Living in Color
South Africa

Offering help and healing for women experiencing grief or loss after an abortion

Living in Color: the goal of post-abortion recovery is a unique, abortion-specific, grief and loss program that was developed by Jenny McDermid and made its debut in 2010.

What we do, How we HELP

Some women feel a sense of relief after an abortion, while other women find it a painful and difficult experience to move past. Everyone’s experience is different. While many women experience a sense of relief after an abortion, some women experience strong negative emotions such as guilt, anxiety, sadness, emotional “numbing” or depression.

If you have had an abortion and are experiencing any of the above, you may be encountering Post Abortion Stress and the Living in Color program addresses the above symptoms and places you on a path of healing.

Program Summary

Goals of the Program – from the client’s perspective:

  1. To grieve our abortion losses
  2. To restore faith and trust in ourselves
  3. To bring health to broken relationships with God and others
  4. To identify and control our triggers
  5. To say “hello” and “goodbye” to our children
  6. To find peace, closure and new purpose

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Post-Abortion Stress

Are you experiencing feelings of guilt, anxiety or depression? You may be experiencing Post Abortion Stress (PAS). Symptoms of PAS may include:

  • Sadness
  • Feeling compelled to conceal an abortion
  • Experiencing prolonged depression
  • Emotional “numbing”
  • Having lingering guilt and shame

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Program Author

JENNY MCDERMID

For over 20 years, Jenny McDermid has been active in the post-abortion recovery and healing wing of the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre—a Canadian Christian ministry affiliated with the North American CareNet organization. Jenny is a former educator and entrepreneur who sold her business in the mid-1990s to pursue her primary passion:  the restoration of women wounded by abortion to life lived in full color.

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WATCH this 12-minute video

Original interview by 100 Huntley Street showcasing Jenny McDermid, author of Living in Color, her colleagues offering post-abortion counselling as well as two clients who provide their testimonials walking through the Program.

PROGRAM DIRECTOR
SOUTH AFRICA

 Sonya has made Cape Town her home base since 2014 where she lives with her husband Andy.  Generous international donors have allowed Sonya to offer the program materials and all program-related counselling free of charge.  

Sonya was quite young when she found out she was pregnant and had an abortion soon afterwards.  She lived in silent grief and shame for many years.   She carried the hurt, guilt and sadness in her heart due to the unresolved loss of a baby that she never got to hold.   The Living in Color program gently walked her through the many stages of the grief journey and rebuilt her towards her true potential in Christ and perhaps for the first time in her life, she saw her value as Christ does.  Her life went from living in the grey to truly Living in Color.

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HOW we are different

There are other post-abortion recovery programs available through various agencies in major urban centers of South Africa and many have been written 20+ years ago.  Some women who have spent time in personal counselling sessions feel they still cannot move past the deep wounds they still carry from their abortion because the counselling was not abortion specific.  The Living in Color program is abortion specific, was first published in 2010 and has been updated in 2017.  As such, we believe it delivers one of the most systematic, next-generation and thorough approaches to identifying, processing, dealing with and healing the emotions and trauma that have arisen due to post-abortion grief.  Other positive differentiators that our program offers to our South African woman who become clients of Living in Color are:

♥  Sonya, as a competent and certified facilitator, brings a compassionate and gentle approach into each session and provides a safe place for women to share their healing journey.

♥  Culturally sensitive approach no matter your ethnicity

♥  Comprehensive intake process to ensure client readiness

♥  Small group discussion sizes

♥  Hands-on exercises that help clients identify, process and heal from their grief wounds

From Our Clients

The following testimonials have been posted with the permission of our clients.  Pseudo names have been used to protect their identity

When I first sent Sonya an email, inquiring about Living in Colour and wanting to join the course, I was touched by her warmth and kindness in responding to my interest. Through our written correspondence I felt at ease and at peace because her responses were timeous and made me feel welcome.

The first meeting I had at the Hillsong church to chat about the course was one I will never forget. I was determined to make the appointment and remember feeling like I was at my lowest point, broken by a past relationship which had left me internally wounded and inexplicably hurt by my abortion ordeal which had become a living nightmare.

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I stepped into the church with little expectation. All I wanted was to be part of a course that would help me heal all the darkness that felt like it was threatening to burst from the inside out. I was desperate to find healing and peace and desperate to find my way back to a life filled with light and joy. Enrolling in Living in Colour was the first step to that life. During my first meeting I felt comfortable speaking to Sonya about what had brought me here. Not once did I feel judged or condemned, instead I was met with so much love and encouragement.

The lessons that followed were tough at times because I was forced to look at my life, the choices I had made through the lens of God’s word, the teachings in the book and with the guidance of an empathetic counselor.

There were moments where the course was difficult to take in, I would break down while working through the journal and the guide. I felt so many emotions that could best be described as sorrow, heartbreak, regret, remorse, shame and guilt. I soon realised that I needed to work through these toxic emotions because for months they had held me back in a prison of unforgiveness and turmoil. As Sonya and I confronted each toxic emotion and the behaviour behind it, I felt myself becoming lighter.

I was growing as a young woman, finding myself in an environment that was healthy and aimed at building me from the ground up. As the course progressed, I started looking forward to the lessons because they had become a platform for me to understand what had happened before, during and after my abortion ordeal. I appreciated the honest approach that the course took, it allowed me to take responsibility and to become accountable for my mistakes so that I could grow from them and become a better person who learns from her mistakes and makes better choices.

I found out how I could deal better when faced with problems brought by circumstance or anything out of my control. I learnt new coping mechanisms which I could use when faced with a challenge. I grew in courage and strength as I worked through the emotional turmoil. I found myself centred back to a loving, understanding and graceful God and came to see how he has forgiven me and given me a garment of praise and beauty for ashes. The scriptures I read served as a basis from which I could propel myself forward from. The bible is my companion and the word has accompanied me through the journey I undertook with Living in Colour and afterwards.

To say the course changed my life is an understatement. It began my life from a positive, faith filled and bold perspective because I discovered that I could laugh again, I could dance again, I could feel and look more enthusiastically at what lies ahead of me and for that I am so grateful.

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Anneke

Client, Cape Town, RSA

I am eternally grateful for the Living in Color in course and for you too Sonya, because of it, I feel better, I have faced a part of me that I was nonchalantly ignoring, but inside I was hurting and constantly being haunted by the grief, fear and regret. I know that it is a process and I may still have some remnant issues, but overall, I am in a much better space, I am kinder and more forgiving to myself and I turn to God when I have any internal unrest.

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The reminder not to question God’s authority has played a very fundamental role for me, and so when I catch myself in a cycle of negative self-chastising talk, I remember not to question God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.

The course has been useful in all areas of my life and I am applying a lot of these principles in my every day encounters. I am forever grateful to the Living in Color course and it came at a much needed time.

Thank you Sonya and Jenny McDermid.  May God forever bless you both.

.

Blessings

Client, Cape Town, RSA

Before joining the Living in Color program, I always felt that I was living sort of half a life, a bit in the shadow, knowing that this was certainly not God’s best for me.  I would go through periods of deep sadness and sometimes would have no idea why specifically I was feeling so sad, but I always circled back to feeling the impact of my abortion – my biggest shame.  When Sonya responded to my email, I was at first surprised and I felt a bit panicky and wanted to do what I normally do, when I am about, to commit to something where I need to deal with myself and my feelings – RUN.  Thank goodness, Sonya was so comforting and “on it”, that I did not have time to withdraw, and I knew this time it was “do or die”, otherwise I will be walking around the same mountain next month, next year and never get to a point of facing my worst thoughts and fears.

The program itself started out great!! I loved the first two chapters and the exercises, but getting to the more challenging chapters, I really had to force myself not to run.  During this time, Sonya was checking in with me regularly and just gently encouraging me and keeping me accountable – I NEEDED THAT!

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She facilitated the course with gentleness and compassion but was firm when needed to.  Sharing her own story with me, made it so much easier for me to share my story and thoughts with her.  She could also relate to a lot of the experiences I had prior to my abortion, which really helped me to see, clearly, how my timeline evolved, up to the point of my abortion and afterwards. The fact that she is also a believer, made the experience so much more meaningful and productive and I am very grateful, she was the person, supporting me through this process.

I wish I came across this program at least 10 years ago – it would have saved me and my family a lot of heartache.

Amara

Client, Hermanus, RSA

Before I knew about the Living in Color course I was in a place of darkness and also had some anger towards God. Most of all my relationship with Him was at standstill. I thought…how come we as Christians go through things like abortion…real life problems and none of God’s people can help us to work through this pain. I mean there are courses at churches for divorce recovery, for how to raise your children, pre-marital courses but no one addresses the fallout after an abortion.

So I was desperate and willing to do any course just to find myself again… and then I saw the Tab on Hillsong’s website ” Living in Color” and surprise surprise ” an abortion specific course”. My heart could not help but stand in awe of God’s faithfulness.

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During this course I learned that having a whole lot of unidentified feelings was normal and the space that I was in have been occupied by other godly women before me as well. I was able to describe myself as I saw myself at that time, even though it wasn’t a pretty image at all. I learned that the process I was in had a name…it was called ” grieving” and this was something that had to be done thoroughly. My anger burst outs had reasons now, and the source could now be identified.

Forgiveness…oh this lovely word that for me was the most difficult thing to do.  Who do I forgive?…where do I start? and do they/ I deserve it.? I as able to write a forgiveness letter to everyone who I carried with heaviness in my heart.

The happiest and saddest part for me was ” Hello There”. I love how this course takes you to a place you never allowed your mind to go and in this manner give dignity to the baby you lost. What an important chapter in this book

And the Goodbye…now THIS felt like closure. This chapter released me, this is when I finally felt okay with letting go for now.

The healing process isn’t over…it will take constant reminder of what I’ve  done during this healing process …how God has healed and forgiven me and I believe that I will get to a place where I stop self-sabotaging and start accepting all the good things God has in store for me.

Thank you for a life changing experience Sonya and Jenny. Thank you for your hearts towards us who deal with this pain and giving us hope again. 

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Nina

Client, Johannesburg, RSA

One morning whilst sitting in bed, I happened to scroll through my FB pages. There I found the video of Sonya sharing her testimony on her post abortion recovery. It grabbed my attention and I now know it was not by chance or accident that I viewed the CCFM clip of Sonya.

Shortly thereafter we met and she explained the programme with so much compassion and dignity. I knew this is a journey I needed to take. At first I was fearful and doubting – ‘how is this book : Living in Colour’ going to help me with my post abortion recovery?

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Oh boy! What a journey it was and still is. One lesson I learnt was to Trust the Process & allow God to do the work.

I had repressed my thoughts and feelings of my abortion of 28 years ago so deep down that many a time I would question – Did this really happen? For the first time, I could go and enquire from my Mom and she confirmed it.

As I reflect on my journal, the notes of 9/7/19 I wrote ‘It is hard, I could not get out of bed after dealing with the anger, lots of emotion, I’m crying from deep within.’ For 28 years I was walking with all of this buried so deep within that it seemed it never took place. Dealing with the Anger and Forgiveness chapters drained me. Sonya was with me every step of the way. Thank you Sonya for your empathy, gentle spirit of compassion, your kindness, your smile, your ear to listen and shoulder to cry on – always to be remembered.

I believe what you put into the process, that is what you will get out.

I had many beautiful God moments.He revealed to me my little girl and also her name through 3 different divine interventions. God is Awesome! I soaked up the time to ‘Get to know her.’ Putting the Memory Box together what beautiful soft moments. I started to feel whole again.

Here is the best part – as I was walking through the chapter of ‘Hello There’ my brother who is gifted with drawing, never painted, starts to paint in this particular week. He then sends me pics of his paintings of a mother with a little girl and the second painting is of two women walking in a garden. He then says this is God inspired as he was painting it before the Lord. I was blown away! This was by no means a coincidence. He could have painted anything else. When one allows God to do the work one can truly see the Glory of God! He revealed to me through these paintings my little girl and the young woman she would have been. As heart sore as I felt, I now know she is with God and one day I will see her again.

Thank you Jenny McDermid for a wonderful and powerful process that not only deals with the past but provides tools for the future. Also for the Word of God that gives us hope, faith and love. This is truly life changing.

I can see the restoration of my relationships with others and also with God. It feels like a blockage has been removed.

I have come to know my Saviour, Jesus Christ in a new way. I have experienced, on this journey: His Loving Kindness, Faithfulness, New Mercy and Grace in my life and for my life in the future.

Sincere Gratitude.

Tasneem

Client, Cape Town, RSA

Before I joined the living in color program I was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. This depression started when I was 15 years old and got pregnant by my ex boyfriend I decided to have an abortion and after this I fell into a deep depression and struggled with the decision I made for years. Because my depression returned after 5 years and my second suicide attempt failed I went to South Africa. Some would say it was a coincidence the way I met Sonya but I strongly believe that it was God who led my path to hers. We met and we instantly connected Sonya is such a beautiful soul and guided me through the program with lots of love. Because I was only in South Africa for 6 weeks and only had 4 weeks left when I met her I finished most of the program by doing two chapters a week and worked really hard on my recovery I felt like my abortion was something I put away and never really healed the wound that it left. I did the last 3 chapters when I was back in Holland via skype. Even being on a different continent didn’t hold back my healing process.

 

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The program not only helped me healing the wounds that my abortion left me with, it also helped me heal in other parts of my life. Forgiving people and working through underlying anger that I still had. It taught me how to grieve, it helped me to develop as a person overall. It was a life-changing experience and I really from the bottom of my heart would recommend any woman who is struggling with the same. I know all of our stories are different but the one thing we have in common is the loss of our children. No matter what the circumstances were, the bond between mother and child is something so strong that you cannot deny it. We have to work hard, step-by-step and the living in color program is perfect to help you work through it. It has guided me and taught me so much. It was a true blessing and has changed my life forever.
Sameera

Client, Holland

Let’s  Get In TOUCH

Your journey to post-abortion recovery and healing can start now by asking for help. Send us a confidential inquiry message and we will follow-up within 24 hours.

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