Emotional Effects

Following abortion, many women feel initial relief. The perceived crisis is gone and life may return to normal. But for many other women, the crisis is not over and significant problems can develop months or even years later. Women who have experienced abortion may have some of the following symptoms: 

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  • Regret
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or behavior
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Abusive relationships
  • Promiscuity
  • Flashbacks
  • Anxiety
    (headaches, dizziness, pounding heart, abdominal cramps, muscle tightness, difficulty sleeping)
  • Depression
    (sad mood, sudden & uncontrollable crying episodes, deterioration of self-concept, sleep &appetite disturbances, reduced motivation, loss of normal sources of pleasure, thoughts of suicide)
  • Self-abuse/self-destructive behaviors
    (eating disorders, alcohol and/or substance abuse, cigarette smoking, abusive relationships, promiscuity, failure to take of one's self medically)
  • Avoidance behaviors
    (of anything remindful of pregnancy & children)
  • Re-experiencing events related to the abortion
    (persistent thoughts & flashback memories or nightmares involving themes of lost or dismembered babies)
  • Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again
    (representing an unconscious hope that a new pregnancy will replace the baby that was aborted)
  • Anxiety over fertility and childbearing issues
    (being convinced that God will punish by withholding future pregnancies)
  • Interruption or disruption of the bonding with present and/or future children
    (under-bonding or over-bonding with other children, whether born before or after the woman has had an abortion)
  • Psychological "numbing"
    (the unconscious vow to never let anything hurt this badly again can hamper the ability to enter fully into an emotional, intimate relationship)
  • Anniversary reaction
    (an increase in symptoms around the time of the anniversary of the abortion, the due date of the aborted child or both)
  • Brief psychotic disorder
    (a psychotic break with reality lasting a short period of time within two weeks of the abortion) 

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, our pregnancy center offers confidential, compassionate care and support designed to help women and men work through these feelings. You are not alone. If you wish to begin the healing process from a past abortion, we offer one-on-one counseling free of charge. Call us for more information or call for an appointment. It would be our privilege to walk with you through this trial and come out healed and healthier.

To learn more about abortion's impact, visit www.standapart.org and click on Resources or Downloads or visit http://www.ramahinternational.org/post-abortion-syndrome.html