‘Don’t Kill My Baby!’ Men Have Post-Abortion Grief, Too

This Father's Day, men who have suffered after an abortion will grieve. But with Support After Abortion, there is hope.

By Nancy Flory Published on June 16, 2023

Greg Mayo wanted his baby, even though his pregnant ex-girlfriend wanted an abortion. He offered to marry her. He offered to take the child — she would never have to see it. He asked if they could put the baby up for adoption. She said no.

“One of the last things I said was through tears and screaming I said, ‘Please, whatever you do, don’t kill my baby. I’ll be there first thing in the morning.’ She said ‘It’s not a baby, and by the time you get here, it’ll already be done.'”

She made good on that.

‘This is So Pointless’

That wasn’t the only abortion Greg suffered through. He’d gotten a girlfriend pregnant when he was 18. It was a few weeks before his high school graduation. She chose an abortion, too. “I remember sitting there graduation day and you’re waiting to go up and the whole thing that you do, and I remember thinking, ‘This is so pointless. You know, what the h*** are we doing here?'”

For the next several years, Greg lived recklessly. He couldn’t hold a job. He failed his first attempt at college. He went cliff diving and bungee jumping. He finally went to see a therapist, who was no help. “I’ll never forget this. It was maybe our seventh or eighth session and the abortion stories came up. I mentioned them to him. … He said, ‘Yeah, that’s not a thing. Tell me more about your stepdad.'”

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Greg didn’t know where to go for healing from his grief. He was burying his pain, hiding it even from himself. “I didn’t have anybody to talk to. Nobody seemed to understand that I had these feelings.”

Support After Abortion

Many men now are finding that need not be the case, due in part to Support After Abortion (SAA). SAA is a nonpartisan nonprofit that helps people work through their post-abortion grief. After many years of healing, Greg took a job this past January at SAA as a Men’s Healing Strategist.

SAA states on its website:

People who have been impacted by abortion often feel that they have nowhere to turn. They face isolation and a lack of validation that their feelings surrounding their abortion experience are real. We don’t judge or condemn. We meet them where they are, validate their feelings, and help them find the healing they deserve.

People don’t often think about what men go through after an abortion. But their pain is real, and they need healing. Greg explained,

So one of the first things and one of the main things that men experience is what’s called disenfranchised grief. It’s the idea that my grief isn’t validated. Therefore, when you experience abortion loss and you feel that pain and the anxiety and the things that go with it, and then you’re told on every front, ‘You don’t have a decision. You don’t have a voice to this, it’s not your body.’

I’ve been told online … ‘Sit down and shut up. Your feelings don’t matter. Go cry to someone who cares.’ You know, all kinds of stuff like that. That’s what a lot of men experience. We know that the nature of grief is that if we don’t process it and deal with it and heal from it, those feelings will come out in some way, shape, or form.

Greg sees that in a lot of men who come to him for help. They have a common experience. They tell Greg, “I [have] this pain and I don’t know what to do with it, and nobody will tell me it’s okay.”

A Painful Father’s Day

Father’s Day is particularly painful for Greg — and the men he speaks with. While Greg has other children now, he will never forget the ones he lost to abortion. “Every Father’s Day there’s a time when I will spend a few minutes by myself and reflect on the two children that aren’t with us, that aren’t able to participate.”

Two men have confided in Greg that Father’s Day is really difficult for them too. “Two of them have already texted me and said, ‘Hey, hate to bother you on Father’s Day, but if I need to call you, can I call you?’ And then went on to explain how they’re not looking forward to Father’s Day.”

Another man Greg has worked with also has a hard time on Father’s Day. “He had lost his child 13 years ago. He has never married, never had children. He’s in his 30s now and he told me that every Father’s Day he tries to busy himself being around other people, even though all he wants is to be alone, because he doesn’t want to sit alone with that.”

There is Hope

There is hope, and Greg wants to share it with men suffering after an abortion. “The first thing I would say is there is a pathway through what you’re feeling. The second thing would be what you’re feeling is valid. You’re angry, you’re sad, probably both. There’s probably shame, you know, whatever it is, it’s valid and there’s a way through it.” The men will never forget their children lost to abortion. “But you can get to a place where you remember them peacefully and thoughtfully and it doesn’t trigger the same pain.”

SAA now has a new abortion healing weekly Zoom call for men, held Tuesdays at noon EST. It’s called Men’s Base Camp: Abortion Healing for Men. For more information about Support After Abortion and how they help men who have suffered an abortion, click here.

 

Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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