Emotional and Psychological Impact
Following abortion, many women experience relief. The crisis of pregnancy is over and life returns to normal. Though the crisis is over, some women begin to experience negative emotions about their abortion months and even years later. If you are feeling any of these emotions, you’re not alone. Your situation is not hopeless. We are here to help you.
People who have experienced abortion may develop any one or a combination of the following symptoms: depression, guilt, shame, regret, and grief.
Depression can be characterized by the following symptoms:
- crying frequently
- sleeping or eating too much or too little
- suicidal ideation
- losing interest in enjoyable activities
- performing poorly at work or school
- not caring about personal appearance and hygiene
- excessive guilt or anger
- feeling worthless
Guilt can be characterized by the following symptoms:
- fearing God’s punishment
- interpreting any misfortune, illness, or accident as signs of God’s punishment
- having nightmares about killing or saving babies
- engaging in self-punishing behaviors such as substance abuse
- indiscriminate sex, and relationships with abusive partners
- blocking out the experience
- avoiding anything that triggers memories of the event
Shame can characterized by the following symptoms:
- relentless thoughts of being a bad person
- engaging in self-destructive behaviors
- inordinate fear of anyone finding out about the abortion
Regret can be characterized as believing a different decision would have resulted in a more desirable outcome and dwelling only on negative consequences attributed to the abortion decision.
Unresolved grief can be characterized as engaging in thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate a strong emotional investment in the pregnancy or that prevent the redirection of emotional energy into moving forward with life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, our pregnancy center offers confidential, compassionate support designed to help people work through these feelings. You are not alone.
If you wish to begin the healing process from a past abortion or abortions, feel free to contact us. We have resources available to help you! Seeking help may be one of the toughest decisions you’ll ever make, but it may also be one of the best. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Call today to talk with us about issues from a past abortion.
This information is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional counseling and/or medical advice.
Maureen Paul et al., The Clinician’s Guide to Medical and Surgical Abortion (Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone, 1999), 28.