Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion

Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion

Authors: Theresa Burke with David C. Reardon

For more than 30 years, our nation has argued about abortion. In that time, over 30 million women have had one or more abortions. 

While the political battle rages, little has been done to address the emotional needs of those who struggle with feelings of grief, shame, guilt, feeling judged by others-and more. Instead, social taboos stifle discussion of abortion-related feelings. Women are left feeling isolated, and their recovery is inhibited. 

Forbidden Grief is a compelling, haunting review of Dr. Theresa Burke’s experience in counseling hundreds of women for abortion-related emotional problems. Dr. Burke exposes the obstacles in the way of post-abortion healing, reviews the full range and depth of post-abortion adjustment problems, and illustrates how we can create a more understanding and healing society where women will no longer be required to hide their pain. 

It’s time to listen and help

  • Learn the secrets that women who have had abortions tell only to their therapists, but want everyone to understand. 
  • Understand how traumatic abortion experiences can be reenacted through repeat pregnancies, multiple abortions, substance abuse, eating disorders, and broken relationships. 
  • Discover how to help loved ones-or yourself-take the steps needed to find healing and joy. 

Learn to Look Deeper

Abortion causes conflict. It fragments political parties, churches, schools, and neighborhoods. It divides families. Husband against wife. Mother against daughter. Sister against sister.

These conflicts reflect the discord that also occurs within individuals. After abortion, many women face a daily internal battle between condemning and defending themselves.

Psychotherapist Theresa Burke, Ph. D., has specialized in treating women struggling with post-abortion issues through individual counseling and group therapy sessions since 1986. Many of the women she treated had been rebuffed by other therapists who would not believe their abortions had caused such trauma. Others came to her because their family and friends refused to acknowledge the reality of their grief.

In Forbidden Grief, Dr. Burke explores the cultural and psychological obstacles to post-abortion healing. She examines why friends and families erect walls of silence around a loved one’s grief and reveals how we can and should listen to those who are struggling with past abortions.

Drawing on the experience and insights of hundreds of her clients, Dr. Burke shows how repressed feelings may be acted out through self-destructive behavior, broken relationships, obsessions, eating disorders, parenting difficulties, and other emotional or behavioral problems.

Forbidden Grief also explains how to help loved ones, or yourself, simply by better understanding the nature and origin of unresolved abortion issues-and what steps will help you find healing. You’ll also learn about the most up-to-date research on abortion problems, and the inside story of the fight within the psychiatric community over recognizing post-abortion trauma.

About the Authors

Тереза Бёрк

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.


Дэвид Риардон

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

Table of Contents

  • Gina’s Story
  • Hiding the Truth
  • Forbidding the Grief
  • A Time to Grieve, A Time to Heal
  • Maternal Confusion
  • Mind Games: The Use and Misuse of Defense Mechanisms
  • Connections to the Past
  • Abortion as a Traumatic Experience
  • Memories Unleashed
  • Reenacting Trauma
  • Repeat Abortions
  • Sexual Abuse and Abortion
  • Something Inside Has Died: Booze, Drugs, Sex, and Suicide
  • Broken Babies
  • What’s Eating You? Abortion and Eating Disorders
  • Paradise Lost: Abortion and Ruined Relationships
  • No Choice, Hard Choice, Wrong Choice
  • The Labor of Grief and Birth of Freedom
  • The Politics of Trauma
  • Appendix A: The Complexity and Distortions of Post-Abortion Research
  • Appendix B: The Elliot Institute Survey:
  • Appendix C: Psychological Reactions Reported After Abortion
  • Resources 

Дата публикации: 2010-11-16 03:10:34