Friday, June 03, 2005

Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress

It was several months ago, and the question posted at the After Abortion blogspot was intriguing: “If Terri Schiavo dies, will Michael Schiavo suffer from post traumatic stress like women who have abortions do?” T he questioner was in earnest, and it got me thinking – not whether Michael Schiavo would suffer from PTSD – but whether or not our own involvement in creating trauma has any significant effect, especially on women who abort.

As it turned out, we weren’t the only ones wondering if and how we can cause our own PTSD. Rachel M. MacNair explores the issue in her book, Perpetration Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing, published in 2002 by Praeger Publishers. MacNair describes PITS as a subset of post-traumatic stress disorder. She provides detailed results of scientific studies of those who participate in sanctioned killing in addition to rich, anecdotal evidence from historical accounts of those who have killed, sanctioned and otherwise.

The evidence that post-traumatic stress disorder can and does result even when one is the perpetrator of the violence is clear. MacNair describes it in detail as it results in combat veterans, executioners, law enforcement officers, Nazi war criminals, and abortion clinic workers. She avoids any extensive discussion of PTSD as it applies to women who procure abortions, saying only:

“Some scholars have proposed that women who undergo abortion have a variant of PTSD, which they call Post Abortion Syndrome. Controversy rages over whether this exists or not. Some studies show that it does, others show that it appears not to, and there seems to be a high correlation between the bias of the researcher and the results. Opponents of the concept of postabortion problems believe that proponents are trying to undermine the actual benefits of abortion. Proponents, on the other hand, believe that people who are making a profit or have an ideological commitment are trying to ignore the negative. Over 300 studies with varying outcomes have been done on this matter, and it is subject to intense debate,” (MacNair, p. 71).

Regardless of the controversy and bias of researchers, there is enough evidence in the existing research to conclude that abortion can and certainly does cause post-traumatic stress syndrome. MacNair says it best herself, introducing the chapter on PTSD among abortion practitioners: “Defenders of abortion believe that it is a form of medicine. Opponents believe it to be killing. If abortion is the taking of a human life, then the psychological consequences of PITS could be expected among those who perform abortions. If we find no such aftermath, the case is strengthened that abortion is not violence at all.” I have to add that if we find evidence of PITS among abortion clinic workers, we are unreasonably blind to think the woman who aborts is somehow shielded from the same trauma.

So do abortion practitioners show signs they suffer from Perpetration Induced Traumatic Stress, or PTSD? MacNair says there has been little research, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, and all of it says they do. She finds only two studies that were not done by researchers who work in the abortion field and which looked at large numbers of people, both performed by abortion proponents, and notes, “in contrast to the studies of postaborted women, they both note the high prevalence of symptoms that fit under Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,” (MacNair, p. 72).

According to MacNair, the National Abortion Federation has addressed the issue of trauma among abortion clinic workers already, but it is a well-kept secret. Warren Hern, an abortion specialist, in a paper given to the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians said the following: “Some part of our cultural and perhaps even biological heritage recoils at a destructive operation on a form that is similar to our own, even while we may know that the act has a positive effect for a living person.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if we think the unborn child is a person or not. It doesn’t matter whether we believe it is aware or sentient.

The physical and psychological resemblance of the unborn to that which is instantly recognizable as human is enough for us to recoil at its destruction. Our brains recognize it as human death, at psycho-neurological levels that are not affected by the higher cognitive functions where we develop the belief systems that justify killing. MacNair says “it is not normal for medical staff to regard surgery as trauma,” yet clinic workers report a common and widespread symptom of trauma: dreams and intrusive thoughts about the aborted fetuses. The American Medical News reported from the National Abortion Federation Workshop, “they wonder if the fetus feels pain. They talk about the soul and where it goes. And about their dreams, in which aborted fetuses stare at them with ancient eyes and perfectly shaped hands and feet asking, ‘Why? Why did you do this to me?’” (MacNair, p. 75). Clearly, abortion is intrinsically and always psychologically traumatic because it involves at least the idea, if not the physical evidence, of the destruction of human life.

The destruction of human life is traumatic. Quite simply, it has to be. Human beings must have an aversion to killing each other more often than not, or we wouldn’t be able to live together. Additionally, the killing of another human being is designed to invoke in us the automatic and autonomic nervous system response we know best as “fight or flight.” This response also includes a third option “freezing,” as described by Dr. Robert C. Scaer, in The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease published by the Haworth Medical Press in 2001. Freezing is our “deer-caught-in-the-headlights” look, and it is this response that Dr. Scaer says causes post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a simple survival response because what killed another human might also kill us, and it is processed in what some call the most primitive part of the brain, an area we cannot consciously control. This is also why and where we recognize and differentiate human versus non-human. A dead tree in the forest is not usually a sign of imminent danger, unless it’s on fire, perhaps, but a dead human can certainly be. Our brains recognize the features of human faces even as infants.

I don’t like the word, “primitive” as it applies to brain function because it implies that our brains were once less than what they are, and I simply don’t believe that. It is more likely to me that what works in simpler animals for survival works equally as well for human survival, and a good designer doesn’t keep reinventing the wheel. It also implies that the automatic regions of our brain are somehow inferior, and therefore, we terminate the lives of people whose only brain function is the most basic. It’s an absurdly out-dated idea. There is memory in the brainstem, and emotional responses – things we use all the time, that are a part of who we are as individuals. Death, human and violent, affects us directly and immediately, because we need that kind of response in order to survive.

My premise is that abortion is traumatic because it is always perceived as involving death, and consequently, it will always stimulate the autonomic nervous system response to danger. To begin, here is my very primitive description of how the autonomic nervous system works. It is not primitive – it is foundational. Perhaps it is the equivalent of the operating system of the body, and higher levels where thought and declarative memory (memories we can put into words) exist are like applications. Some of us have stronger applications than others, but we all have the basic operating system. The autonomic nervous system runs the things we can’t possibly take the time to think about doing. I t regulates things like digestion, heart rate, breathing, reproductive cycles, and reflexes. Imagine if we had to think about beating our hearts 90 times a minute. There wouldn’t be any time to do anything else, but if our hearts don’t beat, we die. That’s another feature of the autonomic nervous system – it takes care of the things that keep us alive so we don’t have to think about those, either, and in order to do that, it has a memory of its own.

Why is it a matter of survival for the autonomic part of our “thinking” system to take over in a life-threatening emergency? Because what matters most when our lives are in danger is how quickly we react, and how effectively we react. Our responses have to be fast because most threats appear suddenly. They also have to be learned permanently the first time, because we may not get another chance to learn how to avoid the danger. Imagine you are in the jungle, and a large orange animal with black stripes jumps out at you from the bushes. You’ve never seen an animal like it before. How do you know if it is a threat? If at that point in time you had to mentally compare the animal to every other animal you have ever seen or read about, detail by detail, you would be killed and eaten before you’d eliminated “aardvark.” Certain features are going to stand out, features that can be evaluated and compared to current knowledge quickly, in an easily accessed part of the brain where memory/recognition of important things like this is stored. The sight of fangs, the sound of a growl, the smell particular to meat-eating animals, perhaps a human finger caught in those giant teeth – this input from all of our senses is received and processed in our brains autonomically, so we can climb the nearest tree quickly without taking precious, life-saving time to think about whether it’s necessary.

Our responses to danger have to be learned permanently, too. If the tiger goes away after we’ve climbed the tree, then we learn that it is an effective way to avoid being killed by one. So after the first tiger grows bored and leaves us alone, when we continue down the path and run across the next tiger, not only do we instantly recognize him based on less information than we needed to the first time, but we also remember to head for the nearest tree, and fast. It’s called “conditioned” learning, and it’s the same thing that made Pavlov’s dogs slobber at the sound of the bell even when there was no food to eat, because he had taught them to associate the food with the sound.

In the tiger situation, fear is an appropriate emotional response, and it results in the autonomic fight/flight/freeze response that we commonly think of sending adrenaline coursing through our veins. Our bodies get ready for what we have to do – if we are to flee, or fight, adrenaline increases our strength. If we are unable to do either, then we resort to freezing, like animals caught in a trap. It is the autonomic nervous system directing our physiological responses the whole time – releasing endorphins, for example, to help us ignore the pain if the tiger claws our legs on the way up the tree. Here then is the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and autonomic nervous system dysfunction as described by Dr. Scaer, who postulates that the autonomic nervous system is malfunctioning in those whose initial alarms fail to subside after the threat has passed (in other words, in those who develop PTSD).

How does the autonomic nervous system response to danger apply to women who submit to abortions? It’s been established that the thought or sight of human death causes us to fear for our own lives, putting us in a state of autonomic nervous system arousal. Can the thought or the sight of human death make us fear for our own lives even when we cause the death of the other human being? In other words, does anticipating the traumatic event have any effect on whether the event is traumatic? No, it doesn’t. Dr. Scaer is a neurologist and psychiatrist who works with people who have been traumatized in motor vehicle accidents. In his experience and in the research, he finds there is absolutely no significant difference between the traumatic response of those who saw the accident coming, and those who didn’t. Consequently, even if we can expect to see someone die because we are causing it, it doesn’t matter. The death itself is recognized as a threat autonomically, so anticipating it on a higher level in our brains doesn’t do anything to block the automatic response. Yes, killers can be traumatized by their own actions, and women who abort can be traumatized by their abortions, too.

MacNair looks at the conclusions of Dr. Lisak, a counselor of deathrow murderers, who established from his case studies that, “…the act of murder can indeed traumatize the murderer…They were the creators of these scenes of horror, but they were by definition also witnesses to them. The images seared them no less than those images would sear any witness,” (MacNair, p. 62). Guilt is also an unnecessary component in trauma, although it can certainly be a complicating factor in recovery. And there is certainly reason to believe that symptoms of PTSD can underlie future violent activity, particularly since outbursts of rage are a common symptom.

This journaler suffered from PTSD:

“Toward the end of the first two years, which had passed monotonously and without any special incident, I was overcome by a most peculiar state of mind. I became very irritable, nervous, and excited. I felt a disinclination to work…although I had hitherto thoroughly enjoyed…work. I could no longer eat and I brought up every mouthful that I forced myself to swallow. I could not read any more and became completely unable to concentrate. I paced up and down…like a wild animal. I lay awake all night, although I had up to then always fallen at once into a deep and almost dreamless sleep. I had to get out of bed and walk round…, and was unable to lie still. Then I would sink exhausted on to the bed and fall asleep, only to wake again after a short time bathed in sweat from my own nightmares. In those confused dreams I was always being pursued and killed, or falling over a precipice. The hours of darkness became a torment. Night after night I heard the clocks strike the hour. As morning approached, my dread increased. I feared the light of day and the people I should have to see once more. I felt incapable of seeing them again. I tried with all my strength to pull myself together, but without success. I wanted to pray, but my prayers dissolved into distressed stammering. I had forgotten how to pray, and had lost the way to God. In my misery I believed that God had no wish to help me, since I had forsaken Him.”

Rudolf Hoess, the infamous commander of Auschwitz who oversaw the gassing of approximately two million people from July 1941 to the end of 1943 wrote the above journal entry in 1924, while in prison for a savage murder he committed with his own hands. He was one of a group of Nazis who were administered a Rorschach inkblot test while imprisoned after the Second World War. His responses to that test, as well as his jail cell complaints from 1924, were consistent with someone who suffers from PTSD. MacNair concludes that, in Hoess’ case, “what caused what and when has been lost in the mists of time, but Hoess’ case illustrates the possibility that knowledge of PITS serves not only as a way of dealing with those who suffer from it, but perhaps also as an important tool in prevention efforts,” (MacNair, p. 54).

Hoess and other Nazis, who personally oversaw the death of millions, had PTSD symptoms. Law enforcement officers who kill on the job, because they have to, suffer from it to the extent that many police departments have mandatory counseling for every officer involved in a shooting, particularly a fatal incident. And abortion clinic workers suffer from trauma because of their proximity to perceived human death. Yet somehow we are expected to believe that women who undergo abortions are exempt from the trauma of death when it comes to bumping off their unborn children. How could this even be possible? Well, it isn’t. It is in fact arguable that her proximity to the unborn child, including the chemical communication that exists between her body and her child’s, which begins at conception when the fertilized egg sends chemical signals to the mother’s body to prepare it for implantation and pregnancy, makes it even more likely that the mother will identify abortion with the death of another human being, one close to her.

Violent death is inherently traumatic. Abortion is perceived as an act of violence resulting in death even by those who believe they are doing it for benevolent reasons. This is because the human response to death is perceived at an autonomic level in our brains that does not consider the philosophical idea, but only that visceral, gut response that moves us to avoid those things that can hurt us. It is reasonable to conclude that abortion is intrinsically traumatic. Not every witness to a traumatic event develops PTSD, but those who do can become very ill indeed, because unlike the abortion practitioner, the woman who submits to an abortion has an added complication: the “helplessness” factor. No longer able to fight, certainly unable to flee, she faces this life-threatening situation by freezing. In the next segment, I will describe how this freezing response to the trauma of abortion is responsible for psychophysiological illness, based on the research of Dr. Scaer. Later, we will examine the consequences when maternity is associated with trauma, and the possible physiological brain mechanism that makes an inability to bond with our children a potentially unavoidable consequence of abortion.

12 Comments:

At 8:07 PM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

Rachel McNair rocks. I'm linking to this!

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Emily said...

Brilliant.

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger achromic said...

now that was intersting. I wonder if... ok I wonder if the volince and pressure a woman might feel or be experanceing at the time that she is involed in the abortion sitution might enhance her sustablity to becoming PITS. I just donno I get caught up in the chicken vs. the egg consept.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Silent Rain Drops said...

Achro, I'm glad to see you feel well enough to browse my way! Thank you - you always ask the best questions. I think you were the one who originally asked about Michael Schiavo and PTSD, too, but my memory isn't the greatest.

You're absolutely right - pressure and the threat of violence or harm are key to the development of post-traumatic stress. They create a sense of helplessness - here's what Dr. Scaer says in his book, The Body Bears the Burden: "One tends not to develop the diverse and disabling symptoms described [of PTSD] unless the injury occurs in a state of relative helplessness."

This helps explain why some people who experience trauma don't develop post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it seems to conflict with PITS, doesn't it, since it doesn't seem likely that one who perpetrates violence would feel helpless - but violence often results as a form of defense. Once PTSD sets in, though, outbursts of rage are common, so the victim can easily become the perpetrator.

I'm going into more detail on this in the next "segment," because I can't think of anyone who is more helpless or friendless than the woman on her way to the abortion clinic, unless it's her unborn child, of course. This is because, regardless of how she feels, pro-choice or pro-life, the woman seeking an abortion has had to determine she has no one to help her through pregnancy and childbirth. Alone, vulnerable, and helpless, she submits to a sometimes invasive medical procedure that results in violent death - it's the perfect set-up for PTSD.

I will also be describing some of the chicken vs. the egg problem. Most people with PTSD have more than one trauma in their histories, particularly childhood sexual abuse. The early traumas do not strengthen us against trauma to come. With PTSD, our ability to handle trauma is crippled to the extent that future traumas become more and more debilitating.

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger achromic said...

yep that's thing is instead of it being one thing I wonder if it more like a cascade of events that lead to it. Like someone that dies of a bacterial infection.... first off they are usually old, their immune system is compromised for some reason, they don't get the right antibotics for that bacteria early enough, ect. It is rarely just that they had bacteral infection but more that they had it plus other problems. It would be my hypothises that most women that are so dramatized by their abortions were already sick...so to speak. I think you are correct that most women who choose to have an abortion (not all) do feel utterly alone and helpless.... I'm just not so sure that they are wrong.

 
At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Stacy said...

PITS - first off, I like the acronym. As a post-ab woman I love what was written....

 
At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Johanna said...

I was working on a paper of Surrealism and experimenting with automatic writing based on the system of an obscure American psychoanalyst with a German sounding name: Anita Muehl. My subconscious mind did not quite produce a coherent story - as I hoped after reading her book. ;-) the papers were filled with doodles only. But I tried hard! My professor had warned me, that I might not be able to deal with whatever I brought up. But I laughed. Till one morning. I woke up from an Alp silently crying: My god, my god, if I can't forget I won't be able to live on.

THE DREAM: a dark scene a couple of people man killing someone. I am in the back watching. Not interfering. Not stopping them.

On the surface the classic German trauma. I am German, born in 1950. Someone was killed and I did not help him/her. And that was my first response. But the dream didn't want to go away like other dreams. It stood with me for a long time. Dream and reality mixed. Where was I present when someone was killed, and what have I repressed to be able to live on? The Nazi explanation seemed lame, I had studied Freuds work on Dreams. It had to do something with me. After two weeks a couple of explanations seemed to , in fact a whole clew of explanations to keep me from looking at the one thing. My murder.

That was 15 years after the abortion. It took another 20 years till it I could face this and actually realized that a whole series of other alps had actually pointed in exactly this direction. And yes, in some there was a heavy imagery of war and dismememberment. Once I was in the middle of it with my sister, who by the way had two abortions. The second close to her exam. It was like a scene of Apocalypse Now.

Yes frozen, completely frozen. I saw a couple of psychotherapists over the years. What do you feel, what did you feel then, one woman kept asking me. This question really puzzled me. What do I feel? I can tell you what I think, but what do I feel????

 
At 6:09 AM, Blogger Silent Rain Drops said...

Johanna, thank you so very much for sharing your experiences. Dreams of violence and helplessness; being unable to describe feelings, except as an intellectual exercise; I understand these things, too.

It is a lie to tell women they will be unchanged by abortion; that life will go on as before. Some buy into it, and try very hard to act the part of the free choice-wielding liberated woman. Time will tell for them, as it did for me, whether they can succeed in stuffing the killing away.

I cannot - it haunts my dreams, as it does yours, and it colors my every waking moment.

Thank you for stopping by, Johanna. I hope to hear from you again.

 
At 2:29 AM, Blogger chris said...

My husband is a Vietnam veteran suffering from ptsd. One day he was sharing his grief and shame over taking a human life. I clung to him tearfully, thinking I cannot imagine his suffering. Then it dawned on me that this was a pain we shared, I too had taken a human life. That realization helped me to talk about it, and to get help for my own ptsd.
A copy of a poem I wrote for him can be found here on my web site aftermath of war coping with ptsd too.

http://groups.msn.com/AftermathofwarcopingwithPTSDtoo/nothingtoforgive.msnw

This is the one I changed to apply to myself.

NOTHING TO FORGIVE" (adapted for abortion survivors)

A woman stands in judgment today,
Still attempting to atone,
She sheds a tear in memory,
And feels so all alone.
Too many years of silence,
Has ripped this girl apart,
As the death of her unborn child,
Lies heavy on her heart.
She sits alone with sorrow
Questioning the baby's sex and name,
Consumed by her emotions,
Of sorrow, guilt and shame.
Then she travels back in time,
To where it all began,
Back to the abortion clinic,
Where they finalized the plan.
Self doubt and fear plagued the way,
To which she'd heed no warning,
Crying out for absolution,
Yet condemned to a life of mourning.
In that instant when she gave up on,
All the values she held true
"I'm sorry my blessed baby,
There'll never be another you."
With helplessness and horror,
For this life who grew inside,
She still recalls the instant,
When that precious child died.
Staring death in the face,
Knowing she too would die that day,
She tried to deny the agony,
"Don't worry, it's okay."
Shock and horror were the result,
Of taking that precious life
That day she took a tiny heart,
And cut it out with a knife.
Years went by in anguish,
And the girl was never free.
She stood alone against the world,
On the verge of insanity.
Trying her best to hide the pain,
And the tears she never cried.
With too much guilt to bare,
She only thought of suicide.
Wanting to see her baby in heaven,
But knowing it was a sin,
And if she ever followed through,
They wouldn't let her in.
The Lord finally cried out to her,
"It's not your fault my child."
I do not think you're wicked,"
Then he gently smiled.
God showed her all the reasons,
That she was meant to live,
"Now go in peace my daughter,
There's nothing to forgive."
But she closed her ears,
And she closed her mind,
As she carried the guilt,
For leaving her baby behind.
And the woman never told a soul,
Until this very day,
About her aborted baby,
And how it passed away.
Then she brings herself to face the pain,
With all the sorrow that she would feel,
The wounded soul hoped to find,
A place for her to heal.
As she called out to her angel,
She fell upon her knees,
In an anguished voice she whispered,
"Can you forgive me please?"
Then the spirit of the unborn baby,
Reached out to her at last,
"The time has come dear woman,
To let go of the past."
There was a reason to this rhyme,
There's no debt to repay,
I did have a purpose in this life,
And we'll meet again someday.
"Lay to rest your heavy heart,
And don't be afraid to live,
Now go in peace my mommy,
There's nothing to forgive."

Chris Woolnough

June 6, 2005


http://groups.msn.com/AftermathofwarcopingwithPTSDtoo/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=26483&LastModified=4675583050141508291

 
At 2:38 AM, Blogger chris said...

My husband is a Vietnam veteran suffering from ptsd. One day he was sharing his grief and shame over taking a human life. I clung to him tearfully, thinking I cannot imagine his suffering. Then it dawned on me that this was a pain we shared, I too had taken a human life. That realization helped me to talk about it, and to get help for my own ptsd.
A copy of a poem I wrote for him can be found here on my web site aftermath of war coping with ptsd too.

http://groups.msn.com/AftermathofwarcopingwithPTSDtoo/nothingtoforgive.msnw

This is the one I changed to apply to myself.

NOTHING TO FORGIVE" (adapted for abortion survivors)

A woman stands in judgment today,
Still attempting to atone,
She sheds a tear in memory,
And feels so all alone.
Too many years of silence,
Has ripped this girl apart,
As the death of her unborn child,
Lies heavy on her heart.
She sits alone with sorrow
Questioning the baby's sex and name,
Consumed by her emotions,
Of sorrow, guilt and shame.
Then she travels back in time,
To where it all began,
Back to the abortion clinic,
Where they finalized the plan.
Self doubt and fear plagued the way,
To which she'd heed no warning,
Crying out for absolution,
Yet condemned to a life of mourning.
In that instant when she gave up on,
All the values she held true
"I'm sorry my blessed baby,
There'll never be another you."
With helplessness and horror,
For this life who grew inside,
She still recalls the instant,
When that precious child died.
Staring death in the face,
Knowing she too would die that day,
She tried to deny the agony,
"Don't worry, it's okay."
Shock and horror were the result,
Of taking that precious life
That day she took a tiny heart,
And cut it out with a knife.
Years went by in anguish,
And the girl was never free.
She stood alone against the world,
On the verge of insanity.
Trying her best to hide the pain,
And the tears she never cried.
With too much guilt to bare,
She only thought of suicide.
Wanting to see her baby in heaven,
But knowing it was a sin,
And if she ever followed through,
They wouldn't let her in.
The Lord finally cried out to her,
"It's not your fault my child."
I do not think you're wicked,"
Then he gently smiled.
God showed her all the reasons,
That she was meant to live,
"Now go in peace my daughter,
There's nothing to forgive."
But she closed her ears,
And she closed her mind,
As she carried the guilt,
For leaving her baby behind.
And the woman never told a soul,
Until this very day,
About her aborted baby,
And how it passed away.
Then she brings herself to face the pain,
With all the sorrow that she would feel,
The wounded soul hoped to find,
A place for her to heal.
As she called out to her angel,
She fell upon her knees,
In an anguished voice she whispered,
"Can you forgive me please?"
Then the spirit of the unborn baby,
Reached out to her at last,
"The time has come dear woman,
To let go of the past."
There was a reason to this rhyme,
There's no debt to repay,
I did have a purpose in this life,
And we'll meet again someday.
"Lay to rest your heavy heart,
And don't be afraid to live,
Now go in peace my mommy,
There's nothing to forgive."

Chris Woolnough

June 6, 2005


http://groups.msn.com/AftermathofwarcopingwithPTSDtoo/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=26483&LastModified=4675583050141508291

 
At 11:58 PM, Blogger Neatner said...

Thank you.
I needed your reminder tonight.
That day. One day. Everyday.
I can't forget. Knowing better, I fight suidcidal thoughts, trying to convince myself they are chemical. Knowing the truth.

I was driving in the country trying to forget my mistake, the Universe, my own beloved God, directed, my gaze to a sunlit field
bright and lush of the greenest green. White thereupon four does grazed, was my eternal gift from the Author of All Being.
I am 4-given in the most basic of way...and then I wondered if I wasn't being asked to forgive.

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger Silent Rain Drops said...

Dear Neatner,

The hardest task we will ever face, you and I, is forgiving ourselves. But we must. The One Who created us insists that we be merciful to His children - and that includes us.

Please do not try to push away the suicidal thoughts alone. 1-800-HOPE-4-ME is a hotline you can call at any time. And you can email me, too, if you just need someone to listen who will understand.

Rereading this post and the comments, I remembered a dream I had just a few nights ago. I was with a group of people; we were all armed. I don't know what we were doing, but we were taking over a place where there were ordinary people - civilians. Women and children, and old people. Everyone had to kill someone - kill or be killed. They gave me a little girl, blonde, about five years old.

In the dream, I held the gun to her head. She was crying. I tried to pull the trigger, did, and missed, because I couldn't go through with it. I told her to lay still and pretend to be dead. Then I woke up (thank God).

I read about Johanna's dream again. I read your words about never forgetting, never being allowed to forget. And once again, I'm reminded of how powerful the after effects of aborting our children can be. I'm still having nightmares.

But we can, and we do, live on. An author I read wrote that what is past is past, and we have to find a way to live with the memories - "even when they are insane."

Take heart, Neatner. You are never alone; you are precious to your child and your Creator; and they want you to forgive yourself for being human. (I remind myself that I forgave my mother, who forced me into the abortion, and I will always love her - so why would my child be any different? It helps.)

 

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