“I’m not sure you should see this movie,” commented a caring friend. Without hesitating, I disagreed with my friend about seeing the movie “Unplanned.” However, while my husband and I were driving to the theater, a part of me was apprehensive. I’d read the descriptions of the graphic scenes in the movie, and I felt a little ill thinking of what I was about to witness on the screen.
Abortion is gruesome and horrifying, and it is a reality with which I am familiar. Before becoming a follower of Christ, I chose abortion three times. I knew the movie had the potential to trigger condemning feelings. My caring friend naturally wanted to protect me from feeling shame and guilt.
Despite my apprehension, I watched “Unplanned.” Many scenes elicited a response in me, but there was only one that brought mixed emotions. This scene is after the abortion facility closes and shows Abby putting two roses on the facility fence and then speaks to her aborted children. She had written a letter to them, but in the moment decides to speak from her heart. She stays at the fence for some time, mourning her children.
This scene touched my heart in a unique way because I, too, have had a “time at the fence.” As part of my healing journey, I have written letters to my unborn children, I have named them, and I have laid flowers in their names. These actions brought personhood and dignity to my children. They allowed me to grieve and, most importantly, they allowed me to connect to my children as their mother.
This “time at the fence” memorial can be a powerful part of the healing process after an abortion. It provides moments of both grief and joy. As parents, we grieve over the absence of our babies and our choice, but we also rightfully take joy in their lives. We now freely “embrace” these children who have always been with us. It is a time for new beginnings because we are now given permission to love our children.
There was a time I wrestled with the harshness of my three abortion decisions and, yes, I was upset by some scenes in “Unplanned.” But I was not shamed by them. My shame was borne on the Cross at Calvary 2,000 years ago. I no longer identify with my abortions because my identity is now in Christ. My children are no longer identified by their death but by their lives. THIS is how I can tell people about my children, and this is how I can tell other moms and dads how to heal and live full lives.
Anyone who grieves a past abortion will find tremendous healing from pursuing their own “time at the fence” with their lost child or children. The wound abortion brings can only be healed through the reconciliation power of Christ, who then reconciles us to the baby we never knew.