by Eliza Jane Phillis
I feel I have been blessed with a pretty uneventful life. I have never suffered any tragic sudden loss, been subjected to any type of abuse, abused any type of substance, gone hungry or cold, or even ever really been alone. I have lived a very sheltered and essentially happy existence. While I am eternally grateful for this, I also sometimes worry that this means I am not able to truly empathize with the very women I profess to support as a member of the pro-life movement: women facing an unexpected or crisis pregnancy as well as those hurting after an abortion. All of these women have suffered some, all, or more of the list above. In comparison, I have suffered nothing.
I often ask myself, am I really helping or does my lack of experience make my efforts seem self-righteous and trivial? How can I truly understand their suffering? How arrogant is it on my part to pretend that I know how to help these women? It is easy to help ease their material needs with events such as our annual OSFL Baby Shower, and it is even easier to feel proud of such a little act. But what will I do when a woman who has found herself unexpectedly and undesiredly in the position of an expectant mother reaches out to me for help? What will I do when a woman who is suffering post-abortion confides in me? How will I show her that I love her and long to help her when what she is experiencing is so far beyond my sheltered experience and I cannot for a moment hope to comprehend her fear, pain, regret, confusion, guilt, anxiety, loneliness? All I can do is pray that when that day comes, I will be given the words and the love that she needs.
Yet, we as pro-life men and women are part of a movement that exists to help these women. We should be more prepared and more willing to try to understand the suffering of these women. This means that we need to listen to the stories of those who are brave enough to tell them, and through their courageous act of sharing learn what it feels like to face a situation which many of us will hopefully never have to experience. For this reason, I wanted to share with our pro-life readers this link to the Canada Silent No More website. Here you can witness the testimonies of regretful and courageous post-abortive men and women and learn from their experiences. These men and women are working to end the silence on abortion and bring to light the lies and pain behind the rhetoric. There is much we can learn by listening to their stories of loss and healing.
The website also contains links to resources and help for those suffering post abortion, so that if and when the you are approached by someone suffering beyond your experience, you can direct them to a group who truly understands and can empathize because they have been there too. That being said, what every human being needs most when faced with suffering is to be listened to and loved without judgment. This is within the capabilities of us all, no matter our life experiences or lack thereof.