By Dave Wernli / July 17, 2017
Jim couldn’t shake it. He’d had break-ups before. Why can’t I get over this? What’s the big deal? Why is this one so different?
Shauna, his girlfriend he’d lived with for nine months, had been getting more and more distant for several months. Jim couldn’t figure out why. He tried his best. He brought her flowers, bought chocolate, cancelled a fishing weekend with the guys, got up early to do his share of the chores so they could just be together at night after work. He even talked about his feelings. He did everything he knew she liked. Nothing worked. In fact, the closer he tried to get, the more she pulled away. Was she seeing someone else?
Then one day, he came home from work and she was gone. She’d moved out, left a curt note, and dumped him flat. Fine. I can handle this. Been too long since I hung with my boyz anyway. So he and his buddies got hammered that night. And the next night. And the next. After several weeks, he was still telling himself the midnight vomiting and two-day hangovers were worth it. I’m drinking way more than I should, but I’m alright. I got this, I’m in control. Anything to stop the pain.
There was only one problem. The pain of this break-up didn’t stop. It hung on like dead air on a humid day in Alabama. And the overwhelming sense of failure was worse. He’d really begun to think that Shauna was the one. Maybe that’s why it hurts so bad, he thought. I let myself get too attached. I’ll never make that mistake again.
So Jim self-sabotaged his subsequent relationships. He unconsciously self-sabotaged his job and lost it. His sense of identity was shattered in shards of overwhelming failure. No one can ever know. He became a control freak. If I can control the situation, I can hide the shame of the failure I am, was the unconscious thought he didn’t consciously realize he was living out. He lost most of his friends.
Meanwhile, his drinking and porn reached whole new levels, as he tried in vain to medicate the pain that just wouldn’t go away. He knew he was in a self-destructive downward spiral, but couldn’t pull out of it.
Even after becoming a Christian, he sabotaged two marriages, kept falling back into drinking and porn, and was afraid to chase his dreams. He’d all but forgotten that it all went back to Shauna. But it did. And there was a very logical reason, but Jim never knew what it was.
That reason kept him from the life God created him to live. Because even though he was forgiven, he never got healing.
What was the reason Jim never knew? Several months before she left him, Shauna was pregnant with Jim’s baby. She was terrified she’d lose him, and so she never told him and got an abortion. There was only one problem, something the abortion clinic never told her would happen.
She still had 500,000 cells in her body from the aborted child communicating with her about that pregnancy at a cellular level.
She tried her best to ignore it, but she couldn’t. And what reminded her of the abortion more than anything else? Looking at Jim. Being with Jim. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore. She threw away the relationship she’d had the abortion to save.
80-90% of relationships that experience an abortion fail within 12 months. The clinic didn’t tell her that, either.
So what happened with Jim? While he didn’t consciously know Shauna was pregnant, by 4 weeks his body did. Her pheromones changed. She smelled different, and his body picked up on it.
Completely out of Jim’s control and unknown to him, his hormones changed. In particular, these hormones changed:
- Cortisol. A stress protector hormone, it increases alertness. It’s nature’s way of saying, “Pay attention! Something’s happening here!”
- Estrogen. All men have some but now he’s got more. It made him kinder, more protective.
- Prolactin. A breast-feeding hormone. It also made him kinder, more protective.
- Vasopressin. A sexual bonding hormone, of all things. It made him feel attached. Jim was beginning to feel more attached and connected to Shauna than he ever had been to her or to anyone else.
- Testosterone. Dropped like a rock! Although it would increase again, it will NEVER in his lifetime equal its former levels.
Jim was simply experiencing God’s design. God was transforming the aggressive hunter into a protective provider.
His hormones were telling him, “Hey, this is the one!” He had a deeper sense of attachment than he had to any woman ever. He started to care for her at a much deeper level. He didn’t consciously know why, he just did. It’s just God’s design in nature.
Jim is a fictional, but realistic, composite profile of a common post-abortive man, although not all post-abortive men experience all of these symptoms. This story is not unique. One out of four women have had an abortion. Do the math.
That means one out of four men have fathered an aborted child. And like Jim, many never know it.
God has wired men to protect. Especially the weak and helpless ones. Especially our own family. Fathering an aborted child shatters a man’s sense of identity to the very core of his being. Even if he doesn’t consciously know the abortion happened, his spirit does. And he’s left with an overwhelming sense of failure where his self-confidence used to be.
Our culture tells us men have neither a stake nor a voice when it comes to abortion: “It’s her body, it’s her choice. You’re just a sperm-donor. Sit down, shut up, and pay the bill.”
The truth is, support from a man, especially the father, is the single greatest factor we find in a woman deciding to keep her baby. No wonder the lie in this culture is designed to shut men up.
So what’s a man to do? Two things.
First, if this is you, get healing. There is healing after abortion, but you can’t find it yourself. God brings healing in the context of an accepting, non-judgmental, loving, community. Local Pregnancy Help Centers (PHCs) offer one such a community. Call your local PHC. Ask them for their next post-abortive class for men, or to recommend one in your area.
Going through a post-abortive Bible study is tremendously healing. Participating in a safe and confidential group breaks the shame, which is one large component giving the pain its power. And there are other components you’ll work through in the study. You’ll come out experiencing a freedom you haven’t known for years, if ever.
Second, be the answer. Start the conversation. Talk about it. Of women who have abortions, 70% identify not only as Christians, but as regular church attenders. Abortion needs to stop being the scarlet letter in our churches and become instead a common topic of conversation. And not just about pro-life political activity (although that’s all good), but about healing and acceptance for the hurting in a safe place, the arms of a loving church family.
So what do you think? Have you been down this road? Talk to us in the comments and tell us your story.
Download the slide presentation from Dave Wernli’s workshop, Heroes Choose Life, at Fredericksburg Iron Sharpens Iron 2017 here.
Dave Wernli is an author, blogger, and speaker. He and his wife Janet help Christians stuck in brokenness live the God-given adventure God created them for. Dave and Janet have a passion to see the Body of Christ walking whole and set free. Visit their blog at www.IdentityInWholeness.com. Dave and Janet live in Stafford, VA.
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