Maternal Confusion

Theresa Burke
with David C. Reardon
Forbidden Grief: Chapter 5
Reproduced with Permission

Clarissa was 19 when she became pregnant. Mike, a 21-year-old college student, was her high-school sweetheart, whom she had been dating for four years. They often talked of marriage and an exciting future together. But when she told him that she was pregnant, he became agitated and nervous and he wondered how they would manage.

At the time, Clarissa was living with her older sister Jane, who suggested that Clarissa have an abortion. Jane herself had undergone an abortion at the age of 18. She reassured Clarissa that abortion was no big deal -- she would be fine and life would go on. Jane also insisted that Clarissa would have to move out if she decided to have the baby.

Although abortion was in direct opposition to her instinct and reason, Clarissa followed her sister's directives and had the abortion. Because her boyfriend had acted so unsure about having a baby, Clarissa hoped that her decision would please him. After all, she loved him very much and figured they could have another child someday in the future.

When she entered the clinic, she was crying and upset. Apparently, none of the clinic's staff observed or cared that Clarissa was deeply distressed and ambivalent, even though such symptoms are well known risk factors that clearly predict subsequent psychological problems. The only counseling Clarissa received was about birth control. No effort was made to help her to sort out her true feelings. Furthermore, no time was given to help Mike adjust to the idea of becoming a father.

Immediately after the abortion, Clarissa knew she had made a terrible mistake. She grieved heavily. When she cried to Jane about her feelings, her sister responded coldly, "Oh, well, too bad. I guess you made a mistake."

Mike was deeply distressed because he genuinely loved Clarissa. He was remorseful that his fears had prompted her to abort the pregnancy so swiftly. He knew how much she was hurting, yet nothing he did or said could console her. Clarissa missed her baby with all her heart. She had frequent thoughts of suicide as a way to be reunited with her child again. Her only other hope was to become pregnant again. Another child might serve to "replace" the child she had lost.

Although Clarissa wanted desperately to become pregnant again, she felt she did not have the "right" to have a baby. Additionally, she felt as though she did not deserve to "coddle and coo" little babies. While other women were drawn to them like magnets and would eagerly fuss over a new baby, Clarissa felt she had to watch from afar. She exiled herself to a lonely world where the endearing expressions of an infant's face were inaccessible and forbidden pleasures. As time passed, Clarissa realized she had become cruelly altered. She was angry. She felt alone, violated, and betrayed.

Several months later, when a woman at work announced her pregnancy, Clarissa instantly became jealous and irritated. Perhaps this was exactly how her own sister felt when Clarissa disclosed her pregnancy. Her sister had been denied her child. Why should Jane have offered Clarissa support when she became pregnant?

Clarissa's experience is an example of how an abortion can become interwoven with issues concerning maternal identity. In this chapter we will explore how abortion can affect a woman's perception of her own maternal nature and that of others.

"I HATE PREGNANT WOMEN"

After an abortion, many women develop an aversion toward pregnant women because they are visible reminders of what they have lost. This was Clarissa's experience, and perhaps the experience of her sister Jane as well. Kathleen described her struggle in this way:

Whenever I see a pregnant woman, I panic. They make me so sad. I think, how come they can have their baby and I couldn't? I know this sounds bizarre, but I start to feel jealous and angry. I know abortion was my choice, but it was because I had to . . . not because I wanted to. What gives pregnant women the right to have a baby when I couldn't? I hate pregnant women. I hate to see them.

Another client, Gwen, had been able to repress her post-abortion grief until a woman she worked with became pregnant. Up to that point, she had been able to avoid the sight of pregnant women. But afterwards, her "forced" proximity to this pregnant woman became so unbearable she felt she simply had to quit a job she loved.

When I found out my co-worker was pregnant, I was overcome with anxiety and fear. I didn't want to even look at her. I knew I couldn't take watching her belly growing each day with a baby. Hearing everyone come up to her to give congratulations was more than I could bear. I knew I had to leave that job because of her pregnancy—and I did after three weeks of torturous anxiety and guilt.

I just couldn't take it. I didn't want to be around to hear about a nursery being decorated, maternity clothes, and just witnessing the whole thing. It filled me with panic—my heart felt like it could beat out of my chest. I always had a knot in my stomach and sickness in my heart. I liked that job, but I could not put myself through watching her for the next nine months, so I quit.

In their hurt and despair, some women will jealously "claw" at the pregnant women around them who remind them of their loss. They despise those who would dare to enjoy what they cannot. A sad example of this was voiced by Mirna:

I am a top sales supervisor for a leading pharmaceutical company. My job was my life. It had to be. I aborted three pregnancies so that I could compete in the business world. Now I've gone as far as I can go. When I tried to have children, I couldn't . . . I guess it was too late. It wasn't until then that I began to grieve what I had lost.

Facing the emptiness of my life . . . with this supposedly brilliant career, I felt unhappy, unfulfilled, insecure and bitter. For years I was mean and angry because I had never dealt with my losses. I took my anger out on women working under me who had kids. I literally made their lives hell. Since I couldn't juggle multiple roles, I didn't want anyone else to . . . at least not without misery.

WHO WANTS A BABY ANYWAY?

Carol felt smothered and panicky every time she saw a baby. She avoided baby showers, kiddy birthday parties, and any events which featured toddlers. She explained:

I don't know why . . . but I'm not comfortable around kids. They make me nervous. I guess I don't have the patience for them. Kids give me a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.

This queasiness around children did not develop until after her abortion. Carol used to love children and recalls babysitting jobs as a teenager as something she enjoyed. At an earlier time, before the abortion, Carol even had ambitions of becoming a teacher.

Peggy also avoided anything to do with babies and children. She despised children and had a particular hatred and cynicism toward pregnant women. When she saw a co-worker after the woman had given birth, she exclaimed, "Every mother I know must have had a lobotomy after giving birth. Did you get yours when the kid came out?"

Peggy, too, did not have these negative attitudes prior to her abortion. An unconscious need to justify her own abortion had turned into an irrational projection that having children made you stupid. Who in her right mind would want kids? Peggy not only disowned her natural desire for children, she also developed a loathing of youngsters and motherhood to bolster her defense against the loss she experienced through abortion.

Maryelle was also disturbed by pregnant women and their children.

I have worked in a supermarket for eight years. Since my abortion, every time I see a pregnant woman coming into the checkout line, I feel like I've got to shake off a disgusting feeling. I look away and try not to notice her belly. It's weird. First I feel disgusted by her. Then I feel sorry for her. If she has kids with her, they are always annoying little brats. I have absolutely no patience. Then I feel really sad. When I start to feel sad, I think about how irritating those little kids are.

Maryelle's defense against her own feelings of grief and sadness was to focus on how miserable mothers with children must really be. Her reaction was straight out of Aesop's fable of the fox and the grapes. Unable to reach the beautiful bunch of grapes, the fox walked off, complaining that they must certainly have been "sour grapes" and that he was better off without them.

I NEED A BABY SO BAD

Shortly after their abortions, as many as one out of four women report that they experience the desire for a "replacement baby." Nearly half of these will become pregnant within a year of their abortions (see Appendix C). According to Hannah:

After my abortion, I wanted to get pregnant in the worst way. I wanted a baby so bad. I would go through the stores and look at baby clothes, cribs, and strollers -- imagining which ones I would buy. I envisioned ripping a hole in my boyfriend's condom with my teeth so that we could conceive another child.

For some women, becoming pregnant is not only a way to "replace" the child lost to abortion but also a way to reclaim their former selves. According to Alicia:

My abortion made me very unstable as a person. Soon afterwards, I became pregnant again. I loved being pregnant! I felt so beautiful and very feminine. I felt like I was carrying diamonds and gold in my womb.

Because they are so anxious to become pregnant, many post-abortive women are predisposed to feel guilt and anxiety if they do not succeed in becoming pregnant right away. Kim's concerns about her fertility were directly related to her traumatic experience with abortion.

After my abortion I was fearful that I might not get another chance. I got married shortly after and tried to get pregnant right away. It didn't happen immediately and I was a complete wreck. I felt guilty and sad and anxious. I was worried all the time. My husband tried to reassure me and constantly told me to calm down. I was a frantic mess. I probably spent hundreds of dollars taking pregnancy tests. I was obsessed with becoming pregnant.

Kim's experience is also an example of the fact that for many women the preoccupation with becoming pregnant is a useful distraction from their unresolved grief. By focusing their worries and hopes on becoming pregnant, the post-abortion pain is pushed into the background.

There are two problems with this strategy. First, at best it only delays the inevitable. Even if the woman successfully becomes pregnant, she will soon discover her newborn child cannot "replace" the child who was lost. Indeed, as we will see in examples throughout this book, watching her "replacement" child grow may even prompt unpredictable attacks of post-abortion grief for the child who cannot share the family's experiences. Sooner or later the postponed grief work will still demand her attention.

The second risk with this strategy is that if the woman faces any setbacks in becoming pregnant, her anxiety level is likely to grow exponentially, as in Kim's case. This heightened anxiety can actually make it more difficult to become pregnant, thereby increasing her anxiety level even more. It can become a vicious cycle.

It is very common for women who have had abortions to experience doubts about their ability to have children in the future. This fear can be centered upon either actual physical consequences of abortion or on an irrational fear that God will punish them for their abortion by denying them any other children. Jackie shared her ordeal:

When my husband and I were trying for our first one, it was taking longer than we thought. I thought for sure I was being punished. Even before I married, I was always afraid that I would never be able to get pregnant. Believe me, I really thought I had earned that punishment. I felt so much guilt. I thought I didn't deserve children. I had already been given two chances. I aborted them both.

Even if there is no desire for a "replacement baby" or any anxiety about future fertility, it is common for women to suddenly face unresolved abortion issues during a subsequent pregnancy. According to Meredith:

When I finally decided to have a baby, my abortion began to bother me. I had some difficulties with bleeding and premature labor. I was fearful that I would never be able to have children. Emotionally I was a wreck. I stayed in bed for nearly six months of the pregnancy. I was afraid to do anything that might hurt the baby. I was so anxious and fearful, and underneath that was a ton of guilt. I cried all the time. I couldn't talk about it though -- I just reacted by trying as hard as I could to bring the baby into the world safely. I got sick of people telling me to "calm down" and "relax." They had no idea about my abortion. I realize that's why I was so upset all the time.

A COMFORT, NOT A CURE

I want to stress that while having a baby is not a cure for post-abortion problems, a child may provide the woman with an intimate relationship, as well as an opportunity to develop and express her loving and maternal nature. The only caveat is that neither women nor their loved ones should imagine that everything can be fixed just by having another child.

Nora, for example, sought therapy for depressive thoughts and feelings after a botched abortion. She had to return to the clinic to "finish the job." She complained of grief, insomnia, loss of appetite, and flashbacks to the abortion. She couldn't concentrate and remained preoccupied with thoughts of the baby she could have had.

In my evaluation, it was clear that Nora was suffering from symptoms of trauma: intense grief, bitter regret, guilt, depression, anger, helplessness, self-condemnation, pain in sexual relations, hatred of the doctor responsible, and fear and distrust of doctors in general. She also suffered from an obsessive anxiety over her reproductive health.

Nora was obsessed with a desire to get pregnant. To her, achieving this goal was the only way to alleviate the fear that the abortion had permanently damaged her reproductive capacity. At the same time, this goal of becoming pregnant had become the channel for her tremendous anxiety.

A gynecological exam revealed possible pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is strongly correlated to a history of abortion. Her physician advised her to follow through with treatment and antibiotics. But because of her abortion, Nora had developed a persistent distrust and fear of doctors. For this reason, she did not follow the medication plan. She became suicidal, tormented by feelings of hopelessness, abandonment, and fears of punishment by God.

After months of trying to get pregnant, Nora finally conceived. Although unmarried, she was intent on having the baby to prove to herself that the abortion had not damaged her. Throughout her . pregnancy, she bargained with God not to punish her with a defective child. "If God does give me a baby with a problem, I will understand," she said. "That is really what I deserve."

Nora delivered a beautiful, healthy child. This event helped her to resolve and move beyond the trauma of her abortion. Since the birth occurred after she had already worked through most of the other issues related to her abortion in our counseling sessions, giving birth helped bring final closure to her abortion grief. If she had not already confronted her unresolved abortion issues, however, it is likely that the abortion would have continued to haunt the birth and mothering of her newborn.

Post-abortion recovery can free a woman to move beyond her secret fears and inadequacies and to find new ways to express the restored integrity of her maternal nature. According to Carol, "After doing grief work with my abortion, now I actually can't get enough of babies. I love to look at them, hold them, and kiss them."

Reclaiming a maternal identity, however, is not dependent on actually having or raising other children. For example, Laura had suppressed any desire for children for over twenty years after her abortion. It was not until she underwent the hormonal changes of menopause that she began to grieve the loss of both her child and her maternal identity. Part of her resolution of this grief came with being able to care for other people's children through teaching.

It's ironic to me at the age of 46, that at this particular time of my life I'm realizing my damaged identity as a woman who could have mothered. It is just beginning to heal. For many years I just couldn't or wouldn't allow myself to seriously consider having a baby. In the last few years, however, I've started teaching young children. It's been a real joy and challenge -- with some residual longing for the children I never had. I think I am finally beginning to resolve this poor maternal image. I really love the children I teach. I can at last realize that I could have been a good mother. I never realized this because of the blight of the negative impact abortion left on me for so many years. It took a long time to heal.

"UNWORTHY" TO BECOME PREGNANT

It is sad to listen to clients like Connie who, because of the guilt they carry over a past abortion, have deliberately deprived themselves of the wonderful opportunity to have other children.

I've had two abortions. I chose not to have children after that. I asked myself, "How could one so horrible as me have children?" It has made me extremely sad when I see mothers with their children, knowing at this stage of my life I will never have a "second chance." I'm deeply saddened at the pain that I've caused my family and most of all at the pain and sorrow that I carry within my own self.

Another client echoed the same feeling this way:

I used to have fantasies about being pregnant and having a baby. Because of my three abortions, I didn't feel "worthy" of being pregnant. Because my husband couldn't mourn with me over the children we lost, I couldn't bear the thought of having a baby with him. I never had children . . . mostly because of my anger and guilt.

Such cases are examples of how a past abortion can sometimes dictate the future course of a woman's life. It can take control over fundamental choices, ruling out the fulfillment of desires the woman no longer feels she deserves.

One of the goals in therapy, of course, is to overthrow this tyrant. While decisions about the future should be informed by past experience, they should not be ruled by past traumas. One of the most important milestones in recovering from any trauma, whether it is related to abortion or not, is feeling free to choose according to one's reasonable assessments as opposed to one's irrational fears.

ARRESTED MOTHERS

If a woman's first pregnancy ended in an abortion, she may associate later pregnancies with the agitation and buried psychic trauma of the first pregnancy. As a result, the births of later, wanted children can be times of anxiety, stress, and depression.

After the birth of my three children, I was overcome with grief, pain, and sadness at the thought of my abortion. I would hold their beautiful tiny bodies and stare into their eyes, the sweetest angelic faces. I would become so overwhelmed with guilt and grief I would just cry and cry. These overpowering feelings happened after each birth. It made me feel like a horrible mother.

The process of becoming a parent is a major formative life experience. It shapes us emotionally and psychologically. But our ability to parent is also shaped by all our other experiences as a child, an adolescent, and an adult. If all goes well, a woman will develop a competent and nurturing "mother-self" that integrates both her childhood and adult experiences.

Even prior to having children, young women will naturally begin to develop important aspects of this maternal nature during their teenage years and early twenties. An abortion at this time can arrest or even reverse this maternal development. It can give rise to deeply rooted ambivalence and self-doubt regarding one's ability to be a mother. Claire described her experience in this way:

After my abortion I felt like I was unworthy of motherhood. For years I told myself I didn't want to ever have children. When I finally had a baby, I was afraid to touch him. I felt like I might hurt him or something. I couldn't wait to get back to work. I always considered myself a bad mother. I was extremely sensitive to any criticism over my mothering. After I finally dealt with my abortion and allowed myself to grieve the loss, I was able to reclaim my broken maternity. I realize now that I was afraid to get close to my children. I was cold and emotionally withdrawn.

Since the retreat I went on for post-abortion healing, I have rediscovered my whole self and I know now that I am a good mother. I know that I truly do love my children. Because of my emotional pain, I couldn't show it. Healing my abortion has freed me to be a much better mother. I thank God every day for the gift of my children.

Unresolved issues about a past abortion can literally suck the joy out of expecting a newborn child. It can result in more anxiety during labor, and thereby increased difficulty in labor, which may contribute to a higher incidence of complications during delivery. It can also disrupt maternal bonding with the newborn child. Mel described her pregnancy as "horrible."

I kept feeling like something bad was going to happen to the baby. I worried all the time. I had dreams that someone was trying to get us and hurt us. After my baby was born, I suffered a major post-partum depression. Aside from the hormonal flux, I was in deep grief over my previous abortion . . . but it was nothing I understood at the time. I didn't know how to allow myself to acknowledge what I had done, but all the symptoms were there. My depression made it hard for me to bond with the baby. I was a failure at breast feeding and comforting her. That was the most painful time in my life. I felt so inadequate -- like I would not be able to protect her and love her.

If mother-child bonding is blocked, arrested, or distorted by past trauma, this may affect the mother-child relationship for many years, even for a lifetime. Michelle sought counseling, at least in part, because all of her efforts to develop a good relationship with her daughter seemed fruitless.

I feel like such a bad mother. When I get angry at my daughter, I become cold and withdrawn. When she is hurt, I find it difficult to comfort her. I feel so guilty when I hurt her. Sometimes I feel scared of her. My life is no better because of that abortion. It makes me hate myself. It made my brain screwed up or something.... I can't even deal with my own kid now. I wonder what she would ever think if she knew what I've done. I know she would hate me. I couldn't bear it if she ever found out.

Abortion damaged Michelle's image of herself as a mother. She had a guilt-ridden concept of herself that made it difficult for her to love. If she could not love herself, how could she love her daughter? Because Michelle believed her daughter would end up hating her, she distanced herself from any opportunities to give or receive love.

While every woman's experience of abortion and reaction to it is unique, when these various patterns arise again and again, it is clear that they are not rare or isolated problems. Cinda's description of her pregnancies echoes many of the themes already discussed.

After my abortion, my pregnancies have been times of fear and anxiety. I kept expecting that God was going to punish me with a retarded child because I had an abortion. I was always depressed and worried. When my daughter was born, I felt like I didn't deserve to be a mother. I was so badly depressed. My sadness and anger made me not want to be around her. I felt like a failure.

CONFUSED MOTHERS

Clearly, unresolved issues over a past abortion can distort relationships with later children. In some cases, post-abortion trauma can drive some women to become hovering, overprotective mothers. In other cases, post-abortion issues can simply rob women of the joys of being a mother, leaving only the labor and drudgery of motherhood and making parenthood feel like a curse. Below are just a few examples of how abortion can confuse a woman's role as a mother.

The "Perfect" Mother

After my son was born, I was filled with wonder that this perfect child had been produced in my body. The awe that he was given to us to nurture and love was mixed with the feeling that I didn't want to mess up his life because of my own shortcomings. Because of my abortion, I always had a sense of my own unworthiness. I could not trust my ability to do the right thing because of what I had done. My ability to raise a child was always in question.

Because of these inner doubts, Monica was an anxious, overprotective, and doting mother. Her efforts to become a "perfect" mother were an attempt to compensate for her underlying feelings of inadequacy and shame. She expended tremendous energy in an effort to prove to everyone that she was a good mom. She assisted at school functions as a homeroom mother, party coordinator, and extravagant refreshment provider. She earned a reputation for creating the best displays of picturesque goodies and crafts at the school fair. In her constant search for approval and praise, she felt devastated if anyone gave the slightest hint of displeasure or indifference about some "motherly" thing she had done.

Because of her abortion, Monica felt her efforts were never good enough. She felt like a bad person and an incompetent mother no matter how many good things she did. She was obsessed with trying to vindicate herself. There was no sense of joy or fun connected with all her motherly activities. Instead, every undertaking was conscientiously handled as an obligation, a duty, a redemptive act.

As long as Monica avoided dealing with her unresolved feelings regarding her abortion, none of her maternal efforts were able to restore her self-esteem. Each little act of mothering was like a tiny band-aid placed over a gaping wound. It was instantly soaked with blood, obviously useless, and discarded as worthless. Her wound was simply too big to patch up with isolated acts of good mothering. So she remained self-critical, self-deprecating, and discontented.

Fortunately, Monica sought post-abortion counseling that could address the real source of her wounded spirit. Subsequently, her acts of mothering were no longer ineffective efforts to alleviate guilt, but acts of love that bore fruit which she could at last enjoy. Plus, she was finally free to say "no" to unwanted commitments.

The Spoiler

Some people abort their children because they feel they can't give them "the best of everything." When a later child is born, these parents may feel obligated by their past choice to give their "planned" child everything money can buy. Elizabeth, for example, was quite aware that she was spoiling her child, but she felt she had no choice.

I felt so guilty after my abortion. When I finally had a child, I know I spoiled her. I bought her whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. I was afraid to discipline my child. I was afraid to do anything "mean," and that she wouldn't like me because I already felt like a bad mother.

Dana's guilt over a past abortion made her feel horrified at the thought of setting limits. She compensated for these feelings by gratifying every whim and desire of her two children.

I never had any control with my children. I was afraid to upset them or cause a fight. My kids got anything they ever asked for because I was afraid to say no. I feared they would get angry with me. I needed them to love me because that made me feel like a better mom. At first this seemed to work, but as time went on, I realized I had created so many problems. My two children are self-absorbed, disrespectful, angry, demanding, and defiant.

Dana's husband, who had also been involved in the abortion, shared a similar feeling of helplessness. He claimed that he was a "hostage to their demands," but was unable to take control of the situation. Like Dana, he felt a need to lavish his children with every material item to make up for his feelings of inadequacy, failure, and wounded fatherhood.

The Protector

Some mothers compensate for their loss of self-esteem and maternal integrity by being overprotective of their children. Often this overprotectiveness is rooted in an irrational fear that God will punish them for their abortions by taking away their later children, whom they feel they don't deserve. In Sandi's case, these feelings haunted her whenever her children were out of sight.

After my abortion I felt like the world was a dangerous place. The people I thought I could trust hurt me so bad. I didn't trust anyone . . . especially with my kids. I had a paranoia about something bad happening to my children. I distrusted them with anyone but myself. My husband told me I smothered them. I was fearful something bad would happen to them. I was afraid to let them do anything.

Yvonne's fears overwhelmed her whenever she took her children out in public.

Whenever we were in a shopping mall, library, or playground, I was scared to death that someone would steal my children or hurt them in some way. I never let them out of my sight. I was constantly on the alert.... It was exhausting! Even allowing them to play at a neighbor's house was out of the question unless I went with them. I felt I had to protect them from anyone around who might be out to get them.

Janet describes the burden of trying to be a protective mother.

Every time my child got a bump or a bruise, I felt like it was my fault. I always felt guilty and frustrated. I also believed others were always judging me, and so I became very isolated. I withdrew from playgroups and other social functions because I couldn't stand comparing myself to other mothers. It was so hard for me to relax. I never felt confident in the job I was doing. Friends and family members told me I was "overprotective."

The Abuser

After an abortion, some women will have difficulty bonding with their later children. If one is unworthy to be a mother, why try at all? Under such circumstances, subsequent planned children can become an irksome burden, a constant reminder of how unfit the woman sees herself to be.

Jennifer, for example, never thought about her abortion until she stared into the eyes of her newborn baby twelve years later. From that moment on, self-loathing and doubt filled her. Jennifer berated herself constantly with unmerciful questions: "What kind of mother am I? How could I have killed my own child?"

As soon as she rejected herself as a fit mother, Jennifer also rejected her baby. She was unable to bond with him because she felt incapable of nurturing and loving him. She felt constantly irritated and had difficulty tolerating any outside friction. Jennifer's anger at herself made her respond impatiently and with rage toward her son. She admitted being abusive to him. This in turn supported her image of herself as a horrible person and perpetuated her sense of guilt and shame. The more guilt and shame she felt, the more unworthy she felt to be a parent. These negative feelings about herself reinforced her rejection of her son, whose very presence reminded her of her failings. The vicious cycle was established. Fortunately, post-abortion counseling helped Jennifer to break free of the cycle, to experience forgiveness, and to begin building a positive relationship with her son.

Unfortunately, Jennifer's situation is not unique. Numerous studies have identified an association between abortion and subsequent rejection and abuse of later planned and "wanted" children.(1) We will return to this issue in a later chapter.

Endnote


(1) Philip G. Ney, T. Fung, and A.R. Wickett, "Relahonship Between Induced Abortion and Child Abuse and Neglect: Four Studies," Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Journal, 8(1):43-64 (1993); M. Benedict, R. White, and P. Comely, "Maternal Perinatal Risk Factors and Child Abuse," Child Abuse and Neglect, 9:217-224 (1985).


Theresa Burke, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and founder of Rachel's Vineyard, a post-abortion training and healing ministry that annually serves thousands of women and couples throughout North America and overseas.

David C. Reardon, Ph.D., is one of the nations's leading researchers and authors on post-abortion issues and the founding director of the Elliot Institute.


Book: Forbidden Grief
by Theresa Burke, Ph.D. with David C. Reardon, Ph.D.
Acorn Books, Springfield, Illinois

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