In the era B.C. (before children), I worked as an attorney representing children who were possibly abused by a parent. As guardian ad litem, I would perform investigations into the home lives of these children, interview family members, and weigh physical and psychological evidence provided by physicians, psychologists, and other professionals prior to making recommendations to the court. Each case was unique, complex, sometimes darkly humorous, but, for the most part, so heartbreaking that I stopped doing it after two years.
While the physical abuse was sad, it was the emotional toll, portrayed so tragically in the faces of the children, that was the most devastating. When abused children were able to meet up with parents after initially being taken from them, they would invariably run first to the arms of the parent who had abused them. This shocked me when I first saw it, until a more experienced attorney told me that, in situations of chronic abuse, the children felt that the abuse was somehow their fault, and if they were “better,” somehow the abuse would not happen again.
Indeed, for a period of time, it would get better, until the next tirade or drunken rage or loss of control when the victimized children again would feel that they had somehow let down the parent and deserved the hurt. These kids would smile and comfort their abusive parents, to the point that it was sickening. They wanted so desperately to be loved by their parents and to be worthy of that love. I will never forget the frantically sweet, desperately hopeful looks on those faces, in hopes that they would finally be good enough for their parents.
“Every Child a Wanted Child”?
Those who support the right to abortions argue most commonly that a woman’s right to choose to give birth — “control her own body” — is paramount. They dismiss arguments about the sanctity of life as religious bias or “your opinion,” and blithely throw out the “if you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one” line.
Some, like the currently popular candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, will sanctimoniously submit that it is not up to us to determine if and when a woman should carry her child: it should solely be her decision at any time of her pregnancy. More crudely, many will argue that the child is not sentient, and therefore has no voice in the matter as if sentience or lack of it determines the worthiness of human life. All turn a blind eye to the clear cut violence which is inflicted upon a human being in every abortion.
What has been totally ignored by the pro-abortion crowd (and anyone who supports the right to choose abortion is supporting abortion) is its poisonous view of child-bearing and the unbearable burden which “choice” lays those children who are not aborted. Contrary to the belief that having only “wanted” children will reduce child abuse, it leads instead to more emotional abuse of children. The abortion supporters’ mantra of “every child a wanted child” never approaches those words from the view of the child, especially those whose own siblings have been aborted.
The Anxiety of Being Wanted
What do the wanted children ask themselves?
“If my life existence is based upon the fact that I was wanted, what must I do to continually be wanted?”
“If I am living because mommy wanted me, what happens if I do something that makes mommy not want me?”
“Will I always be wanted, or will mommy regret that she wanted me?”
And, most devastating of all:
“What if I had been unwanted? Why was my sibling not wanted, but I was?”
Survivor’s guilt is common.
“Wanted” vs. “Welcomed”
The language and philosophy of abortion supporters place an unbearably cruel and heinous burden on children, especially siblings of aborted children. Rather than be welcomed as a gift, no matter when they are born, no matter how they are born, no matter what they are or aren’t, children who are viewed as wanted or unwanted, chosen or not chosen, invariably feel responsible for continuing to be wanted — and of deserving of the choice their parents made.
It is understandable that they subconsciously live their lives continually trying to measure up, to be worthy of being wanted. They know all too painfully that wanting something or someone can easily turn into not wanting something or someone, so they strive their entire lives to be worthy of their mother’s choice. They know that their existence is not considered a gift, a sacred serendipity, or even an unexpected surprise. Their existence and worth are based solely upon being wanted by their mother.
In providing ways to pastorally counsel siblings of the aborted, and better understand their suffering, Fr. Frank Pavone recently wrote:
In this regard, it is necessary to point out the distinction between being wanted and being welcomed. Being wanted is not necessarily a consolation. It gives the wrong message, namely, that my life or death depends on the fact that someone wants or doesn’t want me …. I have no intrinsic right to be.
Welcome, on the other hand, is the response to one who has an intrinsic value, a value that is recognized and acknowledged to be independent of the circumstances in which one comes to be. When one is welcomed, he/she is not subject to the plans, desires, or expectations of others. He/she is not tied to or evaluated by the criteria of someone else’s agenda. Rather, he/she is acknowledged as good simply because he/she is and has a right to be. [Emphasis adapted from source]
This burden is not only carried by siblings of aborted but by every child who is expected to understand and accept his or her parents’ dogma that children are to be wanted and planned as an objective goal, not accepted and welcomed as gifts.
The result, through extensive studies conducted by Dr. Phillip Ney, is that the children who are “wanted” feel anxiety, self-doubt, and distrust: “I can’t believe that my parents, who would kill one of their children, can really love me.”
It is not difficult to see that the mindset of wanted versus unwanted, even in families where no children have been aborted, casts an uneasy air of conditional love — love which is conditioned upon being deserving of being wanted. This, perhaps, is one of the most devastating tolls of the abortion philosophy: Children who survive abortion may never believe that they are worthy enough to have been chosen.
What a horrible burden to carry.