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How To Properly Heal Emotionally After An Abortion








The decision of whether to end a pregnancy can be very difficult, and it is quite common for women to experience feelings of sadness, grief, or guilt after having an abortion.


In addition, the hormonal changes that take place when you become pregnant are affected by the abortion. These hormonal fluctuations cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms for many women:

  1. Insomnia

  2. Sadness

  3. Tearfulness

  4. Anxiety

  5. Hopelessness

  6. Irritability

  7. Poor concentration

are the emotional responses to abortion. It’s important to acknowledge and understand your emotions, which may include:

  • Relief: Many women feel a sense of relief after making a difficult decision.
  • Sadness or loss: You may grieve the loss of the potential pregnancy, even if the decision was right for you.
  • Guilt or regret: These are common emotions, even if unfounded. Allow yourself to process these feelings without judgment.
  • Anxiety or stress: Concerns about potential complications or societal judgment can contribute to anxiety.
  • Remember: It’s completely normal to experience a range of emotions. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or counselor can be very helpful during this time.

What are the emotional effects of abortion

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Terminating a pregnancy is a very emotionally and challenging experience. After the abortion procedure change in hormonal imbalance can cause mood changes because a person?s progesterone and estrogen levels gradually decrease. Some women tend to experience a wide range of emotions, such as sadness, confusion, guilt or shame. Emotional trauma after abortion usually fades away with time. However, if you find that your emotions are becoming too overwhelming, don?t hesitate to reach out for counseling with a mental health professional if necessary. It is important to recognize that the emotional effects of abortion can vary greatly among individuals. Apart from hormonal changes, factors such as personal beliefs, relationship dynamics, and societal stigma can significantly influence how one processes and copes with the experience. Some individuals may find themselves grappling with feelings of guilt, anger, shame, or regret following the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Additionally, the emotional aftermath of abortion can manifest in various ways, including a loss of self-esteem, feelings of isolation, and disruptions in sleep patterns that may lead to nightmares. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience challenges in their relationships or even contemplate thoughts of suicide during this vulnerable period. If you find yourself overwhelmed by your emotions or struggling to cope, it is essential to seek support and guidance from mental health professionals. Counseling can provide a safe space to explore and address the complex emotions that may arise after an abortion, facilitating healing and emotional well-being in the process

How Can I Recognize Emotional Trauma?

To understand the definition of emotional trauma, Cascade Behavioral Health specialists say, “Psychological or emotional trauma is damage or injury to the psyche after experiencing a frightening event or bothersome and may cause problems working or coping after the event”

After having an abortion, it is common to experience a wide range of emotions. While the physical recovery from an abortion is usually fairly straightforward, the emotional healing and dealing with trauma might take longer than expected. 

process can take much longer. It is important to recognize the signs of emotional trauma in order to start the healing process.

When dealing with the emotional aftermath of an abortion, it is important to give yourself time to grieve. It can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you have terminated a pregnancy, and it is ok to feel sad, confused or angry about it. Give yourself permission to process your feelings and allow yourself space to do so. Do whatever helps you heal, whether that’s talking with someone close to you, keeping a journal, writing poetry or taking a walk.

It is also important to know that healing after abortion healing isn’t a linear process; it’s ok to go back and forth between feeling relieved, regretful and other emotions.

Some signs of emotional trauma that you may experience after having an abortion include: intense grief and sadness, difficulty sleeping or eating, frequent crying spells, feeling anxious or fearful, outbursts of anger, guilt, or regret, avoiding places or conversations related to the abortion, or feeling disconnected from friends and family. If any of these feelings persist and interfere with your daily life, it may be necessary to seek professional help.

It is important to give yourself time and space to grieve and heal after an abortion. You may need to take some time away from your usual routine to allow yourself to process your emotions. Talk to friends and family who are supportive and understanding of your feelings. Connect with other people who have had abortions and create a safe space where you can talk openly about your experience without fear of judgment. Make sure to take care of yourself physically by getting enough rest and exercising regularly.

In addition to seeking professional help if needed, you can also benefit from attending support groups for people who have had abortions. These groups provide a safe and non-judgmental environment for individuals to share their experiences and receive support from others who have had similar experiences. Finding a therapist or counselor who specializes in working with individuals who have had abortions can also be very helpful in processing emotions and learning coping mechanisms for dealing with post-abortion stress.

Finally, practice self-compassion and patience as you go through this difficult process. It is important to remember that there is no one right way to feel after an abortion and that healing takes time. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions without judgement, and recognize that you are strong enough to get through this difficult experience.



According to mental health experts, emotional trauma is “damage or injury to the psyche after living through an extremely frightening or distressing event and may result in challenges in functioning or coping normally after the event.” 

Indicators that you are struggling with emotional trauma include symptoms like:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Shame

Remember that it is also not unusual to have trouble identifying these symptoms and how they are connected to your trauma. Speaking with someone you know and trust is a good way to begin processing your emotions.

There are also more serious symptoms that you may experience as a result of emotional trauma, including:

  • Suicidal impulses
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol

If you are struggling with one of the above, contact a professional mental health expert immediately to get the help you need.

What are the available abortion options

There are two types of abortion procedures should you decide that abortion s the right option for you.

medical abortion which involves taking medication to terminate the pregnancy without undergoing any kind of surgery and on the other hand a surgical abortion which involves removes the fetus from the uterus by performing a minor surger either with the help of a local or general anesthesia depending on the stage of the pregnancy.

Medical Abortion Procedure


Medication abortion option also referred as to as induced abortion is suitable option for women less than 12 weeks and is achieved by swallowing 2 types of abortion tablets.  

Mifepristone is an anti-hormone drug which acts by blocking the effects of progesterone – the hormone needed for a pregnancy to continue.

Misoprostol is taken 24 hrs later buccally or vaginally and it is meant to dilate the cervix and assists the uterus to expel the pregnancy.

Who qualifies for a medical abortion?

  • Women less than 12 weeks into the pregnancy.
  • Medical abortion offers more privacy, ie it can be done in your own privacy at home. 
  • Women afraid of needles because it requires no anaesthetic.
  • Most women say using abortion pills to terminate a pregnancy feels more natural.
  • Women are not financially stable and are seeking affordable abortion procedures. 
  • Women in areas will limited abortion services or can not travel to the nearest safe abortion clinic.

Risks associated with medical abortions

It is important to note that like any other medical procedure, medication abortion carries some risks that are not very common but worth knowing

  • A medical termination of pregnancy tends to consume more time since everything occurs naturally.  
  • Some women tend to experience digestive system discomfort during the process.
  • There is no sedation provided like performing surgical abortion procedures.  
  • In some cases there is a possibility of an incomplete abortion procedure which might require you to get more medication.  
  • There is a high possibility of infection during recovery if proper hygiene is not practiced. 

Surgical Abortion Procedure


In-clinic procedures also known as Surgical abortions are usually performed on the clinic premises under conscious sedation with the help of a local anaesthetic for optimal comfort.  

There are basically 2 types of surgical abortions depending on the duration of the pregnancy.

Who qualifies for a surgical abortion?

  • Women who past 12 weeks into the pregnancy.
  • Women with medical related conditions like an ectopic pregnancy must undergo a surgical procedure. 
  • Women afraid of blood since with medical abortions there more blood being seen. 
  • Breastfeeding mothers do not need to cease fee their little ones like while using the abortion tablets.

Risks of Surgical Abortions

When it comes to surgical procedures, there are a multitude of risks that should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, these risks can be quite severe and even fatal in some cases for instance: 

  • There is a high risk of hemorrhage during in-clinic abortion procedure.
  • Some women have adverse reactions to anesthesia.

Learn More

How much would an abortion cost?

The price of abortion depends on the duration of the pregnancy, abortion procedure to be done and the abortion clinic that will be assisting you with the process. 

In South Africa, abortions are offered free of charge in public hospitals as long as you’re less than 12 weeks. Private certified abortion providers may charge between R600 to R2,000 for medication abortions and Surgical procedures cost slightly more ranging from R2000 to R8,000.

I'm Not Sure If Abortion Is the right Option For Me. What Should I Do?

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, and still not sure what the best abortion option is, it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. You may be feeling conflicted and may need some extra support and guidance to help you navigate this difficult decision.

It is important to seek support and advice from a trusted healthcare provider who can provide you with information on the other available options which include parenting or adoption. 

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