How do I Heal?
Grief is a process and the healing journey after reproductive loss or sexual trauma is unique to each of us because we are all different in ways we cope with trauma. Some may have already adapted various coping mechanisms. Others may need help beginning the healing journey.
Although there are no fixed steps, the following may be helpful:
- Acknowledge the uniqueness of your child and the meaning of that pregnancy.
- Give yourself permission to grieve the loss of your child.
- Tell your story.
- Give yourself permission to explore your anger, depression and need for forgiveness.
- Name your baby.
- Write a letter to your baby, saying all the things you need to say. This may include asking the baby's forgiveness or forgiving your baby for coming at an inconvenient time.
- Memorialize your loss, using whatever is meaningful to you in making your baby more concrete.
- Ask a minister or priest to lead you in a memorial service. After most programs, a memorial service is conducted for the group.
- You may want to purchase something to keep, such as a piece of jewelry or a tree to remind you of the child.
- Creating pieces of art, writing songs and poems are helpful for the healing process.
The truth will set you free.
If you want to be truly set free from the hurt and pain after reproductive loss or sexual trauma, it will be necessary to forgive those responsible for and those involved in that experience. In forgiving others you will come to understand forgiveness for yourself.
Three key questions commonly asked by someone hurting after an abortion and needing to be resolved are:
- Can God forgive me?
- Can my child forgive me?
- Can I forgive myself?
You must come to accept God's forgiveness and know of His great mercy and love.
I John 1:9 (NIV) — "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." You must forgive others.
Matt 6:14-15 (NIV) — "If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins."
Matt 5:23-24 (NIV) — "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, first go and be reconciled with your brother; then come and offer your gift."
You must come to forgive yourself.
Self-forgiveness is about being able to suspend self-judgment and walk freely in the forgiveness accorded to you by God.
Romans 4:4 (NIV) — "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Embrace God's forgiveness with thankfulness and praise.
Comfort others after we have been comforted.
II Corinthians 1: 3, 4 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
After experiencing God's grace and healing, we will want to tell others. Share your testimony either privately or publicly. This in turn will give others permission to come forward and comfort them. Thus, the multiply/divide effect of the early church.