We have seen many married couples attend the weekend
together. Some whose spouses participated in the abortion, and
others who were not involved with a previous abortion, but who
come as a support person. The results have been exceptionally
positive and all report an increase in communication and
intimacy after the weekend. There have also been individuals who
decide to come with one or both of their parents, specifically
if the parent forced their daughter to have an abortion or if
the decision was made based on fears or disapproval.
Naturally, the damage to family relationships can be opened
for healing in Rachel's Vineyard The weekend is a unique
opportunity to address this pain and reconcile the experience
with each other. So we gently encourage you to consider this
option, but will always respect your unique circumstances if you
decide this is not what is best for you. There will always be
opportunities in the future to take this step if you are
searching for additional healing and reconciliation.
During the Rachel's Vineyard weekend, we encounter healing
through seeking re-connection, integration, and wholeness. Such
healing can only happen when the isolation and secrecy are
dismantled, and one's story is revealed to others who do not
seek to judge and condemn. Only then is it finally possible,
with the support of a small community of others who
compassionately affirm the loss and respect the grief, to grieve
one's losses to their fullness.
The importance of social support to the grief process
reflects an important aspect of our human nature: Though we are
individuals, we are inescapably social beings. The lack of
social support will degrade or destroy our well-being.
Conversely, the experience of social support, in even a single
relationship, can strengthen our well-being.
For most of us, it is only when we have the support of others
who will not judge or condemn us that we feel safe from social
rejection. This support makes it easier for us to confront and
explore the deepest part of our souls. With it, one learns how
to accept forgiveness from God and one's aborted child. With it,
one learns how to extend forgiveness to oneself and others. And
with it, one discovers how the most difficult soul-breaking
experiences imaginable can be used as the foundation for
building a richer, deeper, and more meaningful existence.
Safety and confidentiality are essential when one begins to
explore post abortion healing. However if the healing process
encourages only private counsel, not involving spouses, or
family in the process, this may actually reinforce the isolation
that one experienced when they initially went away in secret to
"deal with the problem."
So counseling itself can be surrounded with the same anxiety
as going away in secret to have an abortion, because you are
still going away alone to deal with the aftermath. Consequently,
the secret is still intact and so is the shame and guilt
As long as one has the lingering doubt that if my parents, my
spouse, my sister, etc., know about my abortion they would
reject me, judge me, condemn me, or hurt me, one is not free to
trust or experience the blessed intimacy of being known,
unconditionally accepted, and loved. Frequently, we can only
feel loved to the extent that others know us and accept us.
Perhaps someone close to you might need to learn more about
abortion trauma and some of the ways that this experience can
impact a woman. Forbidden Grief is a good resource for education on this