Five Ways Abortion Can Affect Women
Listed below are the five most common issues that we have experienced in our groups: factors that can sap a person’s energy and result in a corrosive effect on their morale and relationships.
1. Anxiety and Isolation
“Why do I feel so anxious about my past abortion?”
A woman who has experienced an abortion can feel very alone. It is as if a veil of silence and secrecy descends. Although some people may talk about abortion as an ‘issue’, few want to hear that someone has had an abortion or how it may have affected her. There is no public acknowledgement of the existence of the child, so there is no obvious compassion for her loss.
A partner may expect a woman to bounce back as quickly as she might after a minor operation, giving no thought to what has actually taken place. The woman may want to distance herself from others, thinking, ‘Nobody understands how I feel.’ A strong desire for secrecy – the idea that ‘no one must know’ – further compounds her sense of anxiety and isolation. Secrets have power and it takes energy to keep the abortion hidden from others.
“The depression started about a year after the abortion.”
If not addressed, the emotions that lie buried in the subconscious can become a corrosive source of lingering sadness and bitterness, sapping energy and leading to depression. This is the most common effect that we see on our courses. On the course the depression can lift as the emotions are gently processed, discussed and worked through.
3. A fear of intimacy or commitment
It is striking among those we counsel that there can be a fear of intimacy or commitment in relationships. Perhaps people wish to stay away from emotions that remind them of the pregnancy, and the emotional steps along the way that resulted in the abortion. This can lead people into only wanting temporary relationships or embracing a promiscuous lifestyle, or choosing not to enter into any romantic relationship at all.
4. Fear of having children
Those who have been through abortion may be worried about having children in the future. For some, even the sight of children or pregnant women may be upsetting, and they may keep their distance from friends or relatives who have children. They may feel they do not deserve to have a family in the future, or develop a tendency to overprotect children when they do arrive. Women can also be secretly worried that the abortion may have damaged their reproductive ability (medical opinion is that abortion is not physically damaging to women).
[Please note: Medical opinion is that physically an abortion is unlikely to affect a woman’s physical fertility: see www.nhs.uk : ‘Can an abortion affect my future fertility?’]
5. Anger and Loss of confidence
“I was so angry with my partner. Why had he been so passive?”
The feelings of loss and depression that can surface after an abortion can make people question that others care about them. It can leave people feeling that abortion was uncaring: that a terrible act has been done to them by the medical profession, and by the society that permits it. Women can also feel forced into a corner and exploited by men, especially if there was a degree of coercion or if the partner was hostile to the continuation of the pregnancy. The subsequent feeling of emptiness and anger can have a corrosive effect on their confidence, and on their relationships, as well as causing uncertainty about their position and role in life.
Step into a new life
If you have an abortion in your past we would really encourage you to come on our course, don’t let this be the one area of your life you want to conceal and leave unredeemed. We have a non-judgmental team who will listen to your story and help you untangle and resolve the past. Our course really works. It can transform lives.