Where do broken hearts go? My Mentor Jane is a great start

Where do broken hearts go? My Mentor Jane is a great start (Jane Abatte)

Woman takes abortion recovery to the web to serve others

If you or your ministry have benefitted from a post-abortion healing retreat such as Rachel's Vineyard, yet you wondered if there is further help beyond it, Jane Abbate has developed such a ministry.

For more than 15 years Abbate was part of the Pittsburgh Rachel’s Vineyard retreat team and when she moved to the Richmond, Va., area she joined with the group there. Yet just as Abbate has been on a more than two decades-long journey of new levels of healing from abortion, so her ministry would find a deeper path to bring others along. She has taken her quest for healing online to share with others in the My Mentor Jane video series, along with other related resources.

Abbate’s YouTube interview with Karin from Support After Abortion Healing Network delves into the journey and the ministry that has resulted.

Amy Scheuring, executive director of Women's Choice Network highly recommends Jane’s book and videos.

“Jane worked with our team while developing the workbooks for Where Do Broken Hearts Go and she has been a vital mentor to our post abortion group leaders,” Scheuring told Pregnancy Help News (PHN).

“Jane has a way of gently opening up hearts to the truth about God's forgiveness and peace,” added Scheuring. 

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PHN interviewed Abbate where she described how her videos can connect women and men, by drawing them in as the resources are utilized by compassionate staff members from organizations such as Scheuring’s.

“The individual who is in a more active trauma state is drawn in as you show them, ‘I see you,’ ‘I care about you,’ ‘I respect you,’” Abbate noted.

The challenge in reaching those who have suffered the pain of an abortion experience is timing. A majority will not seek help any earlier than five years after their abortion and for many it is much longer.

This trend leaves women vulnerable to multiple abortions. Abbate seeks to reach them before pain drives them toward what she describes in her book as “trauma reenactment.”

Having experienced three abortions which were three vastly different circumstances, Abbate is able to point out the additional layer of guilt and shame which comes from repeat abortions. 

“A central aspect of trauma is a sense of helplessness, and reenactment is a way for women like me to revisit and hopefully resolve our trauma,” wrote Abbate. “Eventually, I realized that forgetting the details of the events and remaining stuck in confusion were defense mechanisms that kept me in denial and unable to confront my shortcomings, grieve the profound loss of my children, or seek forgiveness.”

She encourages those serving these women to show them, “I see you sitting there in your pain, I respect the pain you are going through. I respect the courage that it takes to tell me you’ve had an abortion.”

Such words accompanied by actions demonstrate you are there for the individual no matter what. 

“Establishing that compassionate, safe, respectful, loving connection is what’s most important,” said Abbate. “Then you can offer the resources for healing. They can’t receive those gifts until we’ve given them the first gift and they’ve been able to unwrap it - The gift of the acknowledgment, the compassion, the respect.”

Tweet This: Establishing a compassionate, safe, and loving connection is what’s most important. Then you can offer resources for post-abortion healing.

Abbate noted the difficulty of getting through, “To help them come back, when and if they’re ready. You’ve left them with an impression that this is a safe place. It’s okay to come back. They will remember that in their desperation.”

Abbate still connects personally with the process of healing. In the past eight years she has dealt with the reality of new layers of grief that are experienced as she connects with the additional loss of knowing she not only missed out on raising her children, but now never experiencing their children.

My Mentor Jane videos on YouTube started in October 2021. Starting in 2023 all the videos are abortion related. 

“The Lord led me to put out good content that is healing and leads people to Him,” Abbate said.

The latest My Mentor Jane episode explored the hidden causes of damaging behavior. In this episode Abbate interviewed Karin Barbito, special projects manager from Support After Abortion

In her book, Where Do Broken Hearts Go? and now through the My Mentor Jane series, Abbate started the list of 19 emotions with what held her captive for so long, numbness.  

“I didn’t relate to my woundedness on a head level,” she said. “I related to it emotionally. I knew I had these emotions, but I didn’t understand why I had them.”

“I think it is different than denial” Abbate told PHN. “Numbness has to do with emotional and physical trauma of abortion. Where it is so overwhelming to cope with that we shut down.”

“Whether it’s an abortion in a clinic as I had, or a woman today who is taking the pills and essentially having the abortion at home in their bathrooms, it’s the shock of what your body’s going through,” she said. “The shock of what you’re seeing and what you’re hearing.” 

“Therefore, numbness is a trauma response,” said Abbate.

“Meet the post abortive where they are—whether it is a fresh wound or buried for many years,” Abbate advised. “Listening for the emotional experience.”

Jane Abbate

Abbate noted the value of remembering, “Whether you’re in denial or not, when you start to move away from the heartbreak, healing is something that you don’t see as something out there but it was deeply personal, it affected me.”

“The grief of ‘this was my child, it wasn’t an experience, it was the death of my child,’” she said.

Noting perhaps the most common emotion Abbate stated, “Anger is one of the emotions that is widely shared and there is a lot of insights people gain by understanding their anger. It’s the background static in your life.” 

“There is a trigger, and you find yourself bursting into a rage way out of proportion in relation to the event. Anger can be the expression of sadness of the feeling of how alone and unseen I felt with no place to turn, and I was mad about that.”

Abbate considers fear to be the emotion driving the abortion decision. 

“Fear is such a powerful driver of what we think and say and do,” she said. “Fear of being exposed, like in my case of being exposed as having had sex at 22 or having had an affair.”

In her YouTube video on the effect of fear Abbate explores how emotions are hijacked by fear.

“The fear at the beginning is a big influence in the decision but then it doesn’t resolve with the abortion but continues to grow as you fear people will find out what you did, that you are this terrible person,” she said.

Through her ministry, Abbate is a mentor, not just to the post abortive, but to those who seek to offer God’s grace, forgiveness, and hope.

One key element of Jane Abbate’s ministry is her ability to remain connected to her own personal journey. 

“Christmas time for me I was back in the heartbreak and the envy chapter because Christmas was just me and my husband, no kids or grandkids,” she expressed to PHN. “I connected once again with heartbreak and loneliness.”

Her humility and submission to God is continually evident in her work; authentic, compassionate ministry well worth consideration for emulating. 

Editor's note: Additional abortion recovery resources are available HERE.

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