Abortion can be a difficult choice for anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Many focus on the physical aspects of the procedure, such as recovery time and understanding how their body might feel afterwards. But what about the emotional side effects that some women (and men) experience? You might feel a wide range of feelings, and addressing your emotional healing after an abortion is just as important as your physical recovery. Everyone responds in different ways, and you are entitled to any and all emotions flowing through you.
Have you, or someone you know, had an abortion and you’re struggling with the emotional side effects? Maybe you’re reading this because your partner had an abortion and you’re having a difficult time coping. Or perhaps you are contemplating an abortion and you’re wondering how to handle what you might feel afterwards. Whatever the reason, know that you are not alone in what you’re experiencing. Avenue Women’s Center offers a safe, nonjudgmental, and compassionate atmosphere to help you and/or your partner. If you are pregnant and considering abortion, contact Avenue right away. If you have experienced an abortion in the past, contact Restore After Abortion, our free post-abortion support program, providing services to Chicagoland men and women for over 10 years.
After an abortion some women and men might struggle with feelings such as regret, guilt, anger, shame, anxiety, or depression. Others may be experience a sense of relief and feel conflicted or shameful as a result. It’s also entirely possible to feel all of these emotions with different intensities at different times. Whatever feelings you experience, give yourself time and patience to move forward. Here are a couple self-care approaches that could help you process through some of the emotions you may be feeling.
Allow the Emotions to Flow
Just as your body needs restorative time to heal, so do your emotions. As you return to your daily life, be patient with each feeling you experience and give yourself the opportunity to process it fully. Life’s hustle and bustle can often cause pressure to push past tough emotions. However, stifling your feelings can lead to unhealthy ways of coping or cause negative emotions to become more severe and deeply rooted over time. With each emotion, allow yourself to notice the sensations taking place in your body and how you’re physically reacting on the outside in response to what you’re feeling within. Your heart might beat faster with anger or anxiety. You might feel tense and drained with feelings of sadness or depression. Try to feel through these challenging moments instead of pushing them aside or ignoring them. With each feeling comes an opportunity to grow as it’s experienced. Even the most difficult emotions can lead to self-growth by looking for the lesson you could apply going forward in your life. Each person will feel different things in their own way at different times after experiencing an abortion.
Finding an Emotional Outlet
Processing your emotions can be examined through a variety of different outlets. Creative expression can be a healthy way to channel and explore what you’re feeling as you emotionally heal. You could write in a private journal or allow your feelings to inspire poems, songs, or stories. Paintings, drawings, coloring books, or photography could be visual emotional expressions. Physical creative outlets could also be helpful in channeling your feelings, such as learning a new dance or song, cooking a new recipe, taking up a new hobby or craft, or trying out calming exercises. Whichever outlet you choose, allow yourself to become immersed and free to express each emotion creatively without self-judgment. Consider your emotional outlet as an opportunity for personal reflection in a healthy and safe space. As you focus your energy on an activity, your mind has the opportunity to flow from feeling to feeling in a calming and soothing way, allowing you to observe the emotion from a mental distance as you examine your reactions to them. An outlet can be beneficial to understanding your thought processes and reactions to challenging thoughts and feelings.
At Avenue Women’s Center, we understand that the emotional effects of an abortion are individual and unique. We hope these tools are helpful, but we also understand that they are not comprehensive. Our post-abortion support program, Restore After Abortion, provides a supportive, structured environment to begin to process through the emotional effects of abortion. If you or your partner have experienced an abortion in the past, please contact us for information on how to begin your journey towards emotional healing. If your challenges include suicidal thoughts, call 911 or reach out to a 24-hour national hotline, such as Lifeline at 800-273-8255, to find support. Emotional healing after an abortion can be a tough journey for women and men to travel. No matter what you might be feeling, there is compassionate support available along your path to recovery.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.