In abortion, as in any loss, a grieving process must be carried out, but in any abortion, it gets difficult for the woman if there is no social support (family, partner, or friends) or psychological support, since the women who abort suffer a series of feelings that hinder the development of grief, such as denial, guilt, repression, etc. These emotions are reinforced by society rejecting these women as being actual mourners of a loss that is not recognized as important and, by the fact that they are singled out as the murderers of their own child, which implies increased guilt.
Abortion can bring with it less complicated grief if the woman receives a lot of support from her family and friends who show solidarity with her and share the feelings of sadness for such a loss; whether deliberately or not. There are some experiences that do not allow the grief after a natural abortion. Some women prefer not to face the emotions and feelings that come with an abortion. They may be in denial of what just happened. Their first reaction may be loss. Likewise, since there is a lack of ritual acts that allow a symbolization of the loss, it becomes even more difficult for some women.
There is also the need to blame someone who, in general, is themselves, which leads them to think that they should have taken care to consider using protection against the same pregnancy. For that reason, they may feel responsible for what just happened. In some cases, the blame may also fall on the man or father of the child. He may not have wanted the child either and may not have helped in making a decision whether to keep the child or not.
Reluctance to Talk
It is also found that many women are very reluctant to talk about what happened and their feelings towards it, which makes it remain as an enigma, and as something that is better not mentioned and something to be forgotten as soon as possible. It also allows the denial of what happened and is considered painful, but when it is neglected or pushed under the rug or if the woman does not seek after abortion support, a process of recovery cannot yet begin.
Words of Comfort
In addition, the friends or relatives of the woman who just had an abortion, by refusing to talk about it, fall into words that may seem comforting, but in reality, there is underlying denial. These words might include:
- “You are young, you can have other children.”
- “Instead of thinking about this, think about your healthy children.”
- “It is better to lose it now than when you are older.”
- “It is the will of God.”
- “You did the best thing for your situation.”
It is also very common for a breakdown to occur in the couple’s relationship after an abortion as some tend not to understand the feelings and subjective reactions of the other –which are stronger in women- and therefore come into conflict. Thus, abortion brings other problems with it and does not allow focusing on each other, but on the abortion that just took place.
Although the woman who undergoes an abortion feels, at first, relief, this is possibly only temporary and is followed by several negative feelings and behaviors that prevent her from developing a “normal” grief for that loss and the possibility of sinking into a state of depression or melancholy, which can last for months, or years or a lifetime.
The first thing that appears is a fairly strong feeling of guilt that is linked, firstly, to the fact of recognizing oneself as the person responsible for the death of a human who was on the way, and, secondly, not socially accepted as abortion is thought of being murder by some people. For that reason, the woman may feel like a criminal who is obliged to remain silent so as not to be discovered and therefore avoids seeking help.
The Shock and Anxiety
Most women who decide to have an abortion do so in moments of shock, anxiety, fear, and feeling that this is her only option. Most do not reflect on what happens after the abortion. And, most women have to go through this alone for various reasons including guilt. Afterward comes remorse in some cases and if there is a lack of support, it becomes more difficult.
Post-abortion syndrome is conceived as a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), since the woman experiences the abortion as a traumatic event, either because she felt there was no other choice or because of the guilt that makes her aware that she was the executor of the death of her unborn child; then the symptoms are directly related to the traumatic event as in PTSD. After abortion support is important to getting her back on her feet and realizing that her options may have been limited. It makes sense for her to talk to someone to get help so she can come to terms with it and to accept her decision as being the best one in her specific circumstances. The best foot forward is to seek after abortion support.