Post – Abortion Recovery and Healing
Abortion. It’s a controversial word. A controversial act. A legal debacle. It’s debated and discussed as much as gun rights.
Ending it is the literal heartbeat of human rights movements across the nation. While keeping it legal, the outcome of Roe versus Wade in 1973, is the focus of just as many liberal rights groups among the nation.
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy – the ending of a life, or as some would argue, removing a “cluster of cells” before it becomes a viable life. The reasons for abortion are equally as debated and discussed. But it always comes down to an unwanted pregnancy – becoming pregnant at an inconvenient time; perhaps to a single woman, perhaps to an older couple that can’t afford another child, perhaps to someone that has no support system and feels pressure to abort, or maybe the pregnancy is the outcome of violent rape.
Many are quick to focus on the turn of events that occur prior to the abortion, and to the abortion itself, but don’t discuss and debate what happens after the abortion. No matter your philosophical, religious, or political views on abortion, the fact of the matter is, the actual experience can affect women not only on a personal level, but can potentially have psychological repercussions. Some may be able to carry on with life, burying the negative emotions, only to find that years or even decades later, the unresolved negative emotions re-emerge.
Studies show that women are suffering after an abortion – and it’s not just young single women, it’s married women, ages 20-60, well-educated, within a range of all income levels. Abortion and post-abortion suffering does not discriminate.
As a society, instead of being judgmental, without knowing situations that you’ve never been in, walking in shoes that don’t fit, the only thing – the right thing to do is to support and love women that are suffering from Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Qualitative studies show that 67.5% of women that have had an abortion visited a mental health professional, and 51% used prescription drugs for psychological health, after their abortion. Women themselves are often surprised to find that abortion can be a traumatic experience. And generally, they aren’t encouraged to share their responses to the abortion, too often becoming a secret that the woman is left alone with. The grief a woman may experience after abortion is seldom recognized and is often repressed or denied. Post-Abortion Syndrome occurs when the grieving process is not completed. Our society is just now beginning to recognize the need to grieve for a miscarriage, but because abortion is considered a voluntary act, a women’s grief after an abortion is not understood or supported.
A lot of women feel hopeless about ever resolving the pain connected with their abortion. They feel shame and guilt and are too intimidated to talk to anyone for fear of judgment. Such pressure is unfair to post-abortive women, who have just undergone a significant and sometimes traumatic surgical procedure, often at a time of great upheaval in their lives.
Healing is possible. If you or someone you know is suffering from Post-Abortion Syndrome, you don’t have to suffer in silence any longer. You don’t have to figure it all out alone. The first step in beginning the journey is to seek healing. Peel away the callus formed by months or years of denying and repressing the painful emotions connected with your abortion and ask for help. Contact Mosaic Virginia to sign up for our post-abortion healing classes with a compassionate, unbiased peer counselor that can help you come to terms with your decision and find peace again. Mosaic is a safe place where your private life will stay private and no judgement is passed. Call us at 703-729-1123 or text HELPINE to 313131.
Not sure if you or someone you know has PAS? Take the online quiz at: https://www.afterabortion.com/quiz.html
Post-Abortion Stress symptoms:
- Low self-esteem/ Depression
- Grief \Anger
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sense of alienation from family and friends
- Sleep disorders
- Alcohol or drug problems
- Fear of annual exams
- A desire to avoid children or pregnant women
- Anniversary reactions of grief on the date of the abortion or the expected baby’s due date
Post-Abortion help books:
The Four Steps to Healing
C.P.R.: Choice Processing and Resolution
References & Additional Reading:
- Priscilla K. Coleman, Ph. D., qualitative study 2012-2013: http://www.jpands.org/vol22no4/coleman.pdf
- Lifesitenews.com; Trudy M. Johnson, M.A., LMFT
- Psychologytoday.com; Susanne Babbel, Ph. D. M.F.T. Somatic Psychology