After Abortion Distress
Many women who made the decision to abort their child were not fully aware of the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual implications. Are you experiencing after abortion distress? Have you wondered if that decision you made is ever going to fade from your life? Do you ever wonder if you can be forgiven?
Numerous women experience a strong stress reaction after they have had an abortion. However, it may be many years after the actual abortion before a woman pinpoints her present behaviours to her past decision. Some women do not begin to find healing until 5, 10, 20, or 30 years after the abortion. In an effort to “forget” the abortion, some women begin to change in their behaviours and emotions. These women do not even realise they may be experiencing Post abortion Stress (PAS), yet they know they have somehow changed since the abortion.
Here are common symptoms that could indicate Post-Abortion Stress:
- Anger – either generalised, or specifically aimed at someone or something. Has anyone ever told you that you are an angry woman?
- Alcohol and/ or drug abuse – Do you find yourself using substances to dull pain or to help forget?
- Anxiety – Do you have a feeling of uneasiness, but can’t pinpoint any specific issue?
- Denial/repression - When the memories of your abortion come up, do you push down any negative thoughts about it? Do you rationalise your decision?
- Depression - Do you feel sad most of the time but can’t seem to figure out why? Is your sadness intense enough that it takes up most of your energy day and night?
- Low self-esteem - Do you struggle to believe you are of value even when others around you see all your positive qualities?
- Relationship struggles - Do you have difficulty keeping or accepting a “good” relationship? Do you find you sabotage most relationships that have potential?
- Sleep issues – Do you find that you are not getting enough sleep (or maybe too much)?
- Grief – Do you feel like you have a loss in your life?
- Guilt – Do you punish yourself in your mind, telling yourself that your abortion is unforgivable? If you had a commitment to God before the abortion, have you pulled away from Him since?
- Nightmares and flashbacks – Do you have dreams about your aborted baby or flashbacks about the procedure?
- Remorse – Do you live in the “what if” mode?
- Self-harm/Suicidal thoughts – Have you ever considered, or attempted, to end your life in order to escape the pain of your abortion decision?
Until the abortion is actively grieved a woman will find herself stuck somewhere between “who she was” and “who she wants to be”.
The journey to healing is not an easy road, but it is a well-travelled one. Every woman who has experienced freedom from her abortion decision had to make the first step out of the denial (that the abortion did not negatively affect her life). From that step forward healing was possible.
Contact Karis Counselling if you feel you are ready to find your freedom. We offer loving Christ-centered counselling to give you a new hope for your future.