When we consider the effects of abortion, we usually think of those most directly affected: the mother, the father, the aborted child. But abortion’s effects are much more far-reaching and insidious. Siblings of those aborted often suffer very real feelings of loss and grief.
I remember the first time I talked to someone who told me she had an aborted sibling. She was my college roommate, and she was an only child. Sort of. She admitted to me that she was supposed to have a brother three years her senior. Their mother had aborted him at four months’ gestation after repeated demands to do so by her boyfriend.
My friend tells me that she feels her brother’s absence like a hole in her heart that no man will ever fill. She tells me that she speaks to him sometimes, in her mind and in her dreams. She wonders about the life they would have had growing up together. Would they have fought a lot? Would he have counseled her on boy matters? Would he have scolded her for her overzealous high-school drinking?
She believes that in this other world, she is already an aunt. Her brother would have met a girl. Married her. Had babies my friend would babysit and spoil shamelessly.
She feels cheated. She feels lonelier than an only child should feel.
Her story is not an uncommon one. Many persons with aborted family members suffer a crippling sense of loss or anger. Most suffer in silence. While post-abortion grief counseling and support groups for post-abortive mothers and fathers are increasingly common, those for siblings are virtually nonexistent.
Lumina, a post-abortion ministry directed by Theresa Bonopartis, is helping to break this silence by providing resources and community for siblings of aborted babies.
One of the ways in which Lumina does this is by providing a yearly healing retreat for siblings. This upcoming March, Lumina again presents its “Entering Canaan Healing Weekend,” a program specifically designed to help siblings of aborted babies. Past participants have expressed gratitude for the “great peace and comfort” provided by the retreat.
If you or anyone you know still grieves the loss of a sibling through abortion, know that there is hope and that there is a community of people experiencing the same sort of emotions. Lumina’s retreat seeks to bring together that community and at once validate and help heal painful feelings.
Siblings of aborted babies need suffer in silence no longer.