Figuring out what to do about an unplanned pregnancy is not easy, and neither is deciding to end a pregnancy. When a pregnancy is unwanted, women may experience apprehension about their decision and face a wide range of emotions.

If you’re considering abortion, the following information is offered to help you make a fully informed decision about your unexpected pregnancy. We don’t want you to feel blindsided by unexpected emotional responses should you decide to choose abortion.

If you have already had an abortion, be assured that you are not alone. We are here to give compassionate support and offer you hope for emotional healing.

Emotional Side Effects After an Abortion

Despite mainstream claims that abortion is empowering and does not cause emotional side effects, the opposite is true. Properly conducted research reveals that abortion does impact women emotionally.

Most women experience a combination of emotional side effects after their abortions. These symptoms may be categorized as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  PTSD is a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing a distressing event. If you recognize these in yourself, read on to the end to learn how you can receive compassionate support from trained advocates who will never judge you for your abortion decision.

Ten of the most common emotional side effects after abortion include:

  1. Regret

It is not uncommon for women to feel a sense of relief shortly after an abortion. When feelings of regret set in, it can happen after months, years or decades have passed.

  1. Shame

Popular researcher Brené Brown states shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” If you feel this way after your abortion, know that your abortion decision does not define you.

  1. Guilt

Despite our cultures acceptance of abortion overall, some women express feeling a sense of guilt after an abortion. Sometimes, it causes a woman to become pregnant again to “make it up” to the child she aborted. We can offer healthy tools to help you cope with post-abortion guilt.

  1. Loss and Grief

Even when women do not feel ready to continue their pregnancies, they can experience loss and grief after abortion. It is a normal and valid response after abortion. Receiving skilled support can help prevent emotional numbness or hopelessness.

  1. Depression and anxiety

Women are 65% more likely to develop clinical depression after an abortion than after giving birth [1]. Depression is common but serious. It’s a profound feeling of sadness or lack of interest in things you once enjoyed, and it interferes with your daily functioning.

  1. Suicidal thoughts

Researchers report that women are 6 to 7 times more likely to die by suicide after an abortion than after giving birth [2]. According to abortion researcher David C. Reardon, 60% of post-abortive women report having suicidal thoughts [3]. If you have suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away at 1-800-273-8255.

  1. Trauma

Abortion is a traumatic event, even for women who aborted unwanted pregnancies. 65% of women experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress after an abortion [5]. Reliving the abortion through intrusive thoughts and dreams is a shared experience, as well as suffering around anniversary dates such as the date of the abortion or due date.

  1. Negative self-assessment

You have value and deserve love and respect whether you have had an abortion or not, but sadly, women can adopt negative self-assessments of themselves after abortion.

  1. Self-destructive (or self-punishing) behaviors

Self-destructive behaviors are when you do something that harms you emotionally or physically. It can stem from an unconscious desire to punish yourself for having an abortion.

  1. Loss of quality of life

Any one of these emotional side effects of abortion would impact your quality of life, but women don’t just experience one of them — they typically experience several. So it makes sense that women report a loss in their quality of life after abortion.

Keep in mind that it’s rather common for women to realize they’re having difficulties in life but don’t make the connection between their past abortion and their current life problems. Seek out a skilled professional if you have an abortion in your past coupled with challenges coping in any way currently, to see if they’re related and help you recover.

What Increases Negative Emotional Side Effects After an Abortion?

The American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA) reports that the following situations can increase adverse emotional side effects after an abortion:

  • Feeling pressure from others to have an abortion
  • Aborting a pregnancy that’s wanted
  • Lack of support
  • Feelings of needing to keep the abortion a secret
  • Feeling unsure about the abortion decision
  • A history of prior abortion
  • A history of mental health problems
  • Abortion after twelve weeks

Can You Heal From the Emotional Side Effects After an Abortion?

Yes, you can heal from the emotional side effects after an abortion, Yet, the reality is that once you have had an abortion, it remains part of your story, but it isn’t your whole story. The painful parts may ebb and flow, but you can learn tools to cope with the difficult aspects.

Even if you look back and wonder what could have been, you learn to make meaning from your experience. Some women do that by leading abortion recovery groups after they’ve healed from the after-effects of their abortions to offer hope to others on their healing journeys.

Pregnancy Care Clinic Offers Support to Recover From an Abortion

If you thought abortion would solve your problem but it seems to have created more, Pregnancy Care Clinic is here to help you. We understand how women feel after abortion and offer no-cost Post-Abortion Healing services. Our compassionate advocates can help you overcome the emotional side effects of your abortion. You can meet other women who are also on healing journeys after their abortions. Contact Pregnancy Care Clinic today and receive the support you deserve.