“Signposts” Are Normal Reactions to Abnormal Circumstances

Sometimes we face experiences that are too difficult and powerful to handle the way we manage the regular stresses of life. I’m thinking of things like natural disasters, sexual abuse, or military combat. After experiencing an unusually difficult event—including abortion— people need new, stronger coping mechanisms.

The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA) notes that “traumatic stress reactions are normal reactions to abnormal circumstances.”* Some of the signposts we have been writing about are these kinds of stress reactions—perfectly normal responses to unusual stressors.

The SMAHA manual explains, “Coping styles vary from action oriented to reflective and from emotionally expressive to reticent.”* The signpost of Proving It is an example of an action oriented coping style.

What is a healthy coping style? Many coping styles can be healthy! The style is less important that how successfully it helps you maintain healthy relationships, continue daily activities, and keep your emotional balance.*

To paraphrase an old adage, coping mechanisms are a good servant but a bad master. For Susan, pouring herself into her career may be a healthy way to distract herself from emotional pain until some time has passed and the edge wears off. If Kristen feels compelled to focus on schoolwork to the point that she loses important relationships, her coping mechanism may be controlling her instead of helping.

Some coping mechanisms are never healthy, such as self-injury or drug or alcohol use.

Read more about the signposts that may show where healing is needed:

Escaping through Drugs or Alcohol 

Sense of Loss

Proving It



Physical Tension

Unhappy Anniversaries

Inner Anguish

Inescapable Memories

The compassionate staff at Restore After Abortion are experienced in the many ways that women respond to terminating a pregnancy. If the stress of coping with the abortion is interfering with the life you want for yourself, please contact us about a free consultation.

*All quotes from