The Gabriel Project
The Gabriel Project offers free help to pregnant women and their families through spiritual encouragement, emotional support and the provision of baby items. We also connect women and families to resources designed to help them achieve their financial, educational and employment goals. All families with a child under 18 months are eligible. You are not alone. Gabriel Project is here to help. A Gabriel Project mentor will walk with you through your pregnancy and beyond. If you have any further questions or need help, please call 800-545-5935 or email us at [email protected]
The Father's Crisis Pregnancy
Most post abortion healing literature is focused on the woman. Like pregnant women, the man worries and has anxiety about many of the same things, be it vicariously. This gynocentric focus does a disservice to post abortive grieving men.
Men are involved in every pregnancy. Many times men only worsen the mother's crisis pregnancy. Many men demand abortion for their girlfriends, children, grandchildren, and wives. The father may threaten to leave her unless she aborts his child. He may threaten not to pay any child support if the child is born. Usually he does this in a way that meets the criteria for verbal and emotional abuse. There are male physicians who perform abortions, men who pay for the abortion, and the men who advise women to abort.
Men can have a crisis pregnancy, in ways that many women don’t understand. Some men participate in abortion because they too experience the pregnancy’s crisis aspects firsthand as they will be the father or grandfather and are, like the mother, overwhelmed with the prospects of raising a child. Fathers like mothers, also worry about whether they will be a good parent.
It’s even worse when we consider that he isn’t only killing his child but actually killing a child of God, for whom his stewardship failed. By killing his own child he abdicated his protector role. His inability to function as a protector leaves him grief stricken, guilty, full of regret, with deep shame.
There is a group of men who, sometimes years later, go through hell because their conscience reawakens, their denial breaks, and the gravity of their abortion sin hits them full force. These men experience a lot of spiritual and psychological pain when they face the truth of their role in the death of their child.
Male Bonding with His in Utero Child
Women have a deeper and earlier emotional attachment to their child than the father. During the first trimester although the mom has bonded significantly, not so much for the dad. Men tend to experience the early pregnancy vicariously and only through the mother and her experiences. They may even know they are pregnant and emotionally attach before a test confirms pregnancy.
Technically this is incorrect reasoning. If all goes well they will be together in Heaven forever. During the abortion trauma though most people do not reason with faith and hope.
The aborted child is always a piece of the mother’s heart, but not always the father’s. Neither parent can hold the aborted baby in their arms, change diapers, etc., but the mother held the baby in her womb, which places it deeper into the mother’s, than the father’s heart.
As the baby begins to show, when the baby kicks or moves and the father feels the baby, or when he sees the sonogram, his emotional attachment increases. It is usually after the birth that the father’s bonding increases tremendously. Seeing the baby, holding the baby, gazing into the baby’s eyes, all create this bond. Men bond significantly more when they begin to take care of their newborn baby’s needs. Not having these bonding experiences. Abortion, not only terminates his baby, but it also terminates the father’s bonding. Much of the father’s bonding occurs through interaction with the baby which is not possible for males until birth. Therefore, post abortive fathers grieve differently because they have a different depth of bonding with their child.
After aborting a child, if there is a second pregnancy both parents have great difficulty bonding with the next child.
Of all the men involved in abortion, the most sorry one is the man who begs the mother not to get the abortion, but she does, despite his pleas, which fall on to her deaf ears. Legally it’s completely her choice. Morally, He is the father! It’s his choice too! The father wants to embrace his child but is powerless, and has no choice in the woman’s abortion decision. These men put up the good fight for life, but lost. Meanwhile, the woman bearing his child adds insult to injury saying, “You have no say because it is my body, not your body.” When fathers are helpless to save their own baby, they are not culpable in the sin but it haunts them for the rest of their life. This crisis pregnancy issue is uniquely a male issue.
While some men don’t condone abortion, they do support their girlfriend or wife’s decision to abort. He deceives himself into thinking it is her choice, but his sinful complicity is not being supportive to God’s will, but instead to his own self centerdness, wanting the abortion anyway.
There are also the forgotten fathers who never knew anything about the conception, pregnancy, or abortion. For whatever reasons the mother never told the father and secretly got an abortion. Some fathers learn of the abortion years later when the guilty woman confesses to him in order to alleviate her guilt. Other men find out on judgment day.
Many women would give birth if they got the green light from the father, but his abdication registers in her mind as he wants and supports the abortion. She is in conflict but her social support makes her lean toward abortion. When the man says to the pregnant woman let’s have the baby, most of the time the baby is born.
Fathers can also benefit greatly from a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.
The Mother's Crisis Pregnancy
Most women don’t have abortions because they believe it is the right thing to do. They understand that their abortion choice was morally wrong. Their conflict comes from wanting the baby but not wanting the problems associated with child birth and raising the child. Abortion is never a deep attraction in the mother’s heart. It goes against her maternal instincts and conscience.
She is confronted with the fear that she will be a single mother, with one income, no husband, and a baby. She is between a rock and a hard place, a catch-22 situation, and a high pressure double bind. These women become boxed into a cage of demonic creation. Because of the intense temptation to abort, they decide abortion is the lesser of two evils.
Hindsight is 20/20 and during a crisis pregnancy hindsight didn’t exist. During the crisis they experience tunnel vision. Their attention became focused on the short term sinful solution and not on the long-term consequences. She made her decision under duress, because she responded to the world and the spirit of the world in herself. She weighed her options and decided what is best for herself, neglecting what is best for God and for her baby. Contemplating or committing abortion is a thought process opposite of feminine genius.
The pregnant mom’s body, soul, and spirit, as well as her mind, will, and emotions, are significantly in a better state during pregnancy with less anxiety, but anxiety is associated with even a planned and normal pregnancy.
In a normal first pregnancy, the worry and fears that women go through can be many. These are usually more intense during an unplanned pregnancy and significantly amplified during a crisis pregnancy. The post abortive mother, experiencing a second pregnancy, combining worry with guilt experiences worry to the 1,000th power. The synergy from their worry and guilt combine to supercharge into pathology causing some to delusionally think God will punish her causing problems in future pregnancies. Some women have very disturbing future pregnancies because their mind is bogged down with negative expectations that all future pregnancies will be cursed.
They envision every worst case scenario. They excessively worry about the baby’s health pre-and post utero. Many pregnant moms worry about the pain of labor and delivery. They can think, “What if the child experiences SIDS, or has a birth defect.” Some women fear having a tubal pregnancy, the child choking on the umbilical cord, or Trisomy 21, they worry about what will happen if they have breast-feeding problems. They worry about picking the baby’s name, sleepless nights, they fear getting postpartum depression. They worry about the child’s future. “Will my child be bullied in school, get in a car accident. When a pregnant mother sees a child’s temper tantrum in a store, she worries whether her child will act the same. It is very common for a pregnant woman to worry about finding a good pediatrician. They worry about their children developing developmental disorders like autism or a psychiatric disorder like anxiety or depression etc. They worry that they will not see their friends anymore or that they will be unable to travel the way that they are accustomed. Moms worry about whether or not they will have a maternal instinct. Others fear that they will be inadequate to raise the child properly and that they will make mistakes which permanently damage their child. For example, “What if when cooking I accidentally spill boiling water onto my child?” The worry about the cost of diapers, education, and the child maturing into a practicing Catholic. They fear a DNC, which haunts some pregnant women. Twins and tragically deformed babies strike fear into them. Babies die from miscarriages and stillbirths, sometimes residing dead in the womb for days. Pregnant moms also know that some women die during child birth. They worry about both spontaneous and premeditated abortion. For example, “I’ll never be able to teach my child to drive, have grandchildren through this child, watch the child take their first steps, die before Baptism, say their first words, begin school, get married, and do all the other parenting activities. They worry about whether their own marriage will survive. They are worried that they will not be able to lose their baby fat, that their husbands will not see them as attractive or that he may break the marriage vows with an affair. This is a legitimate fear because some men, after their wife delivers their first child, condemn her for her weight. The mom experiences breathing problems because the pressure of the growing baby, back problems, having to urinate more often, etc., etc., etc. Topped off with surgical procedures such as C-sections. Also, some worry about their own death during childbirth.
Many moms worry about all these things. Probably the most helpful thing is that they talk to their priest, a counselor, but especially to other new moms. When they hear other moms talking about the same fears and concerns as their own, this helps them become more comfortable in their own shoes and much less anxious. Hearing other new moms, dispels the illusion that their anxious thoughts are uniquely theirs and seriously pathological, this will help normalize them.