By Kevin and Theresa Burke
At that moment [Jesus died] the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:51
Abortion is one of those issues on the fault lines of an increasingly polarized nation. Yet the heart of the abortion experience is far removed from the drama of politics and protest. Abortion touches on a relationship that is at the heart of Christian salvation history.
As the great Veil in the sanctuary was torn in the Temple of Jerusalem on Good Friday, Mary’s heart was torn asunder by anguish and grief. The child that once rested beneath her beating heart, nurtured in her womb, was viciously tortured and nailed to a cross.
The physical, emotional and spiritual relationship that began in Mary’s womb, now reached an even deeper level of mystical communion as she stood before her son at Calvary. Mary offered her maternal anguish, united with the sacrifice of her Son, for the salvation of the human family from sin, death, and Satan.
A Mother’s Body is Naturally Pro-Life
Those that promote abortion rights use the language of bodily autonomy and private reproductive rights. Yet this very influential messaging is far removed from a woman’s actual experience of pregnancy and abortion.
As any Mother who has experienced pregnancy understands, a woman’s body is actually strongly pro-life. The circumstances of the pregnancy, pressure from others, confusion and fear can lead a mother to see abortion as the only solution to her pregnancy.
Yet on a physiological level, once conception occurs, and the pregnancy is developing normally, a woman’s body is set in motion to nurture and protect the life within her womb. A woman has to sever an intimate communion between mother and developing child when that relationship – and pregnancy – is terminated.
While some may experience relief after the procedure, deep down there is a sense of shame guilt and unacknowledged loss. These feelings are connected to the violation of something deep within a woman’s maternal identity, and an intuitive sense that an intimate relationship has been broken.
Mother’s day can be a time some women remember the child that died in their womb:
“The biggest impact abortion has had on me is that every time I look at my children I have now, I think about that little face I never saw and the child I have never known.” — Aimee
Restoring a Broken Relationship
Mary intimately understands the anguish of Mothers who have experienced the violent separation from their child that is the heart of abortion trauma. Christians of all denominations can look to her for consolation. Mary stands at the foot of the cross and points to her Son Jesus, who is the only One that can bring true reconciliation, peace, and recovery from the sin and trauma of abortion.
The path to recovery requires an affirmation of what was lost and the emotional and spiritual healing of the broken relationship between a mother and her unborn child/children. Rachel’s Vineyard is a safe and effective weekend program for healing after abortion. The retreats are available throughout the world and are open to men, women, and grandparents.
In this beautiful month of May, as we celebrate the gift of our moms, and the spiritual motherhood of Mary, let us also remember those mothers who have lost a child to abortion. If you or someone you love is in need of reconciliation and healing, confidential help is available.
[Theresa Burke, Ph.D., and Kevin Burke, LSW are the co-founders of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries. Theresa is the author of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion; Kevin is the author of Tears of the Fisherman: Recovery for Men Wounded by Abortion.]