The words Christian and abortion are not two that regularly are seen together. Yet, this is something we need to talk about.
Chances are, you know someone who has had an abortion – whether you want to admit it or not. Or if not, you have certainly heard about abortion, in the news and on the streets. Perhaps you’ve had one in the past, yourself… and you are still looking for healing and closure.
Yet even if you have a past or have read the headlines, there may be something you haven’t heard of: a post-abortion doula.
A post-abortion doula is not what you think.
Remember that a doula is a woman who comes alongside the mother in labor, as her helper? The word has evolved to encompass women who are trained to help other women in all things surrounding pregnancy and birth – to give her information and resources, as well as emotional support and physical comfort, in this time.
As this is what the faith-based post-abortion doula does to a woman who has had an abortion – no matter how far in the past it was. We come alongside and help her to name, grieve, and redeem. This mirrors much of what my article on the battle for life spoke of.
In order for anyone to better understand this issue, we must look at why women in the church, and in society in general, are getting abortions. Then we fill in the gaps.
Rather than just yelling at her “YOU CAN’T DO THAT,” instead be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, come alongside her, and show compassion, support, share resources. After all, the battle for life starts in our communities, not in our government.
How is your community supporting women who don’t know where to turn when they unexpectedly become pregnant? Does she know there are others who will support her to choose life, or does she feel ostracized, alone, outcast, because of the way we advocate for life?
Just because we value the sanctity of life doesn’t give us an excuse to be nasty about it. Instead, spread truth, and show grace.
Even if she makes a decision to end a child’s life, whether she believes it or not, that is not a reason to treat her as discard. Still, come alongside. Fill in the gaps. Show compassion, and meet her where she is. A woman who has had an abortion will need love and support and grace. She needs help to understand that she is not a failure because she chose abortion, and that there is forgiveness through the cross. God still loves her, flaws, mistakes, sin, and all. She is still suffering emotionally, spiritually, and physically. She needs hope, and love.
Come alongside, and fill in the gaps. And this is where my recent training as a faith-based post-abortion doula comes in.
Here are some ways a Christian Post-Abortion Doula can support:
- She takes the time to listen and understand
- She listens to her client’s experiences, fears, and histories without judgement
- She validates the emotional challenges the client may gave and offers encouragement and reassurance as needed
- She determines where the client is on their journey and decides what type of support is needed, and if it’s within her scope of training
- She provides support based on the client’s desires and needs, not on one’s own opinion
- She withholds judgement, opinions, and all biases
- She leads her to healing through the love and forgiveness we have in Jesus Christ
- She encourages and supports the client through the spiritual, emotional, and physical aftermath of abortion
- She does not hesitate to refer her client to more specific trained individuals for help, such as therapists, or doctors
How can a faith-based post-abortion doula help to fill the gaps in our society?
By becoming the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, in a world that desperately needs Him.
When you can properly and fully grieve, you are at a place to receive God’s forgiveness and compassion. You come to a place to forgive yourself and others involved in the abortion. You can move onto accepting that this is a part of her story, her past, and to have hope for the future. As Christians, we know that we can look forward to a day where there is no more sorrow, to where we will meet our child again in heaven.
She can walk forward in freedom from bondage, the yoke of unforgiveness, the roots of bitterness. She can then step into a compassionate state for others, even those who scolded her decision and alienated her more. She can forgive those who hurt her, who told her it was her only option, who ignored her pleas for help, who ostracized her when they found out what happened.
She can accept God’s forgiveness, move away from the depression and guilt and shame, and step into the joy God intends her to have. Once she embraces God’s promises for the broken-hearted and downtrodden, she will be free to walk in victory, knowing that He feels her pain and is ready to comfort her, even when the enemy tries to dig up the past.
A faith-based post abortion doula assists clients on this journey. The grief and understanding she has will ebb and flow, but Christ is steadfast. She should not be discouraged – healing is not lost, it is a process.
The gaps in our society come from sin, hurt, grief, and pain. People get lost through the cracks when we aren’t looking out for each other. Just because we walk alongside someone in their sin and grief doesn’t mean we condone what happened – rather, it means we see her as a daughter of God, created in His image.
Grief is a very personal process, there is no need to compare. One day soon, from this will come a testimony of how God redeemed the mess and brought healing. It will come, by God’s grace. This takes time, and that’s okay.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.Revelation 12:11 NASB
Here are some ways a post-abortion doula can help her clients to process and share her testimony:
- Never push a client to share their story. Sometimes, words need to be kept to ourselves, and sharing something so vulnerable before we are healed can do damage to our souls and feeling of worth
- Have your client write down her experience. What were the circumstances that made her feel that she had no choice but to abort her baby? How did she feel before, during ,and after her clinic appointment? Can she put to words the pain, sorrow, grief, or indifference she experiences afterward? Has she felt relief, hope, and joy when receiving God’s forgiveness?
- After she has written her story, she can decide what she wants to do with it. Some options are to keep it on hand, have it published somewhere, share a testimonial. She of course can also express her story through a type of art, such as painting or photography.
One of the most powerful ways to stop other women from aborting is for them to hear testimonies of others who have gone before them, given in a loving and non-judgmental manner.
One of the most powerful ways to help a woman heal from a past abortion is to listen to her story and offer your compassion and grace, and to pray with her and for her.
Further, become the hands and feet of Jesus, the church in action, in a world that desperately needs Him – a world that is desperate for redemptive healing.
Our lives are rooted in story, from our birth stories, stories of different life events, stories of our family, stories of God’s chosen people in the Bible.
Story is how God chose to reveal Himself to us, through the story and purpose found in His son, Jesus Christ. Story is pivotal to the human experience and our faith. Stories of grief and hardship and confusing experiences lead to testimonies of how we saw God move in an area of our lives, and how He redeems us in these circumstances. Story is a powerful way to pave the way for healing for others. Story opens the door for others to find healing, too.
By gaining encouragement and strength to write her story, she can become a compassion, gracious, and God-fearing person who can help another woman, whether the decision was made in the past, or she is contemplating how to respond to an unexpected pregnancy.
If you or someone you know has had or is contemplating an abortion, please reach out to your local pregnancy resource center, or find a local Christian doula who will walk alongside in pregnancy, grief, and new life. A few resources to network with include women’s shelters, pregnancy resource centers, churches, therapists, and birth/trauma support groups.