Q. I could hear screaming when I was coming round after my abortion, and it was me. Does this happen to other people?

A. Many women have experienced this and have found it very confusing. It has happened both to women who were not happy about the abortion and to women who felt very sure that it was the best thing to do. This experience can cause a woman to question whether she was suppressing her true feelings because of the great difficulties she thought going ahead with the pregnancy would bring into her life.

Some women have wondered whether the scream came not from them, but through them from the baby as it's life ended. Because of this many women have realised that the aborted fetus was not just a lump of cells but a real human being. In order to live with this it can be very helpful to write a letter or poem to your baby.

You can pray:

When I remember that time it is all so jumbled and difficult. I think I withdrew from everything and let go of the true responsibility that I should have kept, the responsibility to keep my baby safe. Oh God, you know the reasons that I made the decision I did, how it was the best for everyone, I thought about everyone except my poor little baby, and it's awful to consider how my little one must have suffered. Jesus you said that the kingdom of heaven was for the little ones, if you can please take my baby and give peace and healing to it. I am so sorry. 

Q. I think my character has changed. I didn't used to be like this, I used to take care of myself but now nothing seems to matter. I get so angry. I cry a lot. Then sometimes I feel as though everything is wonderful, but it doesn't last.

A. This is a common symptom of post abortion syndrome. When this is recognised it is easier to deal with. This is a response to the loss of your baby. However, because society minimises what you have lost it is difficult for you to mourn. It is very unsettling to be swept away on a tide of unrecognised feelings, and to feel out of control. Specific post abortion counselling can be very helpful. Counselling where the trauma of the loss that you have suffered is not usually helpful as it reinforces the belief that there is nothing to mourn for.

You can pray:

Help me! It seems so dark and hopeless. I feel so alone. Jesus! I'm not sure if you would help me, or even if you can because I'm in such a mess. Nothing seems to make sense. Have pity on me. Others seem to manage, what is wrong with me? Shine your light on me, I need you so much.

Q. I'm afraid that I'm not very nice to my children – especially those born since my abortion. I love them, but I don't seem to be close to them. When they cry I just think “Well, at least you're alive not like....”

A. When a woman has an abortion it can seem like ice has entered her heart. She wants to be warm and loving but finds herself – against her will – acting harshly or being mean. She wants to reach out to her children but it seems that there is a barrier she can't overcome. It is good to recognise this as soon as possible; it may go hand in hand with other difficulties like drink or promiscuity, different fathers in the one family. Do not let this continue until the children are grown but honestly face the damage to your emotions and seek healing.

You can pray:

I'm afraid. I feel I don't deserve another child because of what I've done. All the time that little dead baby is in my mind (I wouldn't admit this to many people) and it makes me feel disloyal if I'm loving to my other children when I denied my aborted baby life itself. I don't really understand myself, I don't want to go on like this. Please Jesus, forgive me; heal my damaged emotions so I can be the mother my children need.

Q. It all happened so long ago and yet every year I am still overwhelmed with grief.

A. This is a common reaction after an abortion, many women suffer like this. There is a sense in which abortion is an open door and it seems impossible to get closure. Here are some ways women have successfully dealt with this:

A woman who was nursing her dying mother who had a strong Christian faith asked her to seek out her grandchild when she got to heaven. To take a message, to give her love and cuddle the baby, to tell the baby it had never been forgotten. To ask for forgiveness, to say how very sorry she was. The grandmother promised and there was a great sense of closure, the mother never suffered from the anniversary grief after that.

Even if you do not have a close relative who is on the verge of heaven that you could ask to take such a message there is Jesus, the only man who we can have confidence in, and who we can communicate with even though he has died because he rose again and we can speak to him. He has told us that he is a friend of sinners, and will deal gently with us.

You can pray:

Jesus, please find my baby and give it the love that it didn't receive from me. I am so sorry that it's life was ended by my failure to protect it. Tell my little one that I will never forget it, I wish I knew if it was a little boy or a little girl, but You know and I trust you to care for it. 

Q. People say I'm overprotective, I get very angry when I think my children are not being treated right. I've had a lot of trouble with the school.

A. When a deep trauma upsets a mother's world, whether it is abortion or some other cause, it is quite common for her to fear that danger will overwhelm the family. However over-protectiveness can be unhealthy and cause difficulties in the children, and in their relationship with their mother.