Overwhelming sadness after a voluntary pregnancy termination can often catches women off guard.
Last week I talked with a 20-something woman about the grief she was feeling after her voluntary pregnancy termination. In her quest to find relief for her situation, she never dreamed she would be struck with an overwhelming sadness that she couldn't shake.
Only a little less shocking than the news of the pregnancy (she was on birth control pills) was the fact that she couldn't seem to stop crying after the procedure. Why? She thought she'd be dancing the happy dance with relief since her boyfriend was now long gone out of her life. She had made a clean break with him, but now this!
I only knew the caller's first name, so I am calling her "my anonymous client." My "anonymous client" could hardly talk through the tears. She was so confused about the flood of emotions pouring through her body. What should have been the biggest sigh of relief in her life had turned into an extremely painful sadness.
As we drilled down through the events of the past week for her, I explained to her how many levels of dynamics she'd been through. The whole voluntary pregnancy termination was a reminder of the loss of the boyfriend and everything involved with that situation. She was second-guessing whether she should have been with him, given the news of the pregnancy. Additonally, "it wasn't fair." He escaped "scot free" and now she was left "dealing."
The voluntary pregnancy termination dug up all the past pain and heartache of the broken-off relationship. Instead of bringing closure, it was only a reminder of the past.
By the time we finished our conversation, my "anonymous client" was realizing that the procedure itself did not take away the pain of the relationship. All of this would take time and was something she was unable to rush through.
She was working through a lot of loss tangled together and culminating in one event. I assured her talking with me was a good choice. Processing loss of any kind needs another person to make sense of it. I talked and she cried. She talked and I assured her what she was experiencing was normal and to be expected. Loss resolution takes time.
This call was an encouragement to me as a reminder of the "why's" I do what I do. Being there and walking with someone in the depths of their pain is a privilege granted to very few. Grief after abortion is real. Talking about it makes things better.