Monday, September 23, 2019





impact of abortion on grandparents

As grandparents of an aborted child, you may be experiencing a deep pain. You may be remembering the aloneness you felt when faced with your child's pregnancy. You may share your sense of inadequacy when, after the fact, you discovered that an abortion had been chosen. You may remember your concern for your daughter or son and your desire for them to be free to move on with their lives. And you sometimes remember your disappointment, and perhaps anger, at the fact that your child's life took an unexpected turn such as this. And sometimes you remember the deeply personal loss of your grandchild.

We are sorry for your loss. We encourage you to begin your healing journey so that, if in the future, your child seeks you out to journey with them as they resolve an abortion loss, you will be free to do so. Quite honestly, at this time, written resources and support groups for grandparents are few. However, we are working on encouraging the formation of such groups and pursuing the publication of more literature that will help support you. At this time, we can offer you a compassionate ear and try to connect you with others who can understand and support your healing journey.

Sometimes the parents of the mother and father of the aborted child struggle after learning of an abortion decision. They express a sense of personal sadness and loss. They might express a sense of disappointment that their child made this decision without consulting them. Sometimes they express some anger over the turn of events. They often express great concern for their son or daughter.

Grandparents often describe their experience in these terms:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Worriedness
  • Grieving
  • Loss of a dream for their child
  • Grandfathers particularly may be filled with anger and rage
  • "Where did we go wrong? Where did we fail him/her? Why couldn't they tell us?"
  • Sense of failure
  • May carry the burden of the abortion decision if they actively encouraged or forced the abortion
  • Grandmothers may carry the burden alone if they encouraged the abortion in order not to tell the grandfathers
  • Desire to make their daughter get "better" if they see her grieving or struggling
  • Feelings of inadequacy in discussing abortion and its aftermath with their son or daughter.

Grandparent trauma can be separated into a few categories:

  • Parents who encouraged or forced their child to abort,
  • Parents who did not know their child was pregnant and aborted,
  • Parents who allowed their child to make their own choice about aborting,
  • Parents who actively tried to stop the abortion but had no legal standing.
  • Parents who find out later that their son or daughter lost a child to abortion

For the parents who encouraged or forced an abortion, there is similar pain to other demographic groups. Guilt, anxiety, mourning, grief, depression, etc. can all result. In many cases, the healing process can be similar to a mother's process. By acknowledging their loss, reaching out and grieving the loss of this child, they can also find peace.

For parents who may never discover that a grandchild was aborted, there may be no specific grief. The family often experiences a turbulent relationship with the aborting daughter / son but rarely suspect a past abortion could be the reason for the difficulties. This daughter or son might become angry when a sibling presents the family with the first grandchild, secretly knowing that her child should have received this esteemed position.

When the parent allows the child to make the abortion decision, many times the grandparent feels guilt for not being more actively involved. This is especially painful when history shows the aborted child to be the only grandchild. Peace may be obtained by acknowledging the loss, and proceeding through the grieving and recovery process.

Parents who actively tried to stop the abortion but had no legal rights are especially open to pain and family trauma. As is the parent who found out later that their son or daugher lost a child to abortion. This is more often the case when their son's girlfriend / wife has the abortion. Denial is not a part of dealing with this pain. Grief is immediate and profound. Especially if the grandparent themselves is post-abortive.


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