Analysis

Fathers speak out about their abortion grief: ‘Devastated would be an understatement’

abortion, Argentina, fathers

Unless they are supporting abortion, men are told to remain silent on the topic. But while abortion is known as an issue that affects women, the truth is, it has an effect on fathers as well. And more of them are speaking out about the heartbreak they have experienced after losing their children to abortion.

The Daily Mail recently interviewed several men who opened up about their abortion experiences.

Jean-Paul

Jean-Paul Noel-Cephise, the first featured in the article, said he was excited to learn his girlfriend was pregnant; he had always wanted to be a father. He thought the time was right, as he and his girlfriend were happy together, he owned his own home, and he had a good job. But his girlfriend, with whom he had been for just four months, had different plans.

“When her period was late, we decided that the best thing was for her to do a test. After what seemed like an age, she came out of the bathroom and handed me the test, telling me how upset she was,” he recalled. “She told me she was not going to have our child. I honestly thought she was saying it to make me feel better about the situation.”

He said he tried to reassure her, but it was to no avail. Even visiting pregnancy centers offering different options did nothing to change her mind. “I sat there, practically mute, during these discussions, unable to believe how we had got to this stage,” he said. “While I was glad these other options were being presented to us, nothing had any impact on her and I increasingly felt powerless to do anything about it.”

Ultimately, he knew nothing would change her mind, so he paid for the abortion. Despite that, he wasn’t allowed to be present with her during the abortion. “The clinic had a policy of seeing women on their own to ensure they weren’t being forced into having an abortion. That was a real low point — that and the fact that there was zero regard for me or my feelings,” he said. “There I was fighting to keep my child and yet the blanket assumption is that you’re forcing a woman into this. It’s so hard to explain the anger and frustration I felt. There is no regard for us men — our wishes or feelings are unimportant.”

READ: Man recalls the impact of abortion on him, his wife, and their marriage: ‘I regret my lost fatherhood’

Afterward, he said his girlfriend was depressed and needed support, but he couldn’t find any for the pain he was suffering. “For a while, I was angry that women can make the final decision when two people were involved in creating that life,” he explained. “While I’d never want a woman not to have control over her own body I have really tussled with the fact that ultimately she gets to make the choice without my input.”

He said he had trouble sleeping and was given anti-depressants and sleeping pills, though he refused to take them, believing they were not the problem. He had to grieve and find a way to forgive his girlfriend, something he said he struggled with for a long time.

Today, Jean-Paul has welcomed other children, but he hasn’t forgotten the first child — the one killed in abortion.

“I still feel sad about it — the ‘what ifs’ are still seared on my heart. Five years ago I wrote a book about relationships and one of the dedications was to ‘Joseph,'” he said. Everyone asked who he was, and I’ve kept it a secret — until now.”

He concluded, “It took me a long time to come to terms with the loss. It still pains me that I’ll never know what kind of human being that child would have become. Those thoughts have never left me — and I suspect they never will.”

Laurence

Unlike Jean-Paul, Laurence had been with his partner for a long time. They were engaged and had been together for 18 months when she announced that she was pregnant and that she wanted an abortion. Laurence said he was shocked.

“I’d already mentally earmarked our spare room as a nursery,” he said. “We were a happy couple and all that could add to it was to become a family, too. We hadn’t overtly discussed it but I’d made it clear on more than one occasion that I’d love to become a father. I thought she’d be a great mum. So when she informed me she was having an abortion, to say I was devastated would be an understatement.”

The shock only grew when his fiancée moved out for a month, purportedly to think over the situation. Instead, he got a text message informing him the abortion had been completed. Not only had she undergone an abortion, but she told him she had been having an affair as well, which Laurence said was heartbreaking — but not a reason for him to turn his back on his child.

“Apparently, she had been seeing a work colleague on the side,” he said. “I suppose I should think I had a lucky escape and, while it might have been horrible having a baby with someone who had cheated, the truth is I know that I’d have made the best of the situation and loved that child because I loved her, too.”

Jonathan

Like Laurence, Jonathan, now 55, was engaged when he found out he was a father. But his fiancée was scared she would be ridiculed for getting married while pregnant. “We were two months away from our wedding day and she was terrified of how it would look if she walked down the aisle with a bump or a hastily refitted dress,” he said. “While I said everything I could to reassure her, and, to be fair, her closest friends did, too, she zoned everyone out. She just wasn’t going to go through with it.”

She had the abortion and they got married. But within a year, Jonathan left.

“I just couldn’t create a life with this person who wasn’t able to consider my feelings when it came to our potential child,” he said. “I understand when women are in dire circumstances or are at a stage in their life when it just isn’t safe or financially a good idea — but there was no reason for us to have done this. Was it her vanity, or insecurity? I don’t know. It seems harsh to say this now a decade on, but her blinkered decision made me fall out of love with her. It was as simple as that.”

Many men have spoken about their regret after an abortion loss. Many of them still feel traumatized and grieve for years, if not decades, afterward. It’s yet another sign that abortion doesn’t just take the life of a preborn child. It can shatter the lives of the parents, too.

If you are a father who has post-abortion grief, there are resources that can help you. Check out Silent No More, Healing After Abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard, or a local pregnancy resource center for help. If you are the father of a preborn child you are trying to save from abortion, this link can help. You can also look into Abortion Pill Reversal, or call 1-877-558-0333, if the mother regrets her abortion. Stand Up Girl and Pregnancy Line can also give information for men or women, and have the ability to text, call, email, or chat.

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