Dealing With Abortion Grief: You Are Not Alone

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How To Deal With Depression: Abortion Recovery
The first step to grief recovery is easier than you thought.

Every decision you make comes with its own unique set of circumstances. Women of all ages and all walks of life, economic and religious status have a commonality: the fact that they are "keepers" of a deep, dark secret. If you are harboring your own dark secret from a time in your past, the first thing you need to know is you are not alone.

Since the legalization of abortion in our nation in 1973, around a million procedures occur every single year. I carried my secret for over 20 years, without telling a single person. I truly thought I was the only one who had made such a choice. If you've never shared your abortion secret, that is normal. As I've helped others who've walked this path, I've found that only about one in 10 women ever share their abortion secret with another person, including the father. And although we don't often acknowledge it, men can feel the deep pain of an abortion as well.

 

The most important step in reaching a place of peace after abortion is to understand that your secret is not an isolated event, making you a social outcast with three heads. I've worked with women from every single walk of life, from a professional woman residing in Mexico, to a tattooed woman with nose piercings, to a pastor's wife living with the secret pain of three abortions; all women who made a decision beyond the boundaries of race, religion or social status. As I helped these women heal, I began to realize that it was so freeing for me to see that I was not the only one. I hope you know you are not alone!

There is some sort of consolation that others "out there" were feeling the same deep sadness I was feeling. There were other women having random moments of secret emotional sadness and grief, other women dealing with the at times overwhelming pain.

It is important to understand that so many others feel the same way you do! The beginning of my healing was learning randomly from another woman where I worked that she had grown weary carrying around her secret heart ache and pain. As we began to share with each other, I was astounded to learn I was experiencing the same emotions she was feeling. I can't tell you how freeing that was for me!

A burden shared really does become lighter.  If you've been hiding your secret abortion, the first step on your road to closure seems much too simple, yet it is an important little baby step to take: Knowing you are not alone can be a huge revelation. Yes, you've gotten on with your life but your deep dark secret doesn't have to haunt you anymore. There are many, many women desiring to process and resolve this issue from their past. 

Yes, "women of choice" have some sort of bonding by becoming a sisterhood of secret-keepers. But keeping the secret keeps us in perpetual grief. Acknowledging our secrets is the first step for women who wish to heal and recover from an abortion. And it is in knowing we are not alone that gives us all the courage to begin the journey to peace.

There are a lot of resources available. You can Google 'grief after abortion' and find several very helpful programs. If you want to start the journey in the safety of your own home you can try the self-help plan I created so that you would not be alone and have tools to guide you through the process. All materials from my program are non-judgmental and non-political or religious in nature. Additionally, download a free brochure I created to educate yourself or others about voluntary pregnancy termination and disenfranchised grief. 

You are not alone — and you have more support than you could possibly ever have imagined.

More on how to deal with depression from YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Trudy Johnson

Author

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.

www.missingpieces.org

Location: Buena Vista, CO
Credentials: LMFT, MA, Non-Profit
Specialties: Abortion Issues
Other Articles/News by Trudy Johnson:

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