Having an abortion could lead you to experience different emotions, including grief and depression. This is natural, and healing is possible.
Feeling and expressing grief is a natural response to any perceived loss.
For some people, the hormonal changes that occur after an abortion can cause emotional upheaval. This may lead to temporary feelings of sadness, irritability, and low mood.
The particular circumstances of your decision may also impact how you feel before and after an abortion. This is why everyone’s experience is different — though all reactions are equally valid.
Signs you’re grieving may include:
- unexpected changes in your mood that may go from feeling relief to intense sadness, for example
- feeling detached from the situation or from others
- irritability and occasional bouts of anger
- preoccupation with the events that led up to the abortion
- persistent sadness and low mood
- wondering what could’ve happened if you didn’t go through the experience
Guilt and anger after abortion
Over the years, I’ve noticed that a large proportion of women who come for therapy have terminated a pregnancy. As they begin to talk about the abortion, they become very emotional and express feelings of great sorrow and confusion.
If you’ve told your abortion story, built a support system, explored your emotions, identified and begun grieving your losses, and recognised any unhealthy behaviours, then you’ve made significant progress! If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to make another decision – to let go of the pain. Surprisingly, this isn’t as easy as it sounds…
Sometimes we get used to the pain, sometimes we hang onto the pain so we don’t forget the loss, and sometimes we’re afraid to move on. Letting go of the pain will mean very different things to different people.
Letting go may mean letting go of broken relationships that can’t be mended. Letting go may mean letting go of some of the dreams for your life. Letting go may mean letting go of the child who perished.
Your loss is no less real once you decide to let go of the pain. On the contrary, the loss takes its place as a part of your unique history—no longer hidden or suppressed, but integrated into your past and contributing to who you are now and will continue to be in the future.
This can often mean being a person who has a special understanding of and compassion for others who’ve experienced abortion and other similar loss(es) you have.
You may want to write in your journal about your decision to let go of the pain, or you may want to memorialise your decision in some other way. This doesn’t signify that healing is concluded, it simply signifies your willingness to complete the journey. Journaling will continue to be an important tool, and your support system will continue to aid you greatly. You may also need to simultaneously work on any unhealthy behaviours.
Note: Healing doesn’t mean you have it all together. It means you’re taking purposeful steps to go through a process. Since loss can sometimes take on different meanings over time, in the future you may experience other emotions regarding the abortion; however, when that happens, you’ll have many resources to draw upon to help you deal with those emotions. You’ll also have the skills to process them and integrate them into your life. You won’t need to fear them, avoid them, or repress them; you’ll be able to embrace them and keep moving forward.
Here are some useful videos on dealing with Abortion: