Both men and women can struggle after choosing to abort a child. Many people do not realize beforehand how much pain and loss they will feel after aborting their baby. It is important to know that you are not alone. The experiences of others can be of great help to you during this time. Finding forgiveness and help after your abortion is pivotal to beginning the recovery process. At H.E.L.P. Pregnancy Center, we offer abortion recovery Bible studies for both women and men. If you need help to overcome the pain of your abortion, please call for more information on abortion recovery counseling (704-289-5133).
Former Cover Girl model and actress, Jennifer O’Neill, can testify to the pain. She says,
“I had the abortion and paid for it all my life.” 1
1Retrieved August 31, 2010, from http://www.prolife.com/celeb.htm.
“So you had an abortion. Are you surprised by the regret, anxiety, or heartache you are experiencing? Even if the abortion was years ago, you may not be able to shake the feeling that you did the wrong thing…. You are not alone in having made wrong choices. All of us have. David, Paul and Moses were imperfect people God chose to use for great things. Not even the taking of an innocent life can deter God from wanting to have a relationship with you. He has plans for you that are beyond your wildest expectations. God wants you to confess your sins like David, give your heart to Him like Paul and obediently accept what God has for you like Moses. This time, make the right choice.”2
2Turnow, L. (2004). “Beyond Abortion.” Heritage House ’76, Inc.: Snowflake, AZ.
It is normal to regret your decision to abort. The following are symptoms often experienced by post-abortive women and men:3
Ø “Guilt (results from violating one’s own sense of right and wrong)
Ø Anxiety (headaches, dizziness, pounding heart, abdominal cramps, muscle tightness, difficulty sleeping, etc.)
Ø Avoidance behaviors (of anything remindful of pregnancy and children)
Ø Psychological ‘numbing’ (the unconscious vow to never let anything hurt this badly again can hamper the ability to enter fully into an emotional, intimate relationship)
Ø Depression (sad mood, sudden and uncontrollable crying episodes, deterioration of self-concept, sleep and appetite disturbances, reduced motivation, loss of normal sources of pleasure, thoughts of suicide)
Ø Re-experiencing events related to the abortion (persistent thoughts and flash-back memories or nightmares involving themes of lost or dismembered babies)
Ø Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again (representing an unconscious hope that a new pregnancy will replace the baby that was aborted)
Ø Anxiety over fertility and childbearing issues (being convinced that God will punish by withholding future pregnancies)
Ø Interruption or disruption of the bonding with present and/or future children (underbonding or overbonding with other children, whether born before or after a woman has an abortion)
Ø Self-abuse/self-destructive behaviors (eating disorders, alcohol and/or substance abuse, cigarette smoking, abusive relationships, promiscuity, failure to take care of one’s self medically)
Ø Anniversary reactions (an increase in symptoms around the time of the anniversary of the abortion, the due date of the aborted child, or both)
Ø Brief psychotic disorder (a psychotic break with reality lasting for a short period of time within two weeks of the abortion)”2
3Reisser, T. K., & Reisser, P. C. (2002). “Healing After Abortion: Identifying and Overcoming Post-Abortion Syndrome.” Focus on the Family.
Although these symptoms are common, you can find forgiveness to overcome the pain. Our post-abortion peer counselors can help you find healing in Christ. There is no shame in seeking help, and we are here to help you find the peace that you need.
Men: for further insight into your grief following abortion, please visit http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/air/air_vol7no3_1994.html and read the article about men and abortion.