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Conditions: Abortion

Every person is different and can feel a range of emotions about abortion and following an abortion; there is no right or wrong way to feel about it.

While majority of women who elect to have an abortion will not experience mental health difficulties afterwards, abortion can be a complex or a difficult experience for many and therefore some women as well as men who have been impacted by abortion may benefit from speaking to a counsellor about it. It is, therefore, not unusual to experience a range of psychological and emotional responses. It is also not uncommon to feel a bit low for a few days after.

In some cases, women may feel certain about their decision to end a pregnancy. Some of us will consider that experience to be just another piece of our life story, free of any negative associations. For others, the experience can evoke a range of issues, from spiritual and familial turmoil to attachment difficulties and feelings of loss. Abortion can impact individuals as well their relationships and families. Men’s responses to abortion can also be varied and how abortion impacts men may be complicated by the decision-making that precedes the abortion. At times the experience can evoke conflicting feelings and emotions. If you are considering an abortion, have had an abortion in the past or have been impacted by your partner’s abortion and you think you may benefit from speaking to someone about your experience, it may be helpful to seek counselling.

Some women as well men can develop Post-abortion Syndrome (PAS). Symptoms are similar to those in any post-traumatic stress disorder and may involve psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual distress and can affect anyone involved. Some symptoms may appear immediately after an abortion, and some much later.

When to seek help?

  • You are experiencing guilt

  • You are feeling angry and being irritable

  • You are experiencing shame, remorse, or regret

  • You are experiencing loss of self-esteem or self-confidence

  • You are feeling isolated and lonely

  • You have sleep problems and bad dreams

  • You have relationship problems

  • You are avoiding children or pregnant women

  • You are feeling numb

  • You are relieving the abortion

  • You have thoughts of suicide

Treatment recommendations

You may decide to seek abortion counselling from leading abortion care services, at any stage of the process.

In general, engaging in counselling would provide a safe space for you to talk through the different emotions you may be feeling. Therapies like CBT can be helpful in coping with unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. It is often used for post-traumatic stress and can help you learn relaxation techniques, emotional regulation, and coping strategies whilst you’re struggling. If you are struggling to show yourself compassion, compassion-focused therapy is another technique that could be useful. The selected treatment however would be individually tailored to your needs following a comprehensive assessment process in our service.

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