“I Couldn’t Even Hold My Son”—Abortion’s Impact on Parent-Child Attachment

“The birth of my son was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, but instead, it was the saddest,” shares Carolyn Frandsen, Programming Coordinator of Support After Abortion. After three years of running from the pain of her abortion experience, the day her son was placed in her arms was the day Carolyn learned she couldn’t run anymore. She could no longer rely on drugs and alcohol to number her pain. Holding her son meant facing her previous decision to abort. “When I looked into his eyes, I realized that THIS is what I threw away.”

It’s as if at that moment when she looked into his eyes, she was transported back to the bathroom at her brother’s house. The pain of her pill abortion came rushing back to her memory. The heavy bleeding. The passing of her baby in the toilet. Carolyn painfully recounts, “Flushing my baby is something I will never forget.” Still able to hear the pain in her voice, Carolyn attributes this moment as the beginning of her downward spiral. To move on, she had to mentally disconnect from the experience altogether.

For quite some time, Carolyn believed she didn’t deserve her son, not after what she had done. These feelings of unworthiness and being forced to face the reality of her previous abortion decision really impacted the disconnect she felt with her son and the two children that would follow. Carolyn shares that while she loved her children, she found it difficult to hug them and show them affection. It was only through her healing journey that she learned that her emotional struggles were normal and related to the unhealed hurts associated with her abortion.

Initially, Carolyn resisted a healing group. On the outside, 10 years removed from her abortion experience, Carolyn thought she looked great. She was married with three children. By all appearances, she was fine. But Carolyn confesses, “It wasn’t until after my first healing group that I realized I was not fine.” She shares that it was being surrounded by others, much like herself, that she finally realized she was not alone. It was within the healing group that the real breakthroughs happened. Through her small group, she found freedom.

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