Dealing with Abortion Grief By Taking a Therapeutic Approach
The most common feeling that strikes after having an abortion is the relief; sadly, it’s not always permanent. Granted, everyone’s unique, so feelings do vary from woman to woman. In some cases, a deep sadness and sense of loss sets in immediately following the abortion; some experience the emotion when they first come to the decision to have one. When both emotions (grief/relief) come into play, and they often do, you end up with a troubling cocktail of feelings that can be difficult to deal with.
Part of the healing process problem is the taboo’s that come with abortion, from religious beliefs to the opinions of some of our political leaders, those that don’t believe in a woman’s the freedom of choice. Even though abortion is legal in the United States and has been for years, the stigma attached to it hasn’t decreased very much, making some women who’ve had an abortion feel secretly tainted or marked, as if the act itself has blemished their character and that others would be disgusted if they knew about the abortion.
It’s important that women have a safe place to share their feelings about an abortion loss, away from religious and/or political debate. If you are in emotional or even spiritual pain following an abortion, there are several options and resources available that will help you along your journey to renewed psychological as well as spiritual well being.
Find a safe, nurturing place to talk, to cry and to share your feelings. There are people to talk to who will not only support whatever decision you make/have made regarding abortion and that will be there to listen and understand, not to judge. These people can be trusted friends and family members or compassionate, professional therapists who understand abortion grief and provide a safe, non-judgmental place to grieve and heal.
If you don’t have anyone in your life that you feel safe talking to about your abortion, then consider seeing a therapist or counselor, professionals that are trained to listen, and have helped others who have struggled with issues of guilt, grief, depression and low self-esteem. Talking to a therapist can actually prove to be more helpful than talking to someone you know.
The Therapeutic Approach
First and foremost, you’ll want to find an empathic and compassionate therapist or counselor you feel comfortable with. It’s important to feel that this professional cares about and respects you. The program and the individuals involved with it should be nonjudgmental, respectful, and knowledgeable. If, after 2 or 3 sessions, you don’t feel good about your therapist, you should look for someone else via online referrals or from the medical clinic where you had the abortion.
If you’re not certain whether a 1 on 1 approach or a group setting would be the best choice for you, consider trying both. You could start with a private consultation at first, get used to sharing your feelings and then try a group setting. The nice thing about group counseling is that it can be empowering to really see that you’re not alone, that other people are in the same emotional place you are.
Whether you seek the help of a therapist or a close friend you feel safe sharing with, it’s important that you realize that you aren’t alone and you don’t need to isolate yourself as you recover.