Facing grief is a difficult process. There are some events in life where there is just
nowhere to go with our pain. One of those situations is when a person chooses to
terminate a pregnancy. I refer to this as “voluntary pregnancy termination” or “vpt”
rather than the common term abortion.
In my experiences working with women over the course of time, I’ve found they avoid
the term “abortion” like no other word. Avoiding the “word” seems to keep them safe,
which of course is the purpose of denial…keeping us safe.
I know for my own particular situation, I went for my annual check-up (woman’s annual
check up with my physician) without ever admitting that “therapeutic abortion” was in
my past. I never checked the box. There is just something about “that box” that keeps
one from placing the mark there. Is it fear that we are going to be judged, branded or put
into a category? Probably. At any rate, I went for years without checking the box.
Eventually, I was able to, but only after I was finally given permission to grieve my
I am a licensed therapist who works with women’s issues such as abuse of any sort and trauma and emotion regulation. Most people know that I have a history and a
background working with choice decisions. Even with that information, most of the
ladies I work with extremely hesitant to ever mention the “A” word to me. Generally, it
can take up to nine hours of therapy before they will ever admit, “Oh by the way…you
know when the intake form asked me if I’d ever had an abortion?” “Well, I just didn’t
have the nerve to check the box.”
It is important to "check the box" especially if you are planning on or are presently in an existing pregnancy. Your past voluntary pregancy termination may influence the way your physician looks at your pregnancy or even your ability to get pregnant.
1). Sometimes women have a hard time getting pregnant after a "vpt" because of scar tissues or tears from the procedure.
2). Additionally, you could have an increased chance of placenta previa after a "vpt" and this could affect the outcome or bring complications to the delivery of your existing pregnancy.
If you are having trouble, "checking the box" about abortion on your intake form, please take pause and do so. Again. you physician needs to know this information. It is important to your future medical care.
Part of your fear in checking the box is that you need to grieve your abortion loss. A scary thought, but an important part of receiving closure for your past abortion.