Many women struggle mentally and emotionally after having an abortion, but few talk about it. Most assume that others in their circle will not understand.
But if you have had an abortion, it is important to let yourself walk through the emotions you are wrestling with. It is important to process it with others who can help you see that you are not alone. There is hope for healing after an abortion.
Is It Common to Have Mental Health Effects From Abortion?
Almost thirty years ago, the Journal of Social Issues dedicated an entire issue filled with contributions about the psychological effects of induced abortion. In conclusion of the issue Editor Dr. Gregory Wilmoth said, “There is now virtually no disagreement among researchers that some women experience negative psychological reactions postabortion.”
The National Library of Medicine published research in 2018 that concluded, “both sides agree that (a) abortion is consistently associated with elevated rates of mental illness compared to women without a history of abortion; (b) the abortion experience directly contributes to mental health problems for at least some women.”
Some women are more predisposed to having mental health problems after an abortion due to pressure from people in their circle, pre-existing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, or moral ethics that oppose abortion.
Why Do Women Struggle Mentally After an Abortion?
There are a couple of root causes of mental and emotional disturbances after abortion. Those include:
- Women think their lives will go back to the way things were before their abortion, but it never really does.
Many women who get an abortion think they are just going to have the procedure and be done with their unwanted pregnancy forever. They feel like abortion will solve their problem, and life will return to how it was before.
But abortion doesn’t un-do the pregnancy. You can’t go back. There will be lingering effects from this event both physically and emotionally– sometimes for the rest of your life.
The realization that the abortion didn’t really end their situation as they thought it would often creates mental and emotional instability for women.
- Women feel they don’t have the right to grieve for something they chose.
Many women do not allow themselves to properly grieve their abortion because it feels like it was their choice. This leads to stuffed down and unprocessed feelings that manifest in things like nightmares, addictions, and depression.
Common Signs of Mental Stress After an Abortion include:
- Self-harming behaviors like eating disorders or cutting. (You may be punishing yourself subconsciously as a result of unprocessed guilt or shame.)
- Knots in your stomach from lingering guilt you feel for violating your moral code
- Nightmares about the abortion and what you experienced
- Difficulty sleeping
- Depression that leads to outbursts of crying, the inability to enjoy anything, and even suicidal thoughts
- Apathy and numbness toward everything
- Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again
- Difficulty bonding with your other children
- Feeling uncomfortable around babies and pregnant women
What Can You Do?
If you have experienced an abortion, you need a healthy and safe place to process it. You are not the only woman to experience mental health effects after an abortion, and you may find healing in talking it out with someone who understands what you are going through.
Here at Pathways PRC we would love to be your listening ear. We have helped many women find hope and healing after an abortion, and we are here for you too.
Please do not choose to walk this journey alone. Schedule a free consultation with us today!