Abortion is a traumatic event, and as a result, can carry emotional
after-effects. Relief may be experienced right after an abortion,
but as days and months go by, a woman may become increasingly
aware that the life that was once inside of her is no longer there.
Some women have found that months or even years later, they experience
unpleasant feelings about their abortion(s). If this is true of
you, you are not alone. Whereas women are the lone sufferers of
the physical risks of abortion,
men can indeed experience the
Thousands of women and men experience many of the following symptoms:
Healing from Abortion
If you are struggling with any of these emotions, you are possibly
experiencing Post Abortion Stress. There
is free, confidential help available to help you find healing
and restoration from a past abortion. Many pregnancy clinics,
including ours, offer post-abortion counseling. Contact Us for more information.
Post Abortion Stress
There are many negative emotional reactions that have been associated
with abortion. Some women experience "impacted grieving," which
reflects an inability to complete the grieving process. Other
women experience specific self-destructive tendencies, including
eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, and substance abuse.
A widely used term for emotional problems is "post-abortion stress"
or PAS. Actually, post-abortion stress has been proposed as
a specific diagnosis for those women who experience a specific,
related set of emotional problems. Specifically, PAS is proposed
as a subset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when PTSD
is the result of an abortion. Many women who have emotional problems
after an abortion fit within the diagnosis for PTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD can occur when a person undergoes a traumatic experience
that is beyond their normal ability to "cope" and results in intense
fear, feelings of helplessness, being trapped, or loss of control.
Those who witness or participate in a violent death, or who experience
physical injury or sexual assault (such as victims of war, a plane
crash or rape) are at greatest risk for experiencing PTSD.
With PTSD, the victim wants to forget about the event and put
it behind her, but at the same time, she is driven to express
her feelings of fear and pain. As a result, she is caught in a
trap, constantly alternating between feeling numb and reliving
the traumatic event. Her efforts to "cope" with her feelings can
take on a life of their own, often resulting in abnormal behaviors.
Many women who have had abortions describe the dreamlike quality
of the experience, as if they were standing outside the scene
watching themselves go through the abortion. "I felt as though
I was walking through a dream," writes Lori, who was pressured
by family members to abort when she developed complications during
her pregnancy. "Later I had this incredible isolated feeling,
like a wall went up." What are the risk factors for PAS?
Physical Risks of Abortion