How to talk to your kids about your abortion

Cradle My Heart Radio with advice for parenting after abortion this Sunday June 2 at 9 pm

© Claudia Dewald

© Claudia Dewald

[UPDATE: podcast posted 6-3-13]

The majority–61 % of women–who choose to abort a child before birth will also have the experience of mothering other children at some point in their lives.

How important is it for your kids to know about that past abortion?

How do you talk to your kids about your abortion? And should you?

These are sensitive questions which require discernment and prayer. The answers are as deeply and uniquely personal as your abortion story itself.

Yet, I see real value in speaking truth to your children when the time is right. The way my kids came to know about my abortion was not ideal. I learned the hard way what not to do. Don’t assume abortion should be kept secret. Likewise, don’t share the news of a past abortion without a very good reason to do so. It takes careful preparation and  parental wisdom to talk to your kids in a way that will benefit them and increase their feelings of safety and belonging while maintaining their innate need to look up to you as  a positive role model.

Talking to your kids about abortion is not a one-and-done. I first talked to my kids about my abortion a decade ago when they were in their teens. We’ve had more conversations as the years have unfolded. And it doesn’t necessarily get any easier as we go. One of the main challenges is to have an age-appropriate conversation.

Coming up this week on Cradle My Heart Radio we’ll welcome back “Monica” to share her story of telling her kids about an abortion during a season of grief after the childrens’ father had recently died in a tragic accident.

Here are some tips from the Eliot Institute which we’ll be discussing as we go:

Tips for Talking With Your Children About A Past Abortion
1) Make sure you have worked through the grief process first.

2) Seek the advice of a trusted counselor, minister, priest, support group leader or other trusted source.

3) Think about your motives for telling your children to make sure it’s in the best interests of the children rather than seeking to resolve your issues.

4) Think about your children’s level of maturity and ability to handle such information.

If you choose to share your story:

5) Be age-appropriate in discussing past abortions with your children.

6) Reassure your children that you will always love and accept them no matter what. Make sure teens and older children know they can always come to you.

7) Have outside support in place.

8) Respect your children’s right to grieve, and assure them that they are free to express their feelings and take the time to work through them.

9) Answer questions honestly and openly, giving your children as much information as they seem able to handle.

10) Stress that this is a “family issue” only, and not one to discuss with others outside the family.

11) When the children are ready, find a way that you as a family can acknowledge and memorialize the child lost to abortion.

Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 12(1) Jan-March 2004. Copyright 2004 Elliot Institute.

There are mental health professionals who believe that kids have an intuitive knowledge of a missing sibling or half-sibling. And sometimes kids find out on their own. There may be other compelling reasons to share the truth with your kids. Together we’ll explore the best ways to accomplish that in your family today.

Join us for Cradle My Heart Radio on Sunday June 2 at 9 p ET.

5 comments

  1. the station is playing someone else right now, but we are all praying for you and send our love!!

  2. coming through now from a different station. Proud of both of you!

  3. […] If you are on my facebook or twitter, this will be no surprise for you.Regardless, I will share! I am SO proud of my mom! For many reasons, but I am bringing it up again, because last night she was on the radio again! Same show as before, but this time, she was the only guest! She shared more about her abortion, and how she came to tell us about it, etc. I really hope and believe it’ll deeply touch many who listen. Despite the pain I’ve had to go through, I am so thankful that she had the courage to tell us about our youngest brother. Although I’ve never met him, I feel very close to him. And it’s made me look so differently at the whole abortion thing. I knew for awhile what abortion was, wasn’t for it, etc. But now i know it’s not just an easy, care/pain free decision for many women, I know that it affects more than just the mother and the baby, i can also now see why some would feel pro choice, due to my sensitivity to the graphic images, etc. Working alongside her has been such a huge blessing for me, majorly aiding in the healing. While I wish I could’ve helped her during her pregnancy, and immediately after the abortion, I have peace knowing that I can reach out to others. My heart goes out to those who do not have the same freedom. I dream of a time when my group on facebook does not have to be secret, and where those affected by abortion, especially the mothers, are encouraged to speak up, without fear of judgement over their decision/experience, etc. I long for more unity in this movement, so that nobody feels left out on account of their religious views, orientation or anything else. Hope that all makes sense. Without further ado here is the podcast link: Okay, last radio interview post! Thanks all of you for being respectful and tolerant of them. Here is the podcast for anyone interested: http://cradlemyheart.org/2013/05/28/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-your-abortion/ […]

  4. Gregory · · Reply

    Aunt Monica, I love you. You’re brave, beautiful, and awesome!!

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