Healthy Coping After An Abortion
Produced by Abortion Conversation Project
Many women wonder how they will feel emotionally after an abortion. Some women are already having a difficult time deciding what to do or are experiencing intense feelings about abortion. Others have had previous problems coping with stress and are not sure how they will deal with an abortion. A lot of women have heard stories about other women who had problems afterward and wonder if that will happen to them. Here is some information that will help you cope after an abortion.
What’s going on in your life?
If you are having strong feelings about the situation you are in, those feelings may not automatically go away after the abortion. Most women will feel relief that they are no longer pregnant. But, other issues like disagreements with your partner or a parent, feelings of sadness, anger, guilt or shame, strong religious feelings against abortion, or prior depression or anxiety problems, will likely continue after the abortion. You will want to look at the entire situation including ongoing problems, difficulty dealing with stress, and your religious or spiritual beliefs. An unexpected pregnancy-- and deciding whether to continue a pregnancy-- is a crisis which can reveal a lot about your life, your hopes and dreams, your relationships, and your beliefs. The best thing to do is use what you have learned throughout this whole experience to make your life better.
Who can you talk to?
Support is the most important factor in helping you get through this experience. Support from others means that they will listen to you without judging and they will remind you that you are a good person making the best decision for your life. Hopefully you feel comfortable telling your support people how you feel, what you are worried about, and what kind of help they can give you. If you do not have people you feel comfortable talking to, ask your local clinic about counselors or clergy in your community, or call one of the talklines listed below.
Was it a hard decision for you?
Although others will be affected by a choice about pregnancy, the decision should be more about what you want and what you feel is right for your life. Certainly if a partner or a parent has strong feelings about this decision, that will have a big effect on you. But, if you let someone else make the decision, or you feel pushed into a decision, you are more likely to have a hard time later, regardless of what you choose to do. In addition, some women have a difficult time making up their minds, even about little things, and others feel they always need to be “perfect.” If it is hard to accept that birth control can fail or that everyone makes mistakes from time to time, extra help may be needed to cope after a decision to end a pregnancy.