Common Issues Post-Abortive People Experience
Choosing abortion can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved. This trauma can have many “faces” depending on the circumstances surrounding the abortion and the time since it occurred.
Rarely does the post-abortive person suffer every symptom of Abortion PTSD. Some indicators may not even be included in the list below or outlined on the video.
If someone has endured two or more of these symptoms, their pain could be centered on an abortion experience. With multiple abortion experiences, these symptoms can be intensified.
Anger – Anger is a tool used to combat depression. Anger offsets mourning. Anger can be felt – either directly or indirectly – towards anyone involved in the abortion decision. It can be projected on others as well – i.e., children, spouse, etc.
Alcohol and Drug Use – Drugs and alcohol are used as a tranquilizer to offset painful memories of the abortion. They can calm anxiety and promote sleep. Sadly, the overuse of these elements can lead to other problems at a mental and physical level.
Anniversary Reminders – This “anniversary” can be the aborted child’s due date, or the date of the abortion. On these dates, the post-abortive can feel horrible for no apparent reason. Many never understand their emotions are related to their abortion experience.
Anxiety (i.e., anxiety attacks) – Many individuals state that after their abortion they started feeling tense and could not relax. Some outline physical reactions like dizziness, pounding heart, upset stomach, headaches. They may worry about the future, struggle to concentrate and not be able to sleep. Often, they don’t understand the source of anxiety.
Avoiding Children or Pregnant Women – It is common for post-abortive people to avoid children, especially pregnant women or children that would have been around the age of their aborted child. This avoidance can include skipping baby showers, avoiding the baby aisle at the grocery store, walking around the block to avoid a playground, or making excuses to escape events that include children or pregnant women.
Depression – Everyone is sad occasionally. After abortion, gloomy feelings can make the person feel hopeless and unlovable. They may cry uncontrollably for no reason and/or feel like they are going crazy. Perhaps they can’t eat or sleep or eat too much and sleep all day. The things they used to enjoy are avoided.
Eating disorders. Episodes of anorexia or bulimia is common for post-abortive people. Some get fat or thin to avoid anyone wanting them sexually as that could lead to another pregnancy. Eating is also something an individual can personally regulate when their life feels beyond their control.
Experiencing the Abortion Again – A post-abortive person can be suddenly transported back to the abortion clinic and re-experience their abortion. Memories can be triggered by simple sounds heard during the abortion procedure – like a vacuum cleaner or a dentist drill. For those who endured medical abortions, it can be the sound of a toilet flushing. Yearly pap tests can also resurrect these memories. Others experience ongoing nightmares involving children, perhaps in pain. They can even have the same nightmare repeatedly.
Fear that Their Children Will Die – Some post-abortive people live in fear that children they had before or after the abortion could easily die. This fright can lead these parents to overprotect their children at an unhealthy level.
Fear of Infertility – Many women worry about being able to get pregnant again. Many fear they have aborted the only child they will ever have. Others suspect the abortion could have mutilated their body in some way.
Feeling “Numb” – To avoid painful thoughts after abortion, many post-abortive people work to shut off their emotions. That could mean abandoning friendships and family, particularly if they remind them of the abortion experience. When someone shuts down emotionally, they don’t feel sorrow or joy. Many turn to drugs or alcohol to assist in numbing these memories that result in guilt or anxiety.
Guilt – A mother’s heart is genetically designed to “protect their child at all costs.” Abortion short-circuits that basic human instinct. That can lead to feelings of guilt. A common guilty reaction after abortion could be that the individuals believes future bad events happen because they “deserve it” for making this choice.
Self-Punishing Behaviors – Some may cut themselves, hoping to release pain. Others remain in abusive relationships feeling they “deserve” the abuse.
Thoughts of suicide – Some post-abortive people get so sad that they think it would be easier to die than continue living. Others miss their lost child so much that they want to join them to hold them at last.
Wanting to get pregnant again – It is normal to want to get pregnant again as soon as possible after any pregnancy loss. Most do so out of a desire to make sure they can still have a baby. Others hope to “replace” the life that was lost during the abortion. This is often referred to as an “atonement” pregnancy.
Unable to Bond with Present or Future Children – If the post-abortive person has children before or after the abortion, these family members can be a constant reminder of the person they aborted. This pain can result in the person distancing themselves emotionally or even abandoning the children, believing they are disqualified to be a parent.
If you are post-abortive and are experiencing two or more of these symptoms, you could be struggling with Abortion PTSD. If that is the case, taking this course can help you discover God’s healing and peace.
Hello, I am Sydna Massé Founder and CEO of Ramah International. I'd love to keep in touch and include you in our prayer chain as we continue to serve abortion's wounded and those considering abortion.
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