdf. You can purchase this book online here: http://shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-B0587.html?E+scstore. It's a great book and I encourage you to add it to your own library.

As for men and abortion, we are only recently beginning to see more and more men and experts speak about about abortion's effect on men. In fact, today they are holding the second annual conference on men and abortion called "Reclaiming Fatherhood". Visit the conference website here: http://www.menandabortion.info. It is very common for men to block out past abortion experiences and go through life pretending it didn't have some adverse affect on their lives. Perhaps this is your husband's situation. But as more men are breaking out of this stereotypical shell and telling their stories, more people are starting to pay attention. You can see some of these stories here: http://www.fatherhoodforever.org/stories.html. You can also get Kevin Burke's book "Redeeming a Father's Heart" here: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/men/resources/Redeeming-a-Father-Heart.htm. Another really good book about this subject is "Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing". You'll find it online here: http://www.lifecyclebooks.com/usa/product_details.asp?PRODUCT_ID=2072P.

I hope this helps, Pat. And remember that you are always welcome to attend a Rachel's Vineyard retreat as a couple. You can read more about this in a previous post: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/qa/question-list1.aspx?forumID=8. May God bring you abundant joy and peace.


i am 17 years old and my boyfriend(now 20) whom i have been dating for the past four months just told me the other day that he assisted his ex-girlfriend in aborting their baby. i am strictly pro-life, no exceptions. he has changed his life around and the relationship him and i share is pure. we are both devout catholics. he is disgusted and guilty about what he has done but he refused to go to confession or talk to a priest, all the while he recieves communion every sunday at mass. the reason he will not go to confession is because he says that if he were in the same situation or had another chance he doesnt think that he would change anything, as his life today would be completely different. yet he hates himself for it. he realizes that he cannot just go to confession and put it behind him, he must be truly sorry for it. i desperatly want him to go to confession and be a better person but i dont know how to help him.

i am the only person who knows about it besides him and his ex. how can i help him?


meg

The self-hatred and struggle to go to confession is rooted in unresolved grief and loss from the abortion. He needs to have a safe place like the Rachel's Vineyard Retreat to grieve the loss of his child, his role is the abortion decision and have an outlet for those powerful feelings. Once his heart is open by this experience, he will be able to embrace the sacrament of reconciliation. Please encourage him to go to the men's section of the website and begin to explore how this effects men and encourage him to go on a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. This retreat process works beautfully with men. You could attend with him as a support to him if that would help.

He should read Redeeming A Father's Heart--on our website there is more info. He needs to understand the ongoing costs of not grieving fully and healing this loss. The good news-with healing he will be blessed abundantly in his life. That is the generosity of our God that even when we fall away he calls us back with love and mercy.

Kevin



I'm 52 years old and have been married 31 years with two beautiful daughters. Before my daughters were born, I was a part of two abortions. My wife felt it wasn't the time and I just accepted that decision and didn't think twice about it. Over the years, I find I think more and more about those babys and as I have found myself closer and closer to the Church and God, I am feeling enormous guilt and grief. The thought that I was part of this is more than I can bear sometimes. I don't see how I could ever be forgiven much less ask for forgiveness for what I've done.

I thank God for you folks and I wonder. Is there any way I can truly be forgiven and believe it? Can I shed myself of this enormous guilt?

Sincerely,

Michael

Michael

Hi Michael,

Thank you for writing and reaching out about this pain you've been carrying for so long. It is important to remember that forgiveness is available to anyone who 1 - belives in Christ and that he suffered and died for our sins (Acts 10:43), 2 - that you are able to acknowledge the things in your life that require forgiveness (Romans 3:22-23), and 3 - that you forgive those who have hurt you (Luke 11:4, Mark 11:25 and Matthew 6:14-15). If you pray the Lord's prayer, given to us by Christ himself, with all your heart and soul, then you have already received God's forgiveness. But have you forgiven yourself? C.S. Lewis stated in one of his writings that if we know that we are forgiven by God, but are not able to forgive ourselves, in essence we are placing ourselves in a position higher than God.

I have witnessed first-hand how God takes the bad things that we have done or have happened to us, turns them around and uses them for good. Even Jacob understood this when his brothers came to him begging for his forgiveness (Genesis 50:18-21). So to answer your questions, yes you can believe you are forgiven... again, that's why Christ came to us... to free us. Once you accept His forgiveness and learn to forgive yourself, you can shed the guilt and begin to deal with your grief.

I would strongly encourage you to attend a weekend RV retreat. Christ's presence is very strong on these retreats which may help you better understand and feel his forgiveness. How is your wife doing with this? It may prove to be very helpful for both of you to attend and work through this together since together you are one. Be sure to check out the Retreat Schedule at rachelsvineyard.org.

Peace,

Jason Baier


My son and his wife separated after just a few months of marriage, and she aborted their child. His life is spiralling out of control---drinking to excess, feelings of hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, financial ruin, legal issues when he drinks...

Would just one weekend help? Please help us decide what to do for him!

Kris' mom

I am very sorry to hear of this very painful situation your son is struggling with and for the loss of your grandchild.

The first thing that needs to happen is that he receives immediate intervention for his depression and alcohol abuse. He needs to see a counselor,psychologist,or psychiatrist immediately and begin treatment. You can ask your family doctor for a referral or contact your local Church or Diocese Catholic Charities for assistance. Your local phone book will also have mental health emergency services contact information and referrals for your community.

Once your son is stabilized and getting the support he needs for his life threatening depression and alcohol abuse he can schedule a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. Keep in mind that many secular counselors may not acknowledge his abortion loss as an area that needs healing. You should affirm and support his need to attend to this area of loss with a retreat once he is stabilized.

The retreat would be a powerful experience of grace and healing for you son and will give him strength to continue to treat his depression and alcohol issues. But again, he needs immediate treatment for his emotional pain and alcohol abuse.

Please keep in mind that you are also welcome to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat to grieve and heal of the loss of your grandchild. The grace and strength you will recieve from this experience will assist you in your efforts to support you son. The retreat contact and registration info is on the website www.rachelsvineyard.org

My prayers go out to you and your son for healing and reconcilation.



For Years I promoted birth control and was foolish regarding sex and relationships. I don't know for sure if I caused an actual abortion but the grief and loss I feel from just using and abusing birth control is tremendous . In my dreams I have visions of hundreds of lost children ....so heres my question

Can Rachels Vineyard help me ?

Patrick

Thank you for your important question Patrick. If the women you dated were using the pill or another abortifacient form of birth control, then it is quite possible that you conceived children that were aborted at a very early age. Also, women do not always inform men of their abortion decisions, especially when knowledge of the pregnancy takes place after the relationship breaks up. It is possible that your dreams are calling your attention to these issues.

There is no way of knowing for certain how many children were lost if any. However I think it is very appropriate to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat to grieve any children lost to abortifacient contraception, and to repent and grieve your promotion of birth control methods.

You can find info on retreats and contact info at www.rachelsvineyard.org

Take care.

Kevin Burke

RVM



Would a man benefit from attending a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat? I am not the father but I am open to coming on the weekend to be a support to my wife.
Steve

Any man would benefit greatly from a retreat with his wife. The retreat process will powerfully but gently open your eyes to the ways your wife has been suffering. It will also open your heart to grace and healing for yourself and your marriage.

Men can be encouraged to come when they understand the benefits to their marital relationship. Couples who attend the retreats together report a significant increase in the quality of their spiritual, emotional and physical intimacy.

There is a steady increase in individual men and couples attending our retreats along with individual women. All retreat sites welcome men and couples to attend. We have experienced that healing as a couple greatly enhances the healing for all involved and is a real blessing and encouragement to all participants.

In Michigan a retreat was recently held with 20 participants. In that group there were 4 couples attending. All of the husbands were not the father of the aborted child, but attended in support of their wives. They made the journey through the retreat process together and on Sunday the husband "spiritually adopts the child" who is welcomed and accepted as part of their family. This is a very beautiful and healing experience. They bond with one another in the experience of repentance, conversion, healing and resurrection-- which again has profoundly positive effects on their marriage and is an ongoing blessing to their family life and relationships.

Below are some excerpts from a few couples who attended a retreat together:

What a remarkable movement of God and wonderful privilege for me to witness God's healing touch on our marriage. We did break into smaller groups during the sharing of stories. (Couples in one group, and all women in the other) During the anger portion of the retreat, we broke up into two groups; men's only and women's only. I appreciated the opportunity to be together and apart at different times during the retreat.”

A husband writes: "I am very grateful my wife included me in her weekend. My wife really opened up with me about her experience. She's always been upfront with me about it. But this weekend I was able to truly see her soul regarding her pain. I also witnessed the incredible love she has felt for her daughter. I am so grateful for her."

A wife writes: "I cannot imagine any words to describe how my life and marriage has been completely changed by this weekend. God's power was truly felt from the moment we drove thru the gate! Having my husband and best friend go thru this weekend with me was also incredibly special. Thank you for allowing this 'post-abortion healing' weekend to include our spouse if we needed or wanted him to be here!"

Someone else writes about the most meaningful things: "One of the greatest benefits I received by doing the retreat with my spouse is the gift of a new friendship and spirituality that we now share in our marriage."

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