Abortion & Depression: The Coleman Connection

make a choice

It's important to "follow your gut" when it comes to making important decisions.

As the political and psychological war over abortion wages on, learning how to "own" all of our choices as women could not be more vital to ensuring our long term health and peace of mind. In 2009 Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University in Ohio released a controversial study linking abortion and mental health issues.

To formulate her findings, Coleman compared the mental health of 399 women, 70% of which were under the age of 21 when they had their abortions, to more than 6 times as many women who haven't had abortions. Her stats were quickly challenged, yet in truth, questionable reports breeding fear and divisiveness within the hearts and minds of women are common. Free Contraception: 1 Step Forward Or Fluke In Freedom?

Thus trusting your inner compass is the most powerful path to finding your truth and owning your choices. Owning your choices not only makes you impervious to deceptive data of all kinds, it empowers you to honor the individual truths for others without fear. Most importantly it prevents you from practicing the same intolerance you condemn in those who attempt to force their beliefs and limitations upon you.

What's the clandestine connection between Coleman and choice?

Owning your choices means making those that feel intrinsically correct to you free from the influence and pressure of others. When you make a true choice, all of your options are on the table. Circumstances or people may affirm your choices, but you won't allow them to sway you from what you feel is appropriate and just — using your gut instinct. 

Thus, although Coleman's statistics were skewed, neither vilifying her as a pro-life activist set out to abort reproductive choice, nor defending the integrity of her mission is highly beneficial. Her study sheds light on the fact that women have suffered emotionally after terminating pregnancies.

Since we know that many women have prospered tremendously after having made the same choice, calculating accurate numbers or attacking the basis of her study is a distraction. Our greatest value lies in grasping what comprises the differentiation in the results. Each of us has our own spiritual and emotional DNA, which means no statistic will truly capture those answers. However, by looking for common denominators, we gain insight we can use to empower our choices, and maximize the benefit we experience as a result of making them.

Our personal experiences are an untapped university of knowledge and information just waiting to be utilized. The wisdom we stand to gain by sharing ours with curiosity and awareness is boundless. My life was transformed when I began putting me first and owning my choices. At the very least, the Coleman controversy gives you an opportunity to explore the power that owning your choices can yield. Wisdom from Whitney: Put Yourself First

Whether pro-choice or pro-life, the desire to live authentic, truthful lives unites us. Ironically, the emotionally polarizing experience of abortion that often divides us provides raw and riveting insight we can all use to consider choice in all areas of our lives. Thus I asked women how they felt about having an abortion, what the factors were surrounding their decisions, and how the experience has impacted their lives. Here's what a random sampling of women ranging in ages 31-74 revealed about the impact of choice with regard to their abortions.

Despite the many contributing factors to women's mental health and abortion, almost every woman I interviewed who regretted terminating her pregnancy said she was forced without choice to abort her pregnancy. Some were even preempted by incest and rape. The only woman who believed she owned her choice ultimately revealed that her choices were limited by her boyfriend. The Bachelor Recycled: 3 Q's To Prevent Mis-Calculations

He refused to allow adoption, which was the choice she most wanted to make. Forced to choose between abortion and raising the child, she chose abortion. Her options were limited by someone else, which means her abortion was not a true choice for her. Still, she suffered emotional distress for years. As in her case, circumstances don't always allow for the #1 choice we prefer. The key is to discern the difference. This not only empowers your process of making choices, it enables you to make peace with choices that others have forced you to make, and helps you to resist punishing yourself emotionally.

Every woman who viewed her abortion positively reported responding to an internal knowing that guided her actions. More than one woman reported gaining a sense of empowerment from following her gut instinct. Two Christian women said they couldn't deny the strength of their inner guidance, thus asked for forgiveness after having abortions and both felt confident about being forgiven. /node/128646

All these women also stated that because they owned their choices, Coleman's stats wouldn't have deterred them. One women who fell into both categories said she regrets her first abortion because it was forced upon her, yet feels positively about the second because she made the choice with clarity knowing she didn't want to expose a child to the abusive situation she was in. She's now a happily married mother of five.

Owning your choices also means accepting the totality of circumstances that inspired the choices you've made. Specifically, you refrain from using insight you gained today to judge yourself for choices you made yesterday, so you are without the benefit of that wisdom. You also fail to punish yourself for factors beyond your control. Abortion Talk Still Taboo?

Understand that regardless of your personal stance on abortion, the power of owning your choice as a woman is undeniably powerful in every area of your life. No matter what you're contemplating, the better you understand how to own your choices, the more empowered you are to create loving relationships and fulfilling lives. Cheers to enjoying the best life and love have to offer.

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