The key to moving on from the pain and loss is awareness and understanding  

  Newsletter Excerpts 2018 

Workbook for Men and Menís Stories

Men are so often forgotten in regards to abortion / termination,
and their experiences and pain is often even more unacknowledged than that of women.

There is a taboo still for those affected by abortion/termination to speak about their experiences. The subject makes people uncomfortable. As a society abortion / termination appears to be eadily accepted, yet to address issues or concerns around it, with people or for people, is met with suspicion, negativity, denial or keeping a wide berth.

Abortion is not an issue that is going away. It is real and prevalent. So much so there will be somebody in your circle who has had a direct experience, or an indirect one, and may be impacted.

Quite a bit has been written about womenís experiences, and there is a fair bit of support now in NZ for women who have had abortions / terminations. But there is little available for men.

Carolina Gnad, author of the 14 Guidepost Programme for healing after abortion, is wanting to develop a workbook for men. The hope in developing this workbook is to gain insight into menís perspectives and experiences and offer guys a framework to look at their experience and what is has meant for them.

For that, it would be helpful to hear from men who have had an abortion / termination experience, to understand what happened and how the abortion may have affected you or changed your life and relationships.

Stories will be held in confidence and no publication or sharing of your story will happen without your consent. If anything is published in the workbook, every endeavour will be made to protect your identity. And you have the right to withdraw at any point.

It is a big thing to give voice to an experience like this. And it can stir things up for you doing so. You are not alone. Some men who have accessed help over the years have said:

ďI thought saying I would support her whatever she decided was what she needed and expected. It seems in saying that she felt more alone like the decision was up to her even though we discussed the pros and cons together.Ē (Client C)

ďThis experience has never left me. I think sometimes about it and wonder what could have been different and feel sad about my part in it. I now have children and I wonder about the one in the abortion more now.Ē (Client B)

ďI did not know about the termination until afterwards. I fely gutted. It has left a rift in our marriage. Her mother and her made the decision. I do not know how I will ever forgive her for this betrayal. We have one child already and I would dearly have loved another.Ē (Client G)

ďThe abortion did not really affect me at the time. It felt right and our reasoning was good. I supported her and she seemed fine with it. Until about six months after when she began to cry a lot and became rather angry. I was concerned and wonder how I can support her.Ē (Client D)

Whether you feel significantly impacted, or not, your experience is important and could help someone else. Or, you may be someone who works with men and can offer insights from your experience. This too would be valuable. Rules of confidentiality and discretion applies.

Work on the workbook will begin mid July. If you are a man who has an abortion experience, or work with men, please consider sharing your experience. Write to carolina@postabortionpaths.org.nz

- Carolina Gnad

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Motherís Day

May and another Motherís Day!?
It is great to acknowledge the place and work of mothers in our families and communities.
But for some women who are mothers, this can be a difficult time.

How do I give myself
permission to own my
motherhood and allow my real
feelings of connection and love
find expression on this special
day, when I am caught in
painful memories, filled with
grief or longing, or subject to
judgement or self criticism for
what happened?

For many mothers this day is a day of joy and celebration. An opportunity to graciously receive and be affirmed and feel valued.

On the other hand, separation or alienation from children, or children from their mothers, losses of children and the loss of a mother, termination loss with feelings of pain and feelings of what could have been, can trigger a myriad of emotions on such a day. So many different realities for different people.

Attachment and bonding in any pregnancy can feel shadowy and submerged but often more so in a pregnancy destined for termination. For many women at the time of their pregnancy the sense of confusion was high. The natural effect of hormones, alongside the physiological response to being in crisis, can alter a womenís experience of attachment biochemically, psychologically and emotionally.

Different women frame up a subsequent abortion/termination experience in ways that assist adjustment afterwards well. But for others there remains a lingering grief, trauma and confusion. What happens to the maternal bond through all of this, and how is motherhood acknowledged and supported beyond an abortion/termination?

The reality for many post abortive women is that to have been at once attached to and feel responsible for the death of the developing life inside can be a huge tension or dilemma, not easily resolved. What then happens at the deeper levels of a womenís being in destroying a pregnancy is often not acknowledged or affirmed at the time or afterwards. And the different longings she may have had, and may continue to have, are often not really considered.

Some women who have had abortions / terminations who did not feel bonded to their pregnancies or preborns at the time of the abortion / termination may have few issues. For them Motherís Day may be a non-event or not hold particular meaning. And that is fine for them.

Still for others who felt more attached or connected to their little ones through the pregnancy and abortion / termination process, times like Motherís Day can be particularly poignant or difficult.

The hiddeness and complexity of issues around an abortion / termination loss can hinder a sense of embracing motherhood or allowing oneself to celebrate on Motherís Day.

How do I give myself permission to own my motherhood and allow my real feelings of connection and love find expression on this special day, when I am caught in painful memories, filled with grief or longing, or subject myself to judgement or self criticism for what happened?

Feelings for post abortive women at times like Motherís Day are often further constrained by the reactions and expectations of others, and so often post abortive women struggle in the silence of their realities not feeling understood or supported. or acknowledged in their pain.

It is okay to acknowledge what you lost in the abortion / termination, and it is okay to embrace your motherhood if you wish. Being real about how your feel and what it has meant and means for you is all important.

If you are a post abortive woman,
listen to your heart on Motherís Day
and do what you feel you need to for you.
Be kind to yourself.
Allow yourself to acknowledge.
Pamper yourself.
You are worthy.
You are special.

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