How My Abortion Impacted My Relationship With My Mother

The following story was shared with Advice & Aid by a friend who had an abortion. This single act had a tremendous – and unexpected – impact for over 40 years on her relationship with her mother.

All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The writer of this story has willingly  given us permission to share her story with our readers.

 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long
in the land the LORD, your God is giving you.”  ~
Exodus 20:12

Born on June 24, 1934, my mother entered this world as an only child of Fred & Florence.  The country was in the throes of the Great Depression, but my mother’s parents lived comfortably on their combined salaries. They helped family members who were less fortunate during this time. Fred was a Sales Regional Manager with the American Can Company and Florence worked for the government in the Defense Department.  Within two years Fred, Florence and Nancy would travel to from Milwaukee to Kansas City to establish their home.

My sister and I are the recipients of the heritage left by our grandparents and parents.  My mother, Nancy, married my father, Nick, in August 1956 and I was born two years later in 1958. As our mother faces the remaining months of her life, I seek to share my heritage in an effort to honor this woman who gave birth to me, her eldest daughter.

For most of my adult years I struggled to have an authentic relationship with my mother.  Nancy was kind, very generous and had a full heart for serving without notoriety.  On the flip side, she was insecure and lived in fear of making others angry and was deeply involved (too much so) with her family’s lives.  Her mother, Florence, was a strict, critical and demanding mother, albeit one who loved her family deeply.  Nancy loved her mother, but was really much closer to her father, Fred.   Fred was full of life and often the “life of the party,” whereas Florence was the “hostess with the most.”  Nancy was a mixture of both her parents.

My mother and I began the distance-dance when I turned fifteen.  The center of my world no longer revolved around my family, but was firmly rooted in school friend’s circles.  As an adult, I realize now how difficult it is to begin stepping away as your children learn to fly into the semi-adult worlds of junior & high school.  Then our worlds imploded with one unexpected bomb … at sixteen, I became pregnant.

The decision to have an abortion was one decision that irrevocably changed our family dynamics for the worse My father signed the papers permitting the abortion and my mother drove me for the procedure.  My father expressed no remorse for the actual abortion, itself, for the duration of his life, but my mother experienced deep grief, remorse and guilt over her part as the mother-of-the-pregnant-teenager.  Our family would not talk about this event for many, many years.  Only upon his deathbed did Nick share that he felt badly about my pregnancy, but believed that life truly begins with the newborn’s first breath. Nancy wasn’t quite so sure.

Nancy has now lived 42 years beyond that tragic year.  In the last twelve years we have talked honestly and explored both of our hearts together.  We both deeply regret the decision to abort this tiny baby, and the healing of our mother-daughter relationship developed slowly for both of us.

For the past ten years, Nancy has lived, at first, under my roof, and now, in an assisted living/nursing care facility.  My sister supports me as I support our mother.  Nancy clings to life because she is fearful of dying ~ this I have heard her say aloud.

Recently I studied with Stella, a hospice chaplain who specifically helps others move through the grief process.  My heart aches for my mother because understanding and true forgiveness came late in our lives. We wasted so much time not talking about the wedge that drove us apart.  I have learned much about my mother and myself through this study on grief.  Nancy lived life the best that she knew how.  Given the circumstances and the times, we plodded through life loving one another, yet living with some emotional distance which frustrated both of us.  After the “event,” Nancy became super-involved with working at Sprint and building upon her female friendships.  I was busy raising three children including one special son.  My mother and I were unable to bridge the emotional gap between us.

No longer guarded with one another, I can now truly embrace the woman who grew-up in the shadow of a dominant Mother.  Nancy wrestles with severe dementia and can no longer impart wisdom.  But she can listen and whisper, “I love you so much.”

God has whispered to my soul, “Love your mother, unconditionally, as I have loved you.”  and so I have.  My prayers are for my mother to experience true joy and peace as she wrestles through the remaining months of her life.

Since learning and understanding the depths of my mother’s love for me, I have come to a state of forgiveness both for her part in my decision, but mostly, for myself for blaming Mom for my decision.

In conclusion, I leave you with these “Six Practical Ways to Honor Your Parents” …

1.  Forgive them.
2.  Speak well of them.
3.  Esteem them publicly and privately.
4.  Seek their wisdom.
5.  Support them.
6.  Provide for them.

Author:  Tim Challies, blogger, author and book reviewer

If you are interested in reading other stories like this, visit these links:
Nicole’s Story
Kelly’s Story

If you have had an abortion – or are thinking about it – there may be emotions, pain, struggle and impact on relationships that are hard to deal with on your own. That’s why we are here!

Every day, we talk to women in that very position. And they are finally given the help  and the hope they are looking for.

You can talk to us at any time. We are waiting for you.

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