Every aborted child had a mother and a father. But how many people ever really give that much thought?
Because we live in a world that insists that abortion is an issue that only women get to have a voice in, the contribution that the father of a child would or should make into that child’s life has almost become a non-issue. In many cases the fathers are either not consulted, because it’s assumed that they don’t have a say in the matter, or their reaction is expected to be so harsh and threatening that the woman feels she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands.
In either case what’s left is a man who fathered a child but who never made a contribution into that child’s life. Not only was the life of his child abruptly and violently taken, but this father never got to invest in his progeny.
His child was definitely denied his or her life, but what was this father denied?
This father was denied making the kind of contribution that in part, defines a man as a man. Things like his leadership, his heart, his problem solving, his money, his reputation, his creativity, his commitment, his fight, his love, his pain, his resolve.
Somehow those kinds of losses are recorded in the soul of a man (no matter what his age) as a deep and significant failure. And it only reinforces the “most feared” answer to the question that every man asks of himself: “Do I have what it takes?” When he hears a resounding “no” to that question, he then accepts another layer of guilt, shame and emasculation.
Bill writes, “I believed that I had no influence or voice in the decision. I believed the lie that this decision was ‘her choice’ alone and so it happened that 30+ years ago I stood by silently and waited while an abortionist took my child’s life. It profoundly wounded his mother, destroyed a family and stole my belief in who I was as a man.”
Another man writes, “I wasn’t in the room: I wasn’t even in the clinic that day. But in my mind, I’ve been there a million times since. I’ve been there watching, breaking, wanting to rescue you. In my mind I need to be a hero not a killer, the man who didn’t flee. But I am not. I am the man I fear to see.”
Adam writes, “Then it was time, they lead her away and I could see in her face that she was so incredibly scared… I was so scared…I still clearly remember sitting in a colorless waiting room watching a mindless game show on a mounted wall TV. This was to be the entertainment for the men while their children were being murdered in the room next door… every part of me was silently screaming out for help… I was sick to my stomach… I wanted to vomit. Just 20 feet away my girlfriend was going through the most traumatic 30 minutes of her life. I wanted to run in and take her place and have them do it to me instead.
For the past 27 years I have silently carried this decision, this wound, and this relentless memory. For 27 years I have stuffed it, packed it and locked it away…far, far, far away… simply hoping that over enough time and enough years that it would finally be gone. There are times when I can almost convince myself that it is indeed gone. But if I press in just a bit further, I can still see that stupid game show and then I know that it was all real and all a part of who I have now become.”
Perhaps you can relate to some of these thoughts and feelings. We first want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle and that you don’t have to live in silent torment the rest of your life.
For years our Deeper Still retreats were tailored only for women. But we found that after every retreat at least one woman would ask, “do you have something like this for my husband?” Or, “I sometimes wonder about the father of my baby…if he ever thinks about it or if he ever felt any of the pain that I have over the years.”
After much prayer and seeking the counsel of some men who have walked a similar journey we decided that it was time to open our Deeper Still retreats to include men as participants along with our women. Even though there are differences in how men and women express their guilt, pain and shame, as well as in how they receive their healing, it’s still true that men and women both need to bring their broken hearts and lives to the same Cross and to the same Savior.
Abortion has caused much enmity and strife between men and women. When bitterness has been allowed to grow in a woman’s heart toward the man or men that have hurt her, or likewise if bitterness is in the heart of a man toward the woman or women who have betrayed him, then those offenses tend to get generalized toward all men or all women. When this happens there is always a deep seated distrust toward the opposite sex.
The good news – We have seen the Lord break down those barriers and wash away years of hurt, bitterness, anger, betrayal, suspicion and contempt that men and women have held toward the opposite sex. As these brothers and sisters in Christ have heard each other’s heart and have understood the consequences of their own choices toward another, then they have been able to repent, forgive and release those who personally hurt them. God will use other people in our lives to “represent” the people that have hurt us.