When You Feel Emotionally Numb After a Hard Abortion Experience

People respond to abortions in so many different ways.  Maybe you expected your mood to remain relatively normal after taking this step.  Perhaps you anticipated feeling sad or upset.  But what if, instead, you’re going through a period of emotional detachment after a difficult abortion experience?

An individual’s reaction to an abortion is bound to involve many unique factors.  These may include the values, beliefs, hopes, and personality traits of the person who’s had the procedure, the circumstances behind the unexpected pregnancy, the responses of loved ones, and many other components.  Emotional numbness tends to occur shortly after an emotionally hard event like an abortion, but it can linger long-term.  It’s one of many symptoms of post-abortion stress that’s common among people who’ve been through an experience like yours.

Feeling emotionally numb doesn’t sound so bad at face value.  It may seem preferable to feeling down.  It may even sound like a relief.  That isn’t most people’s experience, though.  Emotional numbness can become very generalized and begin to affect other areas of your life where you want to be emotionally engaged.  It may cause you to feel disconnected from your relationships, and unenthused about activities that you would usually find positive or fulfilling.  According to Verywell Mind, emotional numbness can be a defense mechanism that’s triggered by stress and emotional pain.  If you’re feeling numb after a difficult abortion, it’s possible that you are having a strong emotional response- so much so that your mind is protecting itself from overwhelming feelings by trying to suppress them.

If you’re coping with emotional numbness that isn’t going away on its own, it’s important to acknowledge this and find support.  Consider contacting a doctor or mental health professional.  You can also reach out to Restore, a no-cost, confidential program that’s designed to help women and men recover from emotionally painful abortion experiences.  We offer opportunities to engage in structured studies virtually or in-person, within a support group or one-on-one.  Our leaders are available to come alongside you as you process what you’ve been through in a healthy new way, and work towards healing.  We’re a safe space to begin that journey.

Reach out to Restore today!  We’ve been providing free support for 20+ years, and we’d love to partner with you on your own path towards healing.

*Restore’s program leaders are extremely knowledgeable and highly trained to work with individuals who have had abortion experiences like yours.  Although Restore does not provide professional counseling, we can provide referrals to professional counselors in the Chicagoland area.


Verywell Mind.  (2024, April).  What Is Emotional Numbness?  Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/emotional-numbing-symptoms-2797372