Every abortion experience is unique to the people involved – the reasons that led to the termination, the emotions of the woman and man involved, who they tell or don’t tell, and the response and emotions of their family, friends, and others. We refer to this last part as the ripple effect of abortion.
Holidays can be challenging for anyone coping with hard emotions, even when the holidays aren’t that well known, like Grandparents Day, which is coming up on September 10. While Grandparents Day doesn’t have the same level of national celebration as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, it may still trigger intense feelings for those who are grieving the loss of their grandchildren.
GRANDPARENTS’ AFTER-ABORTION PAIN
These words from our clients show the struggles that grandparents may go through following a daughter’s abortion or a son’s experience of abortion through a partner’s termination.
For some, the struggle is often two-fold: helping their daughter or son and coping with their own emotions and grief about the loss of their grandchild(ren):
I’m worried about my daughter. She had an abortion a few months back, and it’s making her mental health struggle from an old trauma worse. I want to help her, but I don’t know how. I’m hurting for my daughter and hurting from the abortion she had and the loss of our grandchild. – Grandfather
I’m not sure where to get support. My grandchild was aborted yesterday, and I’m absolutely shattered. We offered to support her if she wanted to raise the child. My son begged her to let him raise it if she didn’t want to; we begged her. I don’t know if my son will ever be okay. Please tell me what to do for him and for us. – Grandmother
My wife and daughter arranged the abortion without saying anything to me. I only found out when our daughter starting having severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts because of her abortion. I’m so hurt and angry about what happened, scared for my daughter, and sad about the baby. We’re helping her get the therapy and care she needs, but I need to talk to someone to help me deal with my thoughts and feelings. – Grandfather
Some are only focused on helping their children for now:
I’m not calling for me; I’m calling for my daughter. She has been suffering and struggling after an abortion for a long time. – Grandmother
I’m calling to get some information to help my daughter who recently had an abortion. She’s very emotional. I want to find help for her. I’m not yet dealing with my own feelings about the loss of our grandchild, right now I just need to help her. – Grandmother
Some grandparents struggle with the role they may have played in the abortion:
My adult daughter is struggling horribly emotionally after her abortion. Now I am living with the regret of not helping her see other options. I want to help her and also deal with my own grief. – Grandmother
Do you have any resources to help me? I’m struggling with my involvement with my daughter’s abortion. – Grandmother
Some grandparents feel isolated and alone in their grief due to their daughter’s or son’s desire for privacy.
I can’t talk to anyone about my feelings about losing a grandchild or anything about the situation. I have to grieve in silence because my daughter doesn’t want anyone to know. – Grandmother
I’m calling to get help dealing with my emotions after my daughter’s abortion. My husband doesn’t want to talk about it, my daughter doesn’t want anyone to talk about it, but I’m hurting. She’s hurting. Our whole family is hurting. I can’t keep it bottled up. I need someone safe and anonymous to talk to. – Grandmother
SUPPORT FOR GRANDPARENTS IMPACTED BY ABORTION
Grandparents’ emotions after their daughter’s or son’s abortion experience(s) can be further complicated by parent/child relationship stressors, how they learned about the abortion(s), their own role in the abortion(s), whether or not their daughter or son is open to talking about it, whether they’ve been asked to keep it secret, whether or not their daughter or son is experiencing physical or mental health issues, and many other factors.
Regardless of what factors may apply, if you are a grandparent impacted by abortion, we’re so sorry for your loss. Know that YOU MATTER. While you weren’t the person who experienced abortion, you may experience depression, sadness, anger, regret, and other strong emotions. You deserve to get the support that you need.
WHAT IS AFTER-ABORTION HEALING?
Grief is simply a part of being human that impacts some people more than others and some people benefit from help working through their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. That’s exactly what abortion healing provides – an opportunity to work through emotions, grieve loss(es), share stories, and find closure.
The way that looks is completely up to each individual and the options they prefer. Sometimes it’s talking one-on-one with a trained abortion healing provider or counselor. It could be a support group led by a peer facilitator using a structured program, curriculum, or book. It could be a self-guided online program. You may want anonymity, in-person, virtual, religious, secular, etc. All these options are available so that each person can receive the type of support that works best for them. Abortion healing is not necessarily one-and-done, and a person may prefer different healing options at different stages of their personal journey.
Whether you have experienced abortion yourself or have been impacted by someone else’s abortion, if you are struggling emotionally, you matter. You deserve support.
HOW DO I FIND SUPPORT AFTER ABORTION?
Reach out to our After Abortion Line by online chat, phone, text, email, or messaging on Facebook or Instagram. We offer free, confidential, compassionate support. We can connect you to the healing resource that best meets your preferences. Check out our website for information, videos, self-guided healing, and more for women and men.
While each person’s story is unique, sometimes it helps to hear what others have gone through. Click here for the story of one grandmother’s experience of the abortion of her first grandchild and the keys to her hope, healing, and recovery.
About the Author
Michele serves as Communications Manager for Support After Abortion. She and her husband have experienced reproductive loss through three miscarriages and stillborn twins. They live in Greenville, SC with their three daughters.
© Support After Abortion