Emotional reactions after an abortion can range from relief and
new hope to regret or grief. Many women feel a mix of emotions. These feelings are
all associated with life choices, in general, and are completely normal. Give yourself
permission to feel whatever you are feeling. The change in hormones after a pregnancy
ends may also cause some emotional changes, and these tend to be similar whether the
pregnancy ends after abortion, miscarriage or delivery. The overwhelming majority of
women ultimately have primarily positive feelings and are satisfied with their decision
after having an abortion.
The most important indicator of whether someone will have negative
feelings after their abortion is their feelings before the abortion. Women who are
confident that they are making the best choice for themselves and have the support of
their loved ones usually have the least negative feelings after an abortion. You will
have a counseling session at your appointment which will give you the opportunity to
discuss anything you wish. Your support person can be involved in this counseling session,
as well. We encourage you to talk about how you are feeling at both your procedure
appointment and your follow-up and will attempt to assist with whatever advice or referrals
Many different types of feelings are normal following an abortion,
but if negative feelings are interfering with daily life and causing distress, it is
important to seek help from a caring professional. Many times, distress following abortion
is caused by a combination of events in your life (relationship changes, financial concerns,
and other stressors) that may have been brought into focus at the time of your abortion. A
psychologist or professional counseling service can assist you in working through grief
or depression if you are overwhelmed by negative feelings. Any qualified and sympathetic
psychologist or counselor can provide assistance with the types of emotions you are experiencing,
so it is not necessary to seek out counseling targeted at women who have had an abortion.
Many of the programs that advertise "after-abortion counseling" are anti-choice organizations
that do not provide unbiased assistance.
There are also many books, specifically about abortion from a
pro-choice perspective, which may be helpful if you are experiencing feelings of grief.
Look around for which ones you find comforting and make sense to you. You can also find
online some websites and other resources where women publish their experiences with abortion.
It may be comforting to read other women's thoughts, or to post your own. Some good resources
include I'm Not Sorry.net
and the Feminist Women's Health Center. Getting involved with local
feminist and pro-choice organizations may also help you to connect with other women who have
had abortions or are sympathetic and supportive.