8 Strategies to Tame Triggers After Abortion Pain

by Sydna Masse, Founder of Ramah International | Originally published at Ramah's Voice

“It’s my baby’s due date next week, Sydna,” the writer outlined. “How do I cope with this reminder each and every year for the rest of my life?”

Triggers of Abortion PTSD often arrive unexpectedly, activating a deep and forgotten pain. Since many post-abortive people work to forget this choice, the spark of these triggers can send them into a whirlwind of emotional anxiety.

My first after abortion trigger came 7 months after my abortion – on my child’s due date. I never connected the horrendous evening I spent locked in a dorm room crying as the night I should have been giving birth to my child. I thought I was losing my mind as there was no obvious reason for such an intense emotional reaction.

The next morning my eyes were swollen shut from crying. I went to the campus health center in a deeply demoralized state and discovered I had pink eye. It was clear that my poignant pain was not related to that infection. For many months I felt like I was on the verge of insanity.

When I read about Abortion PTSD eleven years later, I was relieved to discover the reason for my emotional angst. I could look back on the last eleven years of agony surrounding the third week in March when my child should have been celebrating a birthday. Embracing an abortion recovery program brought God’s peace back into my soul.

Once I realized this date was a trigger to my pain, I was able to tame that trigger and plan ways to cope. Here are eight methods to offset obvious triggers of Abortion PTSD:

  1. Document your trigger dates on a calendar – If you have had more than one abortion, or don’t remember exact dates, don’t worry. Record dates when you felt depression or experienced pain that seemed to have no source.
  2. Develop distraction strategies – Sitting in a dentist’s office, overhearing the drilling sound, can transport me back to that abortion clinic where I hear the sound of the machine that sucked my child out of my body. Realizing that truth, I now arrive at these appointments with a headset to listen to worship music to offset any triggering noises.
  3. Participate in positive life-affirming activities – Writing a tax-deductible donation check and/or helping out at a pregnancy center can aid your tender heart. Encouraging those continuing an unexpected pregnancy with thoughtful gifts or lunch or aiding a life affirming effort can also be beneficial.
  4. Sooth your heart with Scripture – The Bible is filled with redemptive stories of sinners that help us to understand God’s forgiving nature. David’s unexpected pregnancy with Bathsheba, found in 2 Samuel 11-12:25, outlines we are not alone in the taking of an innocent life. David walked with God at that time he had Bathsheba’s husband murdered. God sent Nathan to help show David his sin. After David repented, God gave him another son – Solomon – who would succeed him as King of Israel.
  5. Control your anger – Becoming irritable upon hearing individuals promote abortion as a “safe and legal” can trigger Abortion PTSD rage quickly. While the abortion outrage can appear like “righteous indignation,” we can certainly sin in our responses. Deep seated anger can result as our abortion wound erupts. Remember to emanate Godly behavior, as outlined in Psalm 86:15But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
  6. Writing out your story – Recording the story of your life can help you realize what made you susceptible to an unexpected pregnancy and abortion. That can provide perspective that God can use in the healing process. Begin with the story of your family and include a full account of what led you to lose your virginity in the first place. Then document the dates of deep pain. The Ramah team would be happy to help you with this process.
  7. Pray to seek God’s help directly – The Creator of the Universe offers the best comfort. Seek Him with an open heart and a sincere, “Help me, God” prayer. Acts 17:27-28 outlines, God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
  8. Discover Supportive Friends – Ramah International exists to help connect abortion’s wounded heart to their local pregnancy center for direct ministry. If you haven’t completed an abortion recovery program, please prayerfully consider one.

Understand that many emotions can become stronger when they are ignored. Ramah International is a safe and confidential ministry that can help you begin to process this pain and find local support. Please feel free to contact us if we can help in any way.  Please share this blog to help others struggling with Abortion PTSD.

Why Women In Need MUST Find Real Options Counseling First

by Jennifer Bedford, AWPC Receptionist

A co-worker came into the office with a question about Planned Parenthood that I could not answer: Did Planned Parenthood offer ultrasounds – and if so, at what cost? Rumor was Planned Parenthood charged $45 for an ultrasound.

After a failed attempt to find the answer online, I decided to call Planned Parenthood and ask the question directly. Besides, I really wanted to know what would happen if one of our clients at AWPC were to call Planned Parenthood. What would they be told?

I prepared myself to make the call. I imagined one of our clients walking into this center, unsure & scared. My heart grew in tenderness as I tried to find that woman inside me.  What are the questions she would ask? What would she be thinking? The following is a summarization of my call to Planned Parenthood in Livonia:

A woman named Cindy* answered the phone. She never outright asked if I was pregnant, but I explained that I was unsure of what I wanted to do.  I asked what services they could offer me if I made an appointment. 

“I’m sorry...could you please just tell me what you offer?”  I asked softly. “This whole thing is just overwhelming…”  

The first 5 minutes of the call were a blur of medical terms, procedures, and timetables.  At this stage in my life, I am very familiar with women’s reproductive health and even my head was spinning at this point of the call.  I struggled to imagine how a person with little to no medical background would be able to keep up with her.

“First, you’ll come in and take a blood test where we will test your HCG levels. You are eligible for medical if you’re between 5 weeks and 9 weeks, and you can ‘pass it’ at home until 9 weeks,”  I tried my best to listen as one word continued to slur into the next. “...after you’ll come back for more bloodwork to ensure your HCG levels went down. If you need a surgical procedure we will perform ultrasound before the procedure and we will schedule for you to meet with a...”  (Wait, wait! That was my word! Ultrasound!) 

“Ummm….excuse me?  How much would the ultrasound cost?”   

“$545. The ultrasound is included in the pricing of the procedure.” 

“Oh, I heard from someone you charged $45 for ultrasounds…” 

“No, we don’t schedule ultrasounds separately. It’s billed as part of the procedure. The ultrasound will help us determine gestational age, and then you would meet with a counselor and then there’s a 24-hour wait period and…”

“Um, excuse me...”  I quietly interrupted.  “So I can meet with someone to talk about this?  Again, this whole thing is really overwhelming and I’m just...will this be the person I can talk to?” 

“Yes, you’ll meet with the counselor and then there will be a 24-hour waiting period before the procedure.”  

“...but what if I change my mind?” 

“You can change your mind at any point during the process.  You can stop, and we will bill you for the work that’s been done up to that point.”    

“Ok, so at that point...how much would I owe?”
 
“The process is $545.00.”  

“No, I’m sorry, if I change my mind after meeting with the counselor...I will have had bloodwork and an ultrasound completed, right?  How much would that be?”

“We don’t give pricing for part of a procedure.”    

“Ummm...okay.  I’m sorry, but I’m really confused.  I’m really scared about this.  You said I could speak to someone...but I don’t get to speak to the counselor until after the bloodwork and the ultrasound, but you won’t tell me how much the bloodwork and the ultrasound will cost?”

“That’s right.  We don’t give pricing for part of a procedure.”  Then it came out… “We won’t even schedule you unless you’re sure you want the procedure done.  There’s a high demand for these appointments, so unless you’re sure...we won’t schedule you.”  
 

So that state-mandated counseling you’re supposed to receive in addition to a 24-hour waiting period?  It doesn’t come until you’re already locked in and paying out of pocket.  Paying how much out of pocket? Who knows?! They won’t tell you.  

AWPC staff consulted Right to Life of Michigan Legislative Director Ed Rivet, who confirmed abortion providers are not supposed to collect payment until after the 24-hour waiting period - and that they often avoid performing ultrasounds until after the waiting period to keep the cost combined with the abortion procedure so a woman will be unable to see the ultrasound until she’s paid the fee.

At no point in Cindy’s initial spiel did she talk about or offer up meeting with someone to discuss my options before the procedure.  I had to dig for options counseling myself.  In fact, I called 3 times and received different information depending on who I talked to.

The first two calls were made to the Livonia Planned Parenthood, where I got the impression from Cindy that their “options counseling” consisted of merely coming in and picking up some informational brochures and packets.  It wasn’t until my third call to a number on Planned Parenthood’s website listed under Options Counseling that I was directed to a call center where they actually offered to set up an appointment for me when I told them I didn’t know what to do.  

Granted, it’s possible if I pushed further, the Livonia center would have scheduled me for an appointment to meet and talk with a real options counselor, but should it be so hard to get to that point?  It became glaringly obvious to me during this process that making sure women are well-informed about their options and about the procedure is not a priority to Planned Parenthood.  

We know that women get abortions every day who wish to remain uninformed and don’t want to know anything about it.  But women calling Planned Parenthood are not even given an opportunity to access information they need to make an informed decision until they are a paying customer. With the emphasis on “no appointment unless you’re sure," we have to question what kind of "counseling" these women receive.

Disclaimer: Jennifer made the calls out of her own curiosity and concern for women having real options concerning pregnancy.  She agreed to write the story only after our urging her to do so. The purpose of sharing this story with you is simply to demonstrate how important our services are for women who really don’t know what to do regarding an unintended pregnancy.

The story accurately reflects one caller’s experience with one Planned Parenthood facility and one 800 phone line. No other calls were made beyond those reported here. 

*Name has been changed.

 

 

Standing in prayer with 40 Days for Life

by Rachel Lipovsky, Volunteer

Publically talking about and praying for the sanctity of life inside the womb is courageous. Generally, vocal supporters of life are viewed as aggressive protestors, and peaceful activists are likened to violent demonstrators. I have been asked, “Are you one of those people that stands outside of abortion clinics and protests?” This question is provoked by destructive pro-life groups that devalue the quality of love that envelops the work of places like AWPC. Love and peace are the qualities that make pregnancy centers succeed, and it works for activists, too!

prayer

The 40 Days for Life campaign hosts prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics, and its mode of operation is peaceful prayer. It is radical to be peaceful, and prayer is a powerful weapon for change. Hebrews 4:16 says that God asks us to boldly come before the throne and ask for help in our time of need. Two times a year, for 40 days, prayers are said around-the-clock at vigils around the world, asking for God’s help in the fight to conquer abortion. Our work for life is meant to be courageous, and our prayers are meant to be bold. It’s because of bold prayers that lives are being affected. I got the opportunity to witness the work at a local vigil, and the following passage is an anonymous testimony shared from the kick-off of the 40 Days for Life Campaign in West Bloomfield:

"It was a lovely morning as the snow fell today at 7:00am, while 8 members from our West Bloomfield team gathered to kickoff the 40 Days for Life campaign.  Many horns honked and several said 'God Bless You' as they witnessed our prayers for the sanctity of life just outside an abortion clinic on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield.

During the 5:00-7:00 p.m. shift, I had the opportunity to witness to a young woman who was offended by our campaign. She stated that it brought back memories of her rape when she was 14 years old and her subsequent abortion, which she defended.  I continually told her how sorry I was for her horrible experience, and I let her know that we are all praying for the end of violence, disrespect for life, and manipulation—which is what leads some to a sense that there is 'no other way out' and causes them to choose to end a baby's life rather than defend it.

I offered her information about A Woman's Pregnancy Choice, a Christian Crisis Pregnancy Center that provides free counseling services to mothers and fathers who are considering abortion (teaching them about the dangers of abortion). Additionally, they offer free assistance with clothing, diapers and other baby needs for moms who choose LIFE and permit their miracle from God to come to fruition. I also showed the young woman what an 11-week old fetus looks like (not a "bunch of cells" as the anti-life media would like everyone to believe). After holding the life-like fetus model in her bare hands, the young woman was touched and said she didn't know if she could have aborted her unborn child after experiencing what a fetus truly is ... an unborn baby. Her precious heart was softened by God's grace. The young woman thanked me, we hugged, and we prayed for her healing." 

It is because of courageous prayer and peaceful interactions that Christians are changing and saving lives. Just this year, the 40 Days for Life campaign saved 482 lives, and only God knows how many more were influenced. Before I attended the vigils, I was sent the “Statement of Peace” of its participants, and one statement hit me in the heart. It says, “I will show compassion and reflect Christ’s love to all employees, volunteers, and customers.” You see, in that order, one begins to realize that it is not just moms we’re meant to care for. At the heart of abortion, there are lost people being the hands and feet of destruction. They are blind to God’s love, and working for the enemy. More than ever, our peaceful prayer should be directed toward the lost abortion providers, the volunteers, the mothers, and our own hearts to relay the compassion and love that God has for all of us.

The song “Amazing Grace” said it best: “I once was lost, but now I’m found. I was blind, but now I see.” Focus your heart on courageous and bold, peaceful and compassionate prayers for the lost. As we work for for the saving of the unborn, may our lives first reflect the gift of salvation that was perfectly pictured by Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (NIV)

He Knit Us Together, Blessings and All

by Rachel Lipovsky, Volunteer

 
Rachel volunteering at our old location on Grand River Avenue.

Rachel volunteering at our old location on Grand River Avenue.

Rachel volunteering at our 12 Mile offices in 2016!

Rachel volunteering at our 12 Mile offices in 2016!

 

Rachel volunteered for AWPC during her junior high and high school years. We are thrilled to welcome her back as a blogger and insightful friend promoting the value of life!

The force of time doesn’t have a physical, tangible shape—yet it manages to shape our finite lives with great finesse. Sometimes I would like time to slow down—to take a moment and really soak in the beauty. When volunteering with AWPC, time flew by for me, yet God transformed so much. His work has shown His glory!

 When I was a pre-teen in April 2007, my family began folding baby clothes and participating in fundraisers for Another Way Pregnancy Center. It never ceased to amaze me that a little home on Grand River Avenue could be the center of changing and saving lives in such a great way. I learned pregnancies aren’t always convenient, easy, or planned, but I also learned God has great plans, regardless of circumstances.

Rachel as a high school student sorting through baby items for our Boutique.

Rachel as a high school student sorting through baby items for our Boutique.

I was raised to believe every human life was created by a God that cares for and knows us. Psalm 139:13 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.” In every situation, God made us uniquely, carefully, and lovingly. A child is an overwhelming change, but one God can use for His glory.

My involvement at Another Way through my high school years helped me realize the gift of God’s love and care. The people that work at AWPC have a mission to share the love of God--specifically the love He has for children and parents.  

Last week, I came back to Another Way Pregnancy Center to volunteer again. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in the little house to fold baby clothes. In fact, AWPC has moved out of the little house  and God has moved even more.

If before and after pictures could fully display His accomplishments, I’d run out of film. Another Way Pregnancy Center has a new name: A Woman’s Pregnancy Choice. From a cramped basement and tight offices to a spacious expansion of two floors in an office building on 12 Mile Road, God has stretched out His glory.

In January 2011, the little house in downtown Farmington saw 18 clients come in.  In January 2016, AWPC’s busy offices saw 84 clients God’s plans for the lives that enter this place keep unfolding. He’s knit together gifts from above, He’s created a place for their loved ones to come, He’s given them support through His people at AWPC, and He’s created something beautiful.

If you had given me a window to see the future of A Woman’s Pregnancy Choice, I would not have fathomed the change.  It doesn’t feel long since AWPC was in a small house with a small clientele. But, for God, this place is His work. It might just be a little life inside a woman that changes the lives of so many others, but He knit each of us together to fulfill His master plan. It’s a blessing to be involved in AWPC again to take part in that master plan, and I can’t wait to see how God’s glory continues to unfold here.

Will you help stop Planned Parenthood in its own messy tracks?

By now, you've probably heard about the latest shocking undercover videos from Planned Parenthood. 

(If not, check out Online for Life's handy webpage where you can watch each video and review key takeaway points. The subject matter is disturbing - but it's too important not to know about!)

What can you do about it?

Kirk Walden does an excellent job laying out three things anyone can do to respond - including YOU:

Contact your Congressional Representatives at www.house.gov to ask them to suspend Planned Parenthood funding.

Contact your Congressional Representatives. 
"Any pro-life individual can write his or her congressional representative and ask that Planned Parenthood's federal funding - more than $500 million each year - be suspended while the investigation plays out...

Pro-choice representatives in swing districts can likely be persuaded to go along with a suspension of funding based on the seriousness of these charges. If Planned Parenthood is found guilty of atrocities—which they likely will—then we can go for defunding...

Anyone can write an email to a representative in Congress. It took me 15 minutes. Ask for a suspension of funding, pending congressional investigations. This is a battle we can win."

Contact a corporation that supports Planned Parenthood to share your concerns.

Contact a corporation that supports Planned Parenthood. 
"Take a few minutes and log on to 2nd Vote, where you can find whether the companies you purchase from support Planned Parenthood. Find a business you already support which could use a little more information on what—exactly--they are funding. 

This is not about boycotting (which yields mixed results at best). But it only takes 15 minutes to say, 'I enjoy your product, but have concerns regarding your contributions to an organization now padding its funding through black-market trafficking of human body parts. Regardless of Planned Parenthood’s public pronouncements, its actions are directly opposed to my values and I would assume, your company’s values as well. I ask that you reconsider this financial investment of your profits, to which I contribute.' 


If you own stock in a company, as a shareholder, you have even more clout. Use this influence with care and wisdom, being gentle yet firm."

Provide women an alternative to Planned Parenthood - support AWPC by volunteering or donating!

Support life-affirming pregnancy centers (like AWPC!) with time and money.
"Our support can help these centers build their services, expand their outreach, compete head-to-head with the abortion industry—and win...

Let me be bold. Do we need to pray about giving? Certainly. But we’re not praying about 'whether;' we’re praying about how much. These ministries are advancing the love of Christ and reaching out on behalf of lives God created. Let’s purpose to give them the support                                                             they need."


Kirk’s original article outlines how those who proclaim to be pro-life could provide local pregnancy centers with funding EQUAL to Planned Parenthood funding if even just a percentage gave a one-time donation. We can do this!

(Original Source: "You're Outraged at Planned Parenthood: 3 Things You Can Do" by Kirk Walden)

We would be remiss if we did not also look to prayerfor human life to be protected, for our nation to open its eyes to the atrocities of the abortion industry, and for the hearts of those advocating abortion to be transformed by the Gospel. 

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Please join us in taking these steps - and sharing them with your pro-life family and friends!