Grieving After Abortion: Tips for Navigating Complicated Feelings
Abortion is not an easy topic to talk about. But people get abortions for different reasons. Sometimes, of course, it’s because you’re just not ready to have a child at this point in your life. Other times, you may have wanted the child, but for health-related reasons, you’ve had to terminate the pregnancy. Whatever your reason, you might find yourself experiencing grief afterwards.
Not everyone who gets an abortion feels grief, and that’s okay. Abortions and our reactions to them can be complex. Grieving is okay, but not grieving is too. What’s important, if you do experience grief after your abortion, is to know how to cope with it. Likewise, you can have a lot of complicated feelings about your abortion, and it’s important to know how to deal with those too.
Feel Your Grief
In order to deal with your grief, you have to do more than just admit it’s there. True, recognising your grief is a good first step, but this journey is going to need you to take a few more. Set aside a day you can dedicate to grieving and let yourself feel all of it.
It can be difficult to believe your grief is valid when you’ve had an abortion, but it is valid. Avoid judging yourself if you can and let yourself experience every single part of your grief in order to move forward.
Recognize Your Emotions
In addition to grief, you’re likely feeling a lot of complicated emotions. The first step is to sit down and identify exactly what it is you’re feeling. Maybe it’s guilt. Maybe it’s relief. Maybe what you’re feeling is shame or regret. Or maybe you’re not feeling any of these at all.
Whatever it is that you feel, let yourself experience the emotions. Just like with grief, in order to deal with our complicated emotions, we have to accept how we feel without judgement and let ourselves experience all of it. In order to do that, you have to know what emotions you’re feeling exactly. Everything else comes later.
Take It Easy
You might be tempted to bury yourself in work and activities to avoid thinking about your grief, but exhausting yourself daily will be more harmful in the long run. You just went through something incredibly difficult, and you deserve to give yourself a break. Reminders of your grief or your complicated emotions will come more often than you expect, especially as your body returns to a non-pregnant state.
Whatever you do, make sure to be kind to yourself. Don’t overbook yourself. Take it easy. Surround yourself with things or activities that make you feel comfortable. Dealing with complex emotions, grief included, is difficult and takes time. It also takes time to recover from an abortion. Be kind to yourself as you do so.
While it can be difficult to know who to talk to about your abortion, it’s important to find support. You can ask your friends and family to be there for you and to help you out whenever you need. There’s nothing wrong with accepting other people’s help when times are tough. If anything, it only strengthens those connections, while also easing the huge burden you carry.
If you can find people who’ve gone through what you have, it would be even better. There’s nothing quite like being able to talk about things with someone who truly understands what it’s like.
And, of course, don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need to. Grief on its own is difficult, and disenfranchised grief like the one that surrounds abortion is even more so. Don’t suffer alone and in silence. Schedule an appointment and we’ll make sure you get through this difficult period. You will recover from this. It will take a little time and effort, but you will, and you won’t have to do it alone. We’ll be here to support you.
To learn more about how Mindful Reflections can help, check out our Pregnancy Loss Counseling page.
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