Emotional Support

Feelings after Abortion

Anger

Compassion is a beautiful flower born of understanding. When you get angry with someone (or yourself), practice breathing in and out mindfully. Look deeply into the situation to see the true nature of your own and the other persons suffering, and you will be liberated.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

A woman may be uncomfortable with anger. It is an emotion women are often not allowed to express from girlhood on, and so we sometimes don’t know what to do with it. The reality is that everyone gets angry from time to time and it’s a healthy and normal part of being human.

It is important to acknowledge at who and why we are angry. Anger can be such a strong force that it is easy to take it out on the wrong person or on yourself. Anger turned inward can lead to depression. It is more helpful to address feelings of anger, even if they are scary, than to ignore them.

After an abortion a woman can feel angry for many different reasons. She may be angry at herself for having become pregnant or at the fetus for being there. She might be angry with her partner for ‘getting’ her pregnant or seeing the abortion as no big deal. She might be angry at a health care provider for not giving her the information she needed about using birth control. She might be angry that she lives in a society that doesn’t support single mothers and she is unable to cope on her own.

A woman might be angry that abortion exists as an option and she is angry with the abortion provider. If a woman has been against abortion until now, she may have a hard time seeing people who work at the abortion clinic as trying to help her.

Sometimes a woman is angry with her family or her religious faith for not understanding her. She may be angry towards society at large, which she perceives to be judgmental and ignorant about the issues surrounding unwanted pregnancy.

There are as many different reasons to be angry, as there are women. It is important to figure out why you are angry. Try writing: I am angry because and making a list of reasons. You can do this on your own or with the support of a friend, family member or counselor.

Once you have identified what you are angry about, you can do something to resolve those feelings. Everyone deals with anger differently and it is very personal; find something that works for you.

The following are suggestions that one can use to resolve anger: ~ talk with a supportive person or a professional counselor ~ physical exercise (walking, working out, running, yoga, swimming) ~ meditation ~ screaming into a pillow or at the top of a mountain or a hill ~ take a long bath with lavender ~ write in a journal ~ volunteer for an organization that aligns with your values ~ surround yourself with positive people ~ have a massage or get reflexology.

Take time to express your anger by yourself or with a supportive person. If you really need to talk with the person you are angry with, wait a while; you don’t want to find yourself having to apologize later because of the way you expressed yourself.

If you are angry with yourself, be gentle; unresolved self-anger can turn into very destructive behavior. You do not need to punish yourself; you can seek help from a supportive person and work through the emotions and how the abortion may have triggered some lifelong pent-up feelings.

There are often hidden emotions behind anger: hurt, betrayal, sadness, longing. Once you get past anger, you may be able to explore the other more difficult feelings. You may want to seek support from a friend or counselor.