The holidays can be a very difficult time of the year for many people. Tense family relationships, anniversaries of lost loved ones, financial concerns, or a multitude of other reasons may be surfacing this time of the year. If you or someone you know has recently had an abortion and is struggling emotionally, it could be a result of after-abortion stress or PAS. PAS symptoms can be triggered during and around the holidays, so knowing the signs and symptoms is essential to get the support you need. Read on to learn more about after-abortion stress or PAS.
What is After-Abortion Stress?
After-abortion stress is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. It is defined as the stress reaction experienced by women after having an abortion. Many factors contribute to how a woman may be affected, such as the situation surrounding the abortion, lack of support, and moral or religious beliefs, to name a few. For women who experience this, it can feel lonely and scary. In addition, there are some qualifications for PAS which also apply to PTSD. These experiences can be challenging, especially during the holiday season.
You may be suffering from PAS if you are experiencing any of the following:
-Mood changes, including anger, sadness, grief, or numbness
-Depression or Suicidal thoughts
-Guilt, regret, or denial of the abortion
-Nightmares or trouble sleeping
-Avoidance of anything having to do with babies or pregnancy
-Fear of future pregnancies.
If you have experienced an abortion, the holidays can be a tough time. There is a big emphasis on family during this season, which might make you feel sad and bereaved, especially if you have feelings of regret. There might also be some difficulty seeing children that are around the same age as yours would have been. In addition to these concerns, you can experience nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and overreaction to things that wouldn’t normally upset you. If you had an abortion during the holiday season, these feelings could be exacerbated.
PAS can be triggered because of physical aspects as well. These include things like bleeding, pain, or reminders of the abortion experience. While physical triggers might not always happen specifically during the holidays, circumstances may make you think of what happened during your abortion. Just like emotional triggers, physical ones can make you feel lonely and vulnerable. It can be challenging to know how to adjust or get through the feelings you may have, but there is support for you during the holidays and beyond.
Support for PAS During The Holidays
If you feel overwhelmed with guilt or regret, find yourself avoiding places or memories associated with your abortion, or are showing any other signs of after-abortion stress, there is help for you.
At Clearway Clinic we have been helping women for over 20 years who are struggling with abortion decisions from their past. We have group sessions, one on one sessions or can refer you to other opportunities for healing. We know that PAS can be painful to navigate at any time of the year, but the holidays can be especially difficult. Please do not wait to seek help. Contact us to schedule a free, confidential appointment with one of our after-abortion advocates today.