After Abortion: How Can A Support Group Help?

After Abortion: How Can A Support Group Help?

While everyone’s experience is different, dealing with mental health issues after an abortion is common for many women. These life-changing issues are a valid concern when considering your options during an unexpected pregnancy. Read on to learn about some of the mental health changes that can be common after undergoing an abortion and why many women have found support groups to be helpful when coping with feelings of grief, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from an abortion.

What Are Some Common Emotions to Experience in the Wake of an Abortion?

The strength and variety of possible emotions women experience after having an abortion can range widely. While some women may report feelings of relief, many others indicate they feel guilt, grief, depression, or shame. In some cases, especially if the actual medical procedure was difficult or damaging, women may develop PTSD and have periodic flashbacks to this traumatic experience.

Because abortion still carries a tremendous social stigma, women who have undergone an abortion may also experience isolation. This is especially common among members of religious groups that tend to strictly prohibit abortion; without the ability to turn to friends and loved ones for support, women may fall into depression and feel they’re unable to share their emotions with anyone around them.

Unfortunately, these mental health conditions can only become worse over time without treatment. Mild cases of grief or guilt may not have a lifetime impact, but depression, anxiety, or PTSD can impact future relationships, career decisions, and other big life choices.

How Can Support Groups Help You Cope?

For women dealing with strong negative emotions after an abortion, or even simply experiencing unresolved feelings, attending an in-person support group or seeking support in an online community can be helpful. These support groups allow women to share their emotions with others who have gone through similar experiences, all without the fear of judgment or attack, receiving support and empathy in the process.

But for many women who are still reeling from their abortion, even taking the first step of reaching out to find a support group can be a challenge. Some may be afraid to be vulnerable about their experience in front of others, while others may assume that a post-abortion support group will be too similar to a twelve-step program.

However, abortion support groups can function much differently from the support groups seen on television or in the movies. By focusing on the individual and their unique experience, these groups can empower women to reclaim their sense of self, often for the first time in a long time.

Whether you’re dealing with unresolved feelings after an abortion or you’re facing an unexpected pregnancy and aren’t sure where to turn for help, contact Avail NYC at (212) 689-1705 or visit our website today. Our discreet, compassionate client advocates can provide referrals for support groups and more. And for women who suspect they’re pregnant, Avail offers free, self-administered lab-quality pregnancy test kits, referrals for ultrasounds through a third-party provider, and can connect you with other important resources to assist you during this time.

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Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider. 

Healthy Relationship Boundaries

Healthy Relationship Boundaries

It can be tough to set boundaries with those you love, especially if you were raised in an environment where your parents, teachers, or other trusted adults didn’t always exercise good judgment in setting their own boundaries.

Setting and enforcing your limits can be the key to generating healthy relationships, and in many cases can even prevent you from becoming entangled in an emotionally abusive relationship. Read on to learn more about how setting social, emotional, and physical boundaries can improve the quality of your personal relationships.

Social Boundaries

In today’s tech-heavy world, “social boundaries” has, in many ways, come to mean “social media boundaries.” While social media can allow you to connect and chat with friends and loved ones across the globe, it can have a destructive side as well.

You may want to devote some introspection to how much of your life (and emotions) you would like to publish online. Making your life an open book can provide you with regular support and feedback from your followers, but can also put your choices up for public scrutiny and comment. If you find yourself unable to make even a simple decision (like what to have for dinner) without consulting your followers, it may be time to step back from social media for a while and renew your confidence in your own decision-making abilities.

It’s also a good idea to periodically review your social media privacy settings and your list of friends or followers to ensure that any updates you do post are going to a group who will support you, not tear you down or gossip behind your back.

Emotional Boundaries

Alone time is important — even for extroverts who gain emotional energy from being in the company of others. You shouldn’t feel pressured into spending all your time with someone, whether they are a romantic partner, friend, or specific family member.

Setting emotional boundaries might also mean committing yourself to some uncomfortable conversations. Confronting someone who has hurt you can be awkward, and it may be tempting to just let an unpleasant incident slide to avoid the prospect of further drama. But allowing these violations to go unchecked can make it easier for them to recur.

Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries can be among the toughest boundaries to set. Social pressures and childhood conditioning have led many adults to doubt their own wishes and desires.

Reclaiming these boundaries as an adult can be one of the best things you can do for your mental health. You do not have to engage in any undesired physical affection or contact if you don’t want to, inside or outside of a relationship. By that same token, it’s important to respect others’ physical boundaries by maintaining open communication.

If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, contact Avail NYC today to receive a free self-administered pregnancy test, or to talk to one of our volunteer client advocates today in a supportive and confidential environment.

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Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.