Coping after Abortion
Honor all your emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel. All your feelings are valid. Be aware that between four and six days after the abortion, your hormones will take a dive and may amplify your feelings. If you are happy about your abortion, allow yourself that. If you need a good cry, have one. If you need to be angry, be angry in a safe way.
Nurture yourself. Take care of yourself now. It is not selfish to let go of some of your responsibilities to take care of your own needs. Your needs are as important as anyone elses. Time away from regular responsibilities to focus on you may have significant value in the long-term.
Take a walk. Getting outside and moving is always good for our spirit. Light activity is especially important in the first few days after an abortion. Do not work-out or do any heavy lifting in the first 48 hours, but after that any form of exercise will help you feel better.
Eat well. Healthy eating can make a difference in our moods and our energy levels. Treat yourself to a salad or ask your partner to make you a special meal. Try foods higher in iron and calcium. Drink lots of water. Have a cup of tea. There are many herbal teas that will warm your body and soul. Try raspberry leaf or nettle tea.
Write in a journal. Writing out your thoughts and feelings on paper can help clarify them. Writing also serves as means to let go of feelings you may be holding on to. You can write generically, to yourself or to someone else. Have a shower by candlelight. You can’t bath for 2 weeks after the abortion, until you see a doctor. However, you can have a hot shower. If you are having cramps, let the water run on your back or tummy.
Talk to a friend. Don’t keep your feelings away from others. If you have a trusted person who will listen and support you, use that person. Friends are there for us when we are in need. This may be the time you need to lean on your friend. You will be there for her or him in the future, but now is your time.
Read other women’s stories. It can be helpful to read out other women’s stories through abortion. This can help to normalize the experience of abortion and ensure that you are not alone in your experience. Abortion is a common experience among all women from all walks of life. There are many websites that post women’s stories, the following are just a few: The Abortion Conversation Project, The Abortion Diaries, Arts for Choice, Heart Site, The Abortion Chronicles, 45 Million Voices and Project Voice.
Phone a pro-choice counselor. Don’t hesitate to talk about your feelings with a professional. There is nothing too small or too big. You can call the clinic at 780-484-1124 or Compass Centre for Sexual Wellness at 780-423-3737. If you are outside the Edmonton area, call the clinic to ask a counselor for a referral.