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Coping After an Abortion

There is no right way or wrong way to feel after an abortion. You may feel happy, relieved, sad, ashamed, or any other feeling, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to feel however you need to feel. If you’re not okay, that’s fine. Abortion is a hard topic to talk about even with friends and family. You may feel alone. You may feel secluded. Just know that you are not alone.

Here are some things that may affect your ability to cope along with healthy coping skills to utilize during this (or any) time. Remember, if you feel like hurting yourself or someone else, reach out for help. Call 9-1-1, call your local crisis line, or reach out to Exhale Provoice’s hotline. Right now, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

*Support System
Being able to identify and reach out to supportive people at this time will be key. They will support you if you feel lost. They will can offer hugs if you need one. They can offer a listening ear. If you feel like you are a burden, remind yourself that you are not. If this feeling persists, seek a counselor or therapist to talk about how you’re feeling.

If you feel it, don’t fight it. Allow yourself this time to grieve. Allow yourself to feel however you’re feeling. It is okay to have an abortion and feel upset about it. It is okay to feel happy about it. It is okay to feel. Allow yourself to go through the gambit of emotions you experience.

If you’re not sure how you feel, sometimes journaling your experience is helpful. You can go back through and try to identify your feelings. If you’ve felt like a burden to others, sometimes this helps you to process. You can offer worried friends or family your journal if you aren’t ready to verbally articulate your experience.

*Take it one day at a time
It is okay feel overwhelmed. Be gentle with yourself. Take time for your body and mind to recover. Take in small increments; Today I have to work from 4pm-12am. I will wake up at 10am. I will do a load of laundry. You don’t have to think about tomorrow if you don’t want to. Focus on getting yourself through today.

*Take you time
Allow yourself to go for walks. Read a book that makes you happy. Listen to uplifting music. Eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Do what you need to to allow yourself small pieces of happiness. The more you allow this, the faster it will come back to you.

*See growth
Sometimes people will cut off their hair. Some will buy a plant. Both options allow physical proof that time has elapsed. Sometimes that proof makes the healing process easier.

*Set goals
When you’re ready, it is time to start looking forward. Perhaps you want to have the house cleaned this week. Maybe you want to get an A on the paper you’re writing in school. Set your goals, it’s the first step in moving forward.

*Refrain from mind altering substances
This is a difficult time without self medicating. Alcohol is a depressant and will not help you process what you need to. Marijuana and other drugs are “temporary” relief and most times doesn’t actually help. Instead many times you will be trapped inside those feelings.

*Share your story
Whether you want to share your story here, at an Abortion Speak Out, with the ProVoice community, or somewhere else, there are resources available if and when you’re ready to talk.

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