American Association of Christian Counselors
American Association of Christian Counselors

Post Abortion Healing and Recovery

by Deborah Tilden
As I approach this article’s deadline of October 10th, my mind flashes back one year to 10/10/10. A day which brought a great sense of closure to a healing journey in my life. I recall standing in front of the marble wall with my husband and loved ones, where hung the engraved bronze plaque memorializing the life of our daughter, Guinevere Rose. Who’s life had been ended 30 years prior due to the “choice” of abortion. It was a small intimate gathering. The memorial was held at the NW Memorial for the Unborn, an affiliate location linked to the National Memorial for the Unborn in Chattanooga, TN.
I chose an abortion as a young, 18 year old naive and scared (Christian) woman buying the lies the clinic staff told me that cold, drizzly October day. “It’s just a blob of tissue”, they said. “It’s not a baby yet.” They said I’d be fine in a couple days and be able to get on with my life as normal. Life was never “normal” again. Little did I know the tangled web those lies would create in my life.
As I have reflected, I found that my fiance’ and I were not just planning our future of wedded bliss. We were planning a cover up of epic proportion. A cover up that took nearly 23 years to see the light of day. I can’t think of a more divisive foundational decision a couple could make in the infancy of their life of hope for a lifelong journey together.
Even though PAS (Post-Abortion Syndrome ‘trauma’) is not formally recognized yet certainly doesn’t mean doesn’t exist. Since coming out of my own healing journey I have wanted to further understand how our society could continue to promote a procedure that was so hurtful to women, men, marriages, families and society as a whole.
As a trained post-abortion recovery and healing mentor, Christian life coach, I have sensed God’s calling, to be a messenger of hope and healing.
Abortion is not a political issue, it is not a civil rights issue, it is a heart issue. We need shepherds who are not afraid to bring this issue to light.
Rap artist, Nick Cannon’s lyric from “Can I Live” asks the question, “Whatchu want mama, morning sickness or the sickness of mourning?” Dr. E. Joanne Angelo, MD., calls it “An Ocean of Grief”. “We aren’t quite sure what to do with it.”
Theresa Burke, Ph.D., in her book co-authored with David Reardon, Ph.D., Forbidden Grief – The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, she talks about trauma theory. “Traumatic events call into question basic human relationships. They breach the attachments of family, friendship, love and community. They shatter the construction of self that is formed and sustained in relation to others. They undermine the belief systems that give meaning to human experience…and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis.”
Dr. Burke also states, “Women with a history of abortion are also significantly more likely to go through subsequent divorces.” She goes on to say, “There are many reasons why abortion can damage subsequent relationships. In many cases, an abortion will deeply damage women’s ability to trust men, including their husbands. The lack of trust can lead to both increased conflict and increased breakups.”
My husband and I, after 23 years of silence about our abortion choice, have gone through our own individual healing processes, and have begun the “together” healing journey. Believe me silence is NOT golden. In fact, it’s almost been a slow death to our marriage.
I am eternally grateful to God for the divine appointments he put in my life. Pastors, counselors, and mentors who prayed for me and encouraged me to seek forgiveness and healing. Grateful to my husband that he has hung in there and been willing to try and understand my heart as I have sought, fought and caught the truth that what troubled my soul was in fact, “The Sickness of Mourning”. My mind, will and emotions were in a state of torment to one degree or another until I was willing to bring the truth of my sin out into the light. The truth that I had chosen to end the life of our daughter, our first born child, had to be confessed. Forgiveness was essential to my freedom from my inner prison, healing and peace of mind.
I then needed to journey through the grieving for the loss of our daughter, loss to our family, loss of a big sister to my other children, and injury to our marriage. Not only did I need to forgive myself, my husband for not “protecting” me and our daughter, I had to forgive those involved.
Please consider the need for an open discussion about the dynamic of abortion on future fathering, on society and the current epidemic of fatherlessness. Abandonment of women and children is at the core of the abortion decision through coerced abortions. God created men to protect and provide for women and children.
We must find a way to communicate with compassion the truth about this issue. www.afterabortion.org is just one site.
I work with a team of post abortion ministry speakers, both men and women, sharing the truth of how abortion has affected our lives, and hope for healing while trying to expand society’s awareness.
In closing, I want to thank the AACC and it’s members for your willingness to take on a subject that not only has been an issue of great division, but more importantly addressing an issue that has so much potential for healing. Thank you again. The deeper I dig into this coverup and how it has affected our culture. How deeply it impacts marriages and families, the more I see the tangled web that has been woven into our world today on so many levels.
Women were created to bring forth life. As mentioned previously, men were created to protect and provide. We are created in the image of God – spirit – soul – body, each part is so deeply affected by abortion to the degree we go against our God-created nature.
I look forward to a continuing open, honest, and compassionate discussion.
I’ve often wondered how abortion impacts “birth order” in families. My hope and prayer is that abortion becomes an unthinkable choice.
May God richly bless the work of your heart and hands as you minister and walk in your calling.

Bio: Deborah Tilden, is a Certified Life Coach, Post-Abortion Healing and Recovery mentor, Co-Creator of LifeVictory Coaching. She is the Oregon Right to Life Education Foundation’s Speakers Bureau Coordinator and Oregon Regional Coordinator for Silent No More Awareness campaign. Deborah is the wife of her high school sweetheart. She enjoys spending time with family and her three young adult children.