In 1981 my parents told me that my older sister had undergone an abortion...
In 1981 my parents told me that my older sister had undergone an abortion. They had had no say in the matter; in fact my mother was abroad at the time. The arrangements had been made on behalf of my sister, by the father of her boyfriend, just a few days before her birthday. My reaction when I was told was something that I could never have predicted. I was completely overwhelmed with grief, on a scale that I had never previously experienced. As a young man this was so strange to me, as I had never had any particular interest in babies or small children, yet I was overcome with grief for the life of this unborn child, beyond anything I had ever felt before. This was coupled with a deep anger and hatred of the person who had made the arrangements. These feelings stayed with me for many years and even the mention of the word 'abortion' would send me into a spiral of grief. If I ever saw a car that was the same model as driven by the person who had arranged the abortion, I would feel physically sick. This situation went on for several years.
I was a drummer in a band and wrote a song entitled ‘Side Effect of Love’. The song, that proved to be very popular, was written from the unborn child's point of view:
"As the world offers its advice don't listen to their instruction,
All their words and empty lies will lead to my destruction,
You just played with love like a new found toy,
You don't even know if I'm a girl or a boy,
I don't wanna be a side effect of love,
I don't wanna be taken advantage of.
I wanna be special,
I wanna be human,
I wanna be loved by you."
This was especially cathartic for me and, coupled with some counselling a few years on, I was able to forgive the person who made the termination arrangements and even bought a car that was the same model as the one he drove. I knew, however, that God had given me something that he wanted me to do. I still got a bit wobbly at the mention of the 'a' word, but wanted to somehow get involved in helping these unborn children.
I subsequently got involved with a local pregnancy centre and supported the work as best I could. My sister has only recently told people about her experience, allowing me to share my story too. As I have shared it, I have been amazed at the number of people who have been affected in the same way as I was. In many situations, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters have been particularly affected. It's certain that there is a huge ripple effect around any abortion. Happily my sister too, through support and counselling has come to a place of peace. This year, the 27th anniversary, she was able to plant flowers to mark the occasion, and to remember the short life of her unborn child.
Editor's note: Thanks for sharing your story with us...It's clear from your experience that an abortion in the family can have a surprising, but very real, effect. It may help other readers to accept and release their own feelings about a relative's abortion experience when perhaps they felt they had no right to respond in that way, or were confused by how deeply they felt. It's good to know that healing has finally come for both you and your sister. Thank you.