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Life after abortion

Emotional Consequences Of Abortion For A Woman

Different women experience the termination of pregnancy differently. Often, you can hear women saying that, right after an abortion, they feel relieved. But this relief is, usually, only an initial, superficial reaction to abortion. Later, women go through many difficult emotions, which are related to the abortion.

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Women after abortion may experience:

•    guilt (for killing their baby; if something bad happens, a woman thinks that she “deserved” it);
•    anger (towards other people who have pressured her to have an abortion – husband, parents, friends, doctor who performed the abortion, self);
•    shame because of what they did;
•    insomnia and nightmares;
•    low self-esteem (a woman thinks that she is bad, worthless and does not deserve a happy life because she did not protect her baby);
•    suicidal thoughts;
    eating disorders;
    emotional numbing;
•    changes in sex life (avoids sexual intercourse or looks for casual sexual relations);
•    reccurence of abortion experiences;
•    change of lifestyle (unemployment or workaholism, tendency to overuse alcohol, sedatives);
•    disbelief that they can be forgiven (a woman is convinced that God will never forgive her for having an abortion, therefore, she sees no point in praying; she cannot rid herself of the guilt, worries too much about the health and life of her present and future children);
•    anniversary syndrome (a woman’s condition may get worse, every year, on the anniversary of the abortion or on the birthdays of her other children).

Abortion may add to disorders of mental health or psychosomatic symptoms later in the life of a woman: blood pressure disorders, headaches with no clear cause, stomachaches, etc.

From a psychological point of view, first of all, abortion is a loss. For some women, it is easier to go through this loss than for others. Nonetheless, sometimes, experiencing this loss is complicated because the grief remains without a name and face – a woman never sees her baby, therefore, he remains unrealistic and his death is as if invisible. But this loss can be felt for a very long time and leaves traces, not only in the emotional life of a woman, but also may cause disorder in other areas of her life, e.g. cause difficulties in her relationship with her husband or boyfriend, complicate her sexual relationship. Consequences of abortion can be felt during later pregnancies or when raising children who were born after the abortion.

Scientific research shows that, often, after abortion, women develop mental illnesses; the risk of suicide increases several times. Research carried out in Finland has shown that women who had abortions were 6 times more prone to suicide than those who chose to give birth to the child.

Consequences Of Abortion For A Couple’s Relationship

It is a paradox that, sometimes, women decide to have an abortion in an attempt to save the relationship with a loved one, but, after abortion, the relationship not only does not improve, but, usually, gets worse or falls apart. Abortion does not strengthen a couple’s relationship, but poses a difficult task – to handle the loss in a constructive way. And this task is not attainable to all. It has been noticed that, some women, after having an abortion, have more difficulty developing a strong relationship with men, trust men less, also, may have sexual difficulties.

The decision to have an abortion shows that the relationship between a man and a woman was not so good. There are cases when a woman has hormone shock because of a sudden termination of a natural physiological process (pregnancy). Later, constant depression sets in. Abortion can affect a woman’s mind so much that she is not be able to be a suitable partner for her husband anymore and all this leads to divorce, conflicts or adultery.

Consequences Of Abortion For Other Family Members

Often, it is thought that abortion has an emotional effect only on the woman and it does not affect other family members. However, abortion affects other family members as well, both present and future. There was a study carried out in Sweden concerning the men’s reaction to the abortion when their wives or girlfriends had had an abortion. The majority of men said that, after the abortion, they experienced various and conflicting emotions: guilt, a sense of responsibility, relief, grief because of loss. A man’s anger, suffering and guilt because he did not manage to protect his child manifest itself in the consumption of alcohol, drugs, sedatives, through self isolation, workaholism, wreckless driving. These are the feelings which are left unsaid and, later on, cause difficulties in a couple’s relationship and can lead to divorce.

There is evidence, based on research, that previous abortions have an effect on the development of children who are born after the abortion. A prolonged period of grief and consequences of post-abortion syndrome may interfere with the warm and affectionate relationship between a mother and a newborn baby and, later, it adds to the rise of a child’s emotional and behavioural problems.

Abortion affects all family members, as well as people who advise having an abortion and the doctors who perform it. Everyone who took part in killing an unborn baby, who cannot protect himself, suffers in some way. That the experience of abortion would not ruin the rest of one’s life, one needs to seek for the truth about abortion, self, others and God. Talking to a competent counselor, social worker, family consultant or priest would be helpful in that. In Lithuania, a consistent help and self-help therapeutic program “Rachel’s Vineyard” is already available.

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If you are having difficulty going through an abortion, get in touch with us. Our psychologist/counselor is ready to listen and help you. Do not isolate yourself in your time of pain. You can call us at +370 603 57726, +370 603 57912 or email us at Counseling is free of charge.