Your Past is Not Past if Anniversary Dates Trigger You


Your Past is Not Past if Anniversary Dates Trigger You
Did you know that unprocessed grief about abortion (voluntary pregnancy termination)can trigger you?

Clinically, triggering means we react to certain events or situations that remind us of something traumatic that occurred in the past.

In similar ways, women who’ve experienced voluntary pregnancy termination have common triggering events later on.  For instance, certain times of the year can trigger depression.  These triggering events are usually anniversary dates like the anniversary date of the “vpt” or the anniversary of the due date.


Typically these anniversary dates are tied to a season.  For instance, my “vpt” was a cold, windy March day.  For many years I would go into a “deep funk” around what I always called “the Ides of March.”  I never connected this to my “vpt” anniversary date until many years later. 

The most common trigger for women of choice is the actual word, “abortion.”  So many women completely disconnect from the word.  News stories, church sermons or any other public place you hear the word can invoke an immediate response on the inside for women.

Herein lies the problem, even if you want to talk about your abortion experience, it is almost impossible to speak that word on your lips.  I know. I struggled with “the word” too.  It was of course another reason to hide my secret.

For this reason, I am choosing to throw out the word “abortion” in my therapy sessions with women.  Referring to the procedure as voluntary pregnancy termination or the text message symbol, “vpt” brings some sort of distance between the procedure and the issue of the real grief after abortion.

If you’ve never recovered emotionally or grieved your “vpt” loss, I hope you will find the self-help book I’ve written for you, C.P.R. ~ Choice Processing and Resolution, a refreshing discussion of the topic.  I hope you will see that women can reclaim the word as a symbol of healing and a personal grief situation instead of a politically charged topic.

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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