Women Can Experience a Wide Range of Emotions Following an Abortion

uphvyri33-c-sergey-fedivIt is not uncommon for women to experience a wide range of emotions following an abortion.  At first, there may just be one emotion felt: relief. You may feel as if the nightmare is over with and you can finally go on with your life. However,  as time goes on, other feelings tend to emerge.  Their strength and intensity may surprise you. Although you may be able to function in your day-to-day life, you may feel a sadness or pain lingering on.

What can be the common feelings following an abortion?  Women who have experienced abortion often report these feelings:

  • Relief, especially immediately following the procedure
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling isolated, like you are the only one
  • Shame and the need to keep the abortion a secret

And, it is not unusual for those feelings to be accompanied by:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares or flashbacks
  • Self destructive behaviors
  • Avoidance of the topic of abortion or babies
  • Bonding issues with existing children
  • Trust issues with spouse or partner

What can cause triggering of new emotions? Some women experience “triggers” that bring up new emotions or allow previous feelings to resurface. Triggers may include:

  • Subsequent pregnancy
  • Babies, children, or pregnant women
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Clinics, hospitals, doctors offices
  • Mother’s Day or Father’s Day
  • The anniversary of the abortion or the due date

What is grieving like for someone who regrets their abortion? Grieving loss is an important part of emotional healing.  Healthy grieving often follows a process that includes times of denial, being angry, emotional bargaining, feeling depressed and feeling guilty.  Healthy coping involves allowing yourself to feel and process each stage, eventually working through to a place of acceptance.  That may sound easier to achieve than it really is!  As you move forward in your healing, be on guard for signs of unhealthy coping, including:

  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Depression
  • Difficulty in relationships
  • Avoidance of topic of abortion
  • Social withdrawal

In the words of a past Restore client, “I felt as though the abortion was something I could no longer handle on my own. I felt overwhelmed, lost, and completely terrified. Daily functioning became quite difficult as I did not know how to handle the loss and did not have anyone available to me as a support system.”

When to Seek Help:

Seek immediate medical attention or call 911 if you are having thoughts of suicide.  The truth is that there is hope for your situation.  You are important and this is a time when you need help.  Please reach out so that others can provide that help.

Seek professional help if you:

  • are unable to fully perform daily activities such as parenting, housekeeping, work, socializing
  • are engaging in harmful behaviors for coping such as use of drugs, eating disorders, alcohol etc.
  • previously diagnosed with psychiatric problems and are having difficulty coping with this loss

Call Restore.  We are here to offer a safe place for processing the emotional impact of abortion loss.  That is why we’re here, and we would be glad to answer any questions you may have.  Perhaps you’re just wondering if your feelings are normal.  Maybe you can use help planning to get successfully through a relative’s upcoming baby shower.  Perhaps you have identified some places you’re “stuck” and you’re ready to dig in deeper with your healing.  Wherever you are, we are here for you (https://restoreafterabortion.com/post-abortion-care).

In the words of a past Restore client, “The program was exactly what I was yearning for in my life. To be able to pick myself up from a million broken pieces and eventually stand up and walk away from shackles of pain was priceless. I am forever grateful.”