Suffering in Silence

Just over seven years ago, when I was writing my first novel, I kept hearing this whisper in my head that my male protagonist needed to have a child. Knowing that was absolutely not something I wanted in this story, I repeatedly ignored that whisper, until …

One day I was sitting in my recliner, doing what, I don’t remember. But as I was sitting, a scene flashed through my thoughts. It was vivid and palpable, transporting me to a balcony of an estate home in New York. Through my protagonist’s eyes I experienced him being told by a woman that she was pregnant. He was thrilled, but then she informed him she was getting an abortion. An argument ensued, one that he lost. I literally felt his hurt, his anguish for his child. I felt his anger, grief, despair …  his helplessness. There was nothing he could do. (From Chain of Mercy in my Brooks Family Series)

Needless to say, that vision (for lack of a better word) got my attention and not only for the purposes of my book. You see, before that vision, I’d never given any thought to the effect of abortion on men. And why would I? It’s a women’s issue, right?

Sure it is. But it’s also the father’s issue, but he’s not allowed to have a voice in the matter. Society doesn’t allow him to grieve, to share his loss, so he’s left to suffer alone and in silence. People don’t care about his plight, so he’s forced to hold his anger, guilt, anguish, emptiness, and shame inside.

If you think about it, three of man’s basic needs are to protect, provide, and procreate. (Read Genesis 1:28 – 29) Abortion robs him of all that. Even if he supported and/or encouraged the abortion, how can it not affect him?

Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) affects the father as well as the mother, but where the mother may be encouraged to seek help and/or counseling, the father–who’s not supposed to grieve, who’s supposed to remain strong–will conceal his pain. By internalizing the pain, it ends up festering and eating away at the father’s emotional well-being. In the end, it not only affects the father, but his relationships with all those around him

I am by no means an expert on the topic (see below for links to the experts), but I do know that we can no longer forget the abortive father. As the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22) approaches, it’s time to let the father know he’s not alone. It’s time we let him speak, let him share his hurts without judgment, let him know we care about him too. He should not have to suffer in silence.

Organizations that Listen and offer Help, Hope, and Healing:

New Life Family Services – Provides post-abortion healing for men and women.

Men and Abortion Network, Reclaiming Fatherhood – Promotes emotional healing for men who’ve lost a child to abortion.

Fatherhood Forever – Helping men find hope and healing after abortion.

Project Joseph: Forgotten Fathers – Healing for Men

Save One – Hope for men and women who have had an abortion.

The National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing

Rachel’s Vineyard – Healing the pain of abortion-one weekend at a time.

Ramah International – Offering the Hope of Healing to Abortion’s Wounded

Further Reading:

Several Articles at the Men and Abortion Network

Redeeming A Father’s Heart: Men Share Powerful Stories of Abortion Loss and Recovery by Kevin Burke, LSW, David Wemhoff, & Marvin Stockwell.

Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing by C.T. Coyle

Fatherhood Aborted by Guy Condon & Dave Hazard

Healing a Father’s Heart: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Men by Linda Cochrane & Kathy Jones

Missing Arrows: A Bible Study about Lost Fatherhood by Warren Williams

Male Partners and the Psychological Sequelae of Abortion: A Psychodynamic-Relational View by Michael Y. Simon