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.
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.