For those experiencing Abortion PTSD, it is normal for sights, sounds, smells and even feelings they encountered during the time of their abortion decision to ignite memories they are working to forget. These triggers can then initiate emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical reactions, bringing the abortion pain to the surface of their hearts.
Eight common triggers of post-abortion pain include, but are not limited to:
Media Mention – Abortion is an ongoing hotly debated political topic that is discussed often in media channels. Every time the word “abortion” is overheard, the pain within the unhealed heart of the post-abortive individual can be triggered.
Sounds – Noises that resemble those overheard during the abortion time frame can trigger Abortion PTSD pain. Music that she enjoyed during that period in her life can remind her of this choice. Vacuum cleaners and dentist’s drilling noises can leave post-abortive women in deep anxiety. For those who endured medication abortion, the swish of a toilet flushing can produce pain and trauma, particularly if they flushed their aborted children after they passed from their bodies.
Anniversary Dates – The due date of the aborted child or the anniversary of the abortion experience often finds post-abortive individuals battling bouts of depression. When individuals work to forget their abortion, these dates are often difficult to recall. It can take years for the person to identify these dates as events of anxiety and pain in their lives.
Pregnant Women and Young Children – In the months following an abortion, pregnant women who have the same due date as the post-abortive woman can be powerful reminder of loss. After their aborted child’s due date has passed, encountering children that are the same age of their lost one in heaven can also ignite anxiety in a post-abortive woman’s heart.
Intimacy – Sex is a reminder of how she got pregnant in the first place so it can be a powerful activator of post-abortion pain. If the woman is unmarried, each sexual encounter could produce another unexpected pregnancy that may require another abortion. For married women, husbands often have no idea an abortion has taken place and suffer in sexless marriages. After abortion pain can also ignite sexual promiscuity, leading to many dysfunctional related behaviors like drug/alcohol abuse, eating disorders, etc.
Motherhood Moments – It is difficult to look into the face of a newborn and experience motherhood wonderment and not be reminded of the child you aborted. If the woman was a mother at the time of her abortion, looking into her living children’s faces can prompt memories of their child lost to abortion. Milestone marks that would have been reached had the child lived – like graduation from kindergarten, high school or college – can also remind the woman of her child in heaven.
OB/GYN Check-Ups – One thing I never expected after my abortion was how difficult it would be to be honest about this procedure on a routine doctor’s intake form. I felt a deep fear each time I encountered one of the most difficult medical questions for a post-abortive woman – number of pregnancies.
Political Debates on Abortion – When politicians outline their views on abortion and detail their plans to either enhance or diminish abortion rights, anxiety is often produced in post-abortive listener’s hearts. Many have no idea that in many areas, abortion is legal up until a child’s delivery date. Hearing someone defend abortion can also ignite this pain and trigger deep anger.
Thankfully, there can be positive fallout from this ignited pain. At some moment, many can no longer cope with ongoing triggers and seek out help by turning to God. Jesus Christ died on the cross for every sin – even abortion. By believing in Him, we are set free from this emotional prison and allowed to live a life free of condemnation and shame.
Philippians 4:6-8 provides a template for those struggling with abortion triggers – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.