Understanding Disenfranchised Grief and Abortion - Step Three


 Understanding Disenfranchised Grief and Abortion - Step Three

Voluntary pregnancy termination or abortion is such an isolating event that it is hard to find our way in the processing.  If you are harboring an abortion secret, I hope you will have the courage to move out of  the safe place of denial of the grief you may feel, to a place of peace and hope.

I have personally  walked the “abortion grief journey” so I understand how much educating needs to be done in the area of grief after abortion. Even when I went to a professional therapist, I walked away completely hopeless in my journey.  This therapist assured me that abortion was a legal choice and that “I needed to go home and get over it.”   He validated my choice, but on the heart level he didn’t help me with the very normal “black cloud of grief” hanging over my head.  I learned quickly that staying silent prevented shame and kept me safe. However, keeping the secret did not stop my “the black cloud” from coming and going at random times.


Disenfranchised grief is a grief that isn’t publically acknowledged or a grief that is not accepted culturally.  Abortion grief is a perfect example of disenfranchised grief.    You may have tried to explain your sadness to someone close to you.  In that attempt you may have received responses that were completely invalidating for you. For instance, “think how much better your life is now” or worse “of course you should feel bad, look what you did.”  Disenfranchisement of abortion grief creates by default a unique group of women in our culture:  “a sisterhood of the keepers of the secret.”

I hope you have not experienced the pain of trying to talk with what you believed to be a safe person.  If you have been through something like this, it helps to understand there is a gaping hole in our culture regarding grief after abortion.

If you’ve also experienced your own “black cloud” moment of abortion grief, the answer is not stuffing the event down and denying the pain.  The answer isn’t in believing you are alone. Bringing abortion after-care up to speed with choice decisions hasn’t happened yet in our culture. 

Don’t let misunderstanding of this topic from others in your life who should be more understanding stop you from processing and resolving your abortion grief. 

Women after an abortion choice can feel a deep sense of loss.  Not everyone understands this.  You are not alone.  If you are feeling your own “black cloud” now.  know what you are feeling is real. It is not healthy to stay in denial about your grief after abortion.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Trudy Johnson


Trudy M. Johnson, M.A., LMFT, CSPII

Helping women process grief after voluntary pregnancy termination without fear.

Bringing abortion after-care into the 21st century by educating professionals.


Location: Buena Vista, CO
Credentials: LMFT, MA, Non-Profit
Specialties: Abortion Issues
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