Pregnancy loss is an experience involving grief and pain. Such a loss, whatever the cause, whether it be a miscarriage or an abortion, is an ordeal that should not be ignored or denied.

Birth Choice provides peer counseling and resources to help with recovery. Many post-abortive experiences have been described to have “symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD [1].” Please set up an appointment with one of our peer counselors.

Are You Hurting?

After an abortion, some women have said they initially felt relief, while others report negative feelings and emotions that don’t go away. Pregnancy loss can be an experience involving grief and pain. Some women actually report problems related to their abortions months or even years later. For these women, abortion is an ordeal that should not be ignored or denied.

Scientific evidence indicates that abortion is more likely to be associated with negative psychological outcomes when compared to miscarriage or carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term. [1] Evidence shows an increased risk for:

  • Guilt
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as eating disorders, alcohol and/or substance abuse, abusive relationships, promiscuity [2]
  • Re-experiencing events related to the abortion; memories or nightmares
  • Clinical depression and anxiety [3]
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors [4]
  • Symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder [5]
  • Psychological numbing
  • Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again
  • Trouble bonding and maintaining relationships
  • Anniversary reactions
  • Couples can experience problems in their relationships [6]
  • Spiritual consequences depending on your beliefs

 

If you or someone you know are in emotional or spiritual pain after an abortion, there are resources and options available to help you heal. You are not alone. According to the Guttmacher Institute in their 2016 release: nearly half of pregnancies among American women in 2011 were unintended, and about four in 10 of these were terminated by abortion, but many never talk about it.

You may have experienced an abortion years ago and never told anyone, or experienced one recently. You may have been denied the choice you wanted or not given the support you needed. Regardless of the circumstances, Birth Choice is available to help you on your journey to healing.

The Path to Peace

  • Remember the pain in a safe and supportive environment where you can talk about your experience with someone who has walked in your shoes
  • Identify and release anger for those who contributed to your decision, your circumstances and yourself
  • Grieve the loss of your child
  • Accept, receive and offer forgiveness

 

Miscarriage

If you have experienced a miscarriage, these resources may help you during this difficult time

Birth Choice provides compassionate, confidential peer counseling from women who have dealt with these same feelings. Please call to set up an appointment. Services are absolutely free. We can help!

1.1  Curley, M., Johnston, C. (2013). The characteristics and severity of psychological distress after abortion among university students. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, doi: 10:1007/s11414-013-9328-0.

1.2  Coleman, P.K., Coyle, C., Rue, V. (2010). Late-term elective abortion and susceptibility to posttraumatic stress symptoms. Journal of Pregnancy, Retrieved fromhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/130519. Accessed February 1, 2014.

1.3  Thorp, J.M., Hartmann, K.E., Shadigan, E. Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: Review of the evidence. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003;58(1):67-69.

1.4  Rue, V.M., et al. Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women. Med Sci Monit. 2004;10:5-16.

1] Coleman, P.K.(2011). Abortion and mental health: Quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 199, 180-86. Doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230.

[2] Thorp, J.M., Hartmann, K.E., Shadigian, E. Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: Review of the evidence. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003;58(1):67-79.

[3] Fergusson, D.M., et al. Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006;47(1):16-24.

[4] Coleman, P.K., Reardon, D., Rue, V. Prior history of induced abortion in relation to substance use during subsequent pregnancies carried to term. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2002;187:1673-78.

[5] Coleman, P.K., et al. Substance use among pregnant women in the context of previous reproductive loss and desire for current pregnancy. Br J Health Psychol. 2005;10:255-68.

[6] Coleman, P.K. Resolution of unwanted pregnancy during adolescence through abortion versus childbirth: Individual and family predictors and psychological consequences. J Youth Adolesc. 2006;35:903-11.    

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