Post Abortion Stress
Although an abortion is meant to relieve stress, it often creates a whole new source of stress for women. The regret many women experience after an abortion doesn’t necessarily resolve with time, and for some it can be very long-lasting. Women ranging from their teens to 80+ have reported experiencing distress for years that they later attributed to abortion. It can affect all areas of a woman’s life, from her relationships to her own self-worth. Women who have gone through our healing groups report feeling a lightness and freedom from a burden they didn’t even realize they had been carrying.
How do I know if I need help?
Women who have undergone an abortion experience a significant increase in emotional or mental health problems. You can take this self-assessment to help you decide if you’d like to come in and talk to someone at Clearway.
(0-not at all true, 5-moderately true, 10-absolutely true)
- I feel guilt when I think about my abortion(s).
- I have periods of explosive anger that seem to come from nowhere.
- I have periods of panic or anxiety that I can’t explain.
- I don’t talk about my abortion(s).
- It’s important to me that my abortion(s) remains a secret.
- I experience prolonged sadness or depression that I suspect might be related to my abortion(s).
- I experience loneliness that I suspect may be related to my abortion(s).
- I worry that I won’t be able to get pregnant because I had an abortion(s).
- I worry that something will be wrong with my future children because I had an abortion(s).
- I try to be a “perfect mother” to my living children.
- I don’t think I’m a good mother to my living children.
- I have fears that something bad will happen to my living children because I had an abortion(s).
- I’ve had trouble feeling emotionally close to others since the abortion(s).
- I often feel emotionally numb.
- I feel that in some ways I’m less of a woman or I don’t fit in with women.
- I feel inferior to other women.
- I feel like I’ll never be able to forgive myself because of the abortion(s).
- I worry that God will punish me because of the abortion(s).
- I feel shame related to the abortion(s).
- I try to avoid babies or pregnant women because they remind me of the abortion(s).
- I feel compelled to work in the pro-life movement to make up for my abortion(s.)
- I worry about what people would think of me if they knew about my abortion(s).
- I feel helpless to escape the sadness around my abortion(s).
- I sometimes have flashbacks or nightmares connected to my abortion(s).
- I have dreams about the aborted child.
- My relationship with the father connected to the abortion(s) is full of conflict.
- I have abused alcohol/drugs and suspect a connection to my abortion(s).
- I feel that I don’t deserve good things.
- I hold on to things I no longer need and can’t seem to let them go.
- I try to hurt/punish myself and have thought about suicide.
How do you know if you need help?
Call today 508-438-0144 to schedule an appointment online or in our Worcester or Springfield locations.
“I was loved throughout the program. I was able to voice my experience without judgement. I had gotten very depressed and unable to find forgiveness for myself. I am forgiven and I will see my child someday: I am sure of this.” – Lisa
Other women have described their feelings after an abortion:
“I feel like less of a woman.”
Abortion may further damage a woman’s sexuality, her femininity, her very identity and sense of self as a woman. One woman described this saying that although her outward appearance hasn’t changed after abortion, her inner sense of herself as a woman was shattered.
“I went on to have other children after my abortion(s), but I never really felt like a mother.”
Most mothers’ images of themselves as mothers are damaged by abortion and some don’t bond well with their living children. Some mothers withdraw from their families and don’t mother at all. Others bond with their children in unhealthy ways, becoming controlling and overprotective.
“I had an abortion less than a year ago and now I’m pregnant again.”
Many mothers feel such emptiness after an abortion that they try to replace their aborted child with a new baby. Then her feelings toward the new baby become confused with her feelings about her aborted child. Some women even mistakenly believe that the spirit of the dead child was in the new baby. Still in distress, some women keep trying to fill the emptiness abortion leaves with more new babies. But with each new baby, the emptiness remains.
“I don’t understand why I’m so angry.”
When a woman has an abortion in answer to a crisis pregnancy, her first emotion might be relief. But relief fades leaving other negative emotions like regret, sadness, depression and grief. Often women will cover those emotions with anger because it is easier to feel anger. That anger may explode outwardly or it may be turned inwardly against herself. Either way it is destructive, because she isn’t dealing with the powerful feelings underneath the anger. Those going through healing groups at Clearway have a session in which they identify where their anger is really coming from.
"I wonder if I’m going to be punished."
Many women fear that they might not be able to get pregnant after an abortion. Or, they fear that if they are pregnant, something will be wrong with their baby. These fears can be crippling and can lead to ongoing depression and anxiety if they are suppressed and kept secret.