Earlier this week an Options client chose to have an abortion. No one expected that she would go this route including herself. At her last Options appointment, she expressed a desire to carry but something mobilized her to end her pregnancy and there was no turning back.
It would be fair to assume that her association with Options ended with her abortion but that was not the case.
Instead of disappearing from our scope of services our client chose to keep in contact with Options after her abortion. She felt that everyone at Options really cared about her, especially her pregnancy counselor with whom she shared a relationship, and so she reached out to us in a phone conversation.
When asked how she was doing after her abortion, she replied:
“I’m a mess. I never expected to feel this way.”
Most women who experience post-abortive pain suffer alone and in silence. They want to put their abortion experience behind them but certain triggers, even after a long period of time, may bring them bubbling up to the surface when they least expect it.
In the case of our client, she felt safe enough to verbalize how she was struggling with her Options pregnancy counselor. Communicating is a necessary first step in the process of transforming the pain of abortion into healing and peace through God’s infinite mercy.
We invited her to come back. She was grateful for the compassionate, non-judgemental response from her counselor that led her to openly share what she was feeling.
Physically her abortion was over. She had already been to her post-op appointment.
Emotionally, however, her abortion experience was still very much present in her heart and in her mind. She felt alone and miserable. Her pain wasn’t physical but her sadness and regret were causing her acute distress.
Too often post-abortion stress is underreported because many women feel shame that isolates them with their pain and prevents them from seeking help. Feeling sorrow for an abortion and seeking forgiveness are healthy steps to healing and peace, while feeling shame often leads to depression or worse.
Options is all about supporting women throughout their pregnancies but that doesn’t mean we abandon women who choose abortion. We are here for women after abortion if they are hurting on the other side of their choice. Our care for women is real -not just because they are pregnant but because they are valued as unique individuals worthy of our care, love, and respect.
Everyone knows that Options is a safe place for pregnant women but never forget that we are a safe place for post-abortive women too.
Please share this post if you or someone you know needs after-abortion care.