Mental Health and Abortion

by A

February 28, 2022

I found out I was pregnant in December of last year. I was in my last semester of undergrad and a week away from four incredibly demanding and difficult final exams. I scheduled an appointment at planned parenthood that day, but I couldn’t be seen for a week. By the time of my appointment, I had just reached the 6-week cutoff for abortions in Texas. Luckily, I was able to receive care out of state. But due to extenuating circumstances, I would need to wait roughly 3 weeks and hope and pray that I wouldn’t be too far along by then. At the clinic the protestors were horrible. They had megaphones and signs and shouted horrible things. And they were virtually at the front door of the clinic the entire time. Once I was in the clinic, I got my blood work done and an ultrasound. Luckily it was not too late, and I was able to begin the abortion pill process.

I don’t regret my abortion at all. I don’t see myself as a mother and the thought of going through with the pregnancy never crossed my mind. So, I was surprised when a few days after my abortion I started to notice that my mental health was declining. My abortion did not trigger my mental health decline, but I think that the experience did. Finding out I was pregnant right before finals terrified me. Being denied an abortion terrified me. Having to wait weeks until I saw another doctor, and dealing with morning sickness, cramping, and breast pain at that time was terrifying. Not being able to confide in anyone about what I was going through was so painful. The protestors outside the clinic were so cruel to me and every other person who walked in and out of that building. Being required (twice) to look at the ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat was twisted. The amount of bleeding and cramping I experienced while taking the pill was unnerving and unlike anything I’ve experienced. And then there is the waiting period after taking the pill where you wonder if it worked or not. When I realized that I was dealing with mental health problems post-abortion I started looking for help. But a lot of the sites I found discussing mental health and abortion were “pro-life” propaganda sites. I know that I am experiencing something, and I don’t know who to go to about it or who to talk to. I do know this though, getting an abortion did not traumatize me. Abortion stigma traumatized me. Restrictions on abortion traumatized me and put me through an unnecessary and stressful experience, the ramifications of which I am still dealing with today. I also feel guilty for feeling this way, because I AM relieved that the abortion was successful, and I know how lucky I am to have even gotten one in the first place. That’s why I want to share my experience. It helps to vent about these things, but I also hope that if there’s anyone out there dealing with the same thing they now know they aren’t alone.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories. It helps to know just how varying people’s experiences with abortion are and I feel less guilty or “strange” for having a different reaction to my abortion experience.

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