It’s ok to mourn over your abortion.

by Sarah Snow

November 16, 2017

I just want you to know, it’s ok to mourn over your abortion. Shortly after a break-up with my boyfriend of five years, it was shocking to see the positive sign on a pregnancy test. As a fierce advocate for pro-choice, what shocked me even more was my emotional reaction to the abortion after the fact.

The abortion was not an easy process for me. At the time, I lived on a small island 30-miles out at sea. Planned Parenthood was many miles away and inaccessible. The only doctor who prescribed the ‘abortion pill’ on island was an emotionless woman who seemed over her job. She was on vacation when I learned about the pregnancy. By the time she arrived back on island I was far enough along to experience morning sickness and other symptoms. The doctor had me undergo multiple ultrasounds to ensure I wasn’t over the 10-week cut off to take the pill. The well-meaning ultrasound technicians would congratulate me as we stared at the fetus displayed on the screen.

The process of the abortion pill was more painful than expected, and I was unprepared to see the lemon-sized blood clot I pushed out while sitting on the toilet. Immediately after the fact I experienced my first panic attack. A close friend came over and laid awake with me the rest of the night. Returning to work the next morning, I had my second panic attack. This was the beginning of a string of anxiety I would experience on and off for the next year.

After the abortion, I struggled with if I had made the right decision or not. This shook me because I’ve always considered myself a strong-willed woman. Family has always been important to me, and I’ve wanted kids for as long as I can remember. But I know it wasn’t the right time for me to raise a child. Having no partner or savings and just starting my career, I was not in an emotionally or financially-stable place. I can wholeheartedly say I do not regret my choice to have an abortion.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t grieve over the experience. During my brief pregnancy I began to see my body change in ways it never had before.  Even though the fetus was essentially a clot of blood, my body nourished and sheltered it for many weeks. Watching it be expelled from myself was not something I had adequately prepared for mentally.

If you are experiencing post-abortion anxiety I recommend you talk about your experience with others. Don’t be ashamed! Talk to friends, family, therapists, all of the above. I had a really supportive group of friends, but none who had abortions in the past. Although they were my rock, I realized that talking with women who have had similar experiences was something I really needed to heal. Support groups or zines like Shout Your Abortion really helped me process everything. Just knowing I wasn’t alone was comforting to say the least.

Not wanting to worry my family I didn’t tell them what had happened for a long while, and that’s something I regret. If you have a supportive family, reach out. I was surprised by my parent’s tenderness and wisdom. My mom especially helped me overcome my anxiety and heal, and it brought us closer than ever before.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I chose to go through with the pregnancy. And that’s ok! Life is crazy and unpredictable. You roll with the punches. But by sharing my experience with others and giving myself a chance to heal, I became a stronger and wiser woman. I hope women having similar experiences can come out feeling the same.


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