Having an abortion is not without emotional and psychological consequences. In fact, many experts now consider the most common post-abortion emotions to be part of a disorder called post-abortion syndrome. An abortion is a traumatic event, and post-abortion syndrome develops when a woman does not properly process the event out of fear, shame, or denial.
Often, in an attempt to cope with the overwhelming rush of post-abortion emotions, women develop a set of coping mechanisms. They may rationalize internally that they have done the right thing. They may repress feelings they have no idea exist and they may erase feelings with which they cannot deal. What's more is they may compensate with promiscuous or dangerous behavior to mask and ignore their internal struggle. It is important to recognize the signs of post-abortion syndrome and properly address these emotions as they come up.
Guilt - This is probably one of the most common emotions women experience after an abortion. Guilt can be both immediate or delayed. This occurs when you are unable to rationalize the need for an abortion internally or were not completely confident in your decision.
Anger - After an abortion you may feel anger toward yourself and or others. You may feel you were forced to have the abortion because of other people's actions or opinions. For instance, if you lacked support from your parents or partner you may be angry at them and feel it is their fault that you had to have an abortion.
Anxiety - This is another common post-abortion emotion that women experience. It may be accompanied by anxiety symptoms such as tension, irritability, sleeplessness, upset stomach, headache, shortness of breath and fatigue. This often occurs as a result of an uneasiness about the choice made or conflicting moral feelings.
Depression - It is very common for women to fall into a depression after an abortion. This would include sadness, hopelessness, irritability and even sleeplessness. However, if depression continues or manifest into uncontrollable crying, immobility, inability to interact with babies or be intimate with a partner it is problematic.
Numbing - Often when we go through extreme emotional pain we subconsciously attempt to avoid that pain by numbing. This may lead to avoidance of emotional connections and or an inability to be vulnerable.
Suicide - Many women experience suicidal thought after having an abortion. The post-abortion emotions such as feelings of rejection, low self-esteem, guilt, depression and anxiety can be a dangerous combination. Regardless of whether you feel you would go through with it or not if you are having suicidal thoughts you should seek professional help immediately.
Shame - This quite possibly one of the most common post-abortion emotions. Shame occurs when you feel inferior, embarrassed, humiliated, self-conscious, stigmatized or disgusted by what you have done. Shame is felt more out of how you think other people are perceiving your actions.
Grief - When you have an abortion, a loss is experienced and that loss leads to grieving. You may feel sad, empty, confused, regretful and angry. Your grief may come and go until you completely work through it.
Spiritual Injury - Many women, whether religious or not, have a spiritual conflict when it comes to abortion. This may occur if you feel it is morally wrong to have had an abortion or if you feel it wasn't what you truly wanted. Many women who suffer a spiritual injury avoid religion or places of worship after their procedure. Women who are not may just feel disconnected from the world and their own sense of value or self.
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.