Abortion recovery - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 67 Old 02-26-2005, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a friend who has just shared with me the abortion she had over 2 years ago.
I am needing some advice as to how to help her.
I would like some reputable sources of support for her.
She has gone to counselors, recovery retreats, psychologists, psychiatrists- etc.
I was thinking that just being able to go to a support group online might be helpful- sharing her feelings with other women who have gone thru the same thing- but I am scared because I do not want her to end up in a place where everyone is downing her and going with the pro life agenda.
If you have any info please let me know.....
She was going through this while I was pg- and that is why she did not tell me- and I am so sorry.....
Thank you in advance for any info you may have to offer.
Emilie
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#2 of 67 Old 02-26-2005, 10:00 AM
 
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I don't know of any on-line sites and would a bit hesitant to send her on-line anyway because of trolls. People I know who are pro-life would not down your friend, but would want her to be able to put that behind her and recover. I'll PM you.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#3 of 67 Old 02-26-2005, 10:35 AM
 
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Many of the crisis pregnancy type centers and any center that is not "planned parenthood" usually offers post abortion support groups. You might call around to whatever you find in the yellow pages in your area.
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#4 of 67 Old 02-26-2005, 11:38 AM
 
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All the crisis pregnancy centers in our area offer post-abortion counselling. I doubt that pro-lifers would "down" her, since that would be rather counterproductive to the desired outcome of counselling. There are also many post-abortive women who are involved in that type of counselling now, so "You're evil" probably wouldn't be thier first response to a woman seeking help. At the very least, such a place might be able to help her connect with an IRL support group.
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#5 of 67 Old 02-26-2005, 12:00 PM
 
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i can reccomend an excellant book.... unspeakable losses by kim kluger-bell.
its about all kinds of loss including abortion. it will let her know she is not alone. a loss is a loos no matter how you look at it. your friend is hurting and i am glad that she has somone like you she can talk to!! pick up the book, you may have to order online at barnes and noble.
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#6 of 67 Old 02-26-2005, 01:44 PM
 
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I was curious about your question so googled a little and found this site:
http://www.afterabortion.com/

It has info and support re: Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, and a message board, which claims to be politically neutral:
Quote:
Neutrality Information
To preserve the supportive, shared healing purpose of our site, we don't allow discussion of prolife or prochoice views or issues here. We all have different views, and they are all valid and important, but in order to stay supportive of each other, we must avoid those topics. If you are interested in discussing prochoice or prolife views, you can search the web for other sites that offer discussion on those types of issues. All conversations here should be strictly about support, and not about PC or PL views, news about abortion or abortion's legal status.
I didn't check out the message board - it is private, which is a good thing - so I don't know how that works out in practice. But sounds promissing.

I never heard of PASS before, but skimming through their info on it, I thought it sounded pretty reasonable, not pro-life propaganda, and very descriptive of what a close friend of mine went thru.
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#7 of 67 Old 02-26-2005, 02:43 PM
 
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My heart aches for your friend.
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#8 of 67 Old 03-12-2005, 10:51 PM
 
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You are such a good friend!!
There is an excellent book called, Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion by Theresa Burke with David C. Reardon.
Excellent read.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
Also, I have a friend who is an abortion counselor at a local prc. All the counselors have had abortions so they are especially helpful. Here is another place to call:Call 888-217-8679http://www.word-of-hope.org/

You're a great friend!
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#9 of 67 Old 10-05-2006, 01:15 AM
 
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A note about this...

I had an abortion 5 years ago. I was a member of the PASS site http://www.afterabortion.com and it was the most wonderful site that I could have come across at such a time. Everything is kept very private, and there are recovery programs, chat rooms, and plenty of resources to help guide those women and men who may need it. I highly recommend it, as losing a baby to abortion is a very stressful, emotionally taxing, heartbreaking experience.

One thing I encountered is that people tend to look at those who have had an abortion as if it is their fault. While it may be, and sometimes is, their decision, I assure you that the pain, depression, and grief is no less real than losing a family member any other way. Many are plagued with regret, "what if", loss, and self-loathing. I was suicidal for a long time after my abortion, and had absolutely NO one to talk to. This site was literally my saving grace. Whereas there are many groups out there which will offer guidance and counseling, even through doctor's referrals, after a miscarriage or stillbirth, you'd be hard pressed to find an abortion clinic which offers the same resources. I in NO way mean to imply that my pain was any greater than anyone else's. Please don't take it that way. I only mean to say that we all grieve alone, and any support we can find is very, very welcome support. I still log on now and then, and though now I'm on the recovery boards, it helps me to be able to try to help others who are suffering. That sounds selfish, but it's a very long process.

That, in fact, is why I have been searching this board and have resurrected this very old thread... I'm 16 weeks this week, the same as I was in 2001. I'm feeling a lot of the same grief and having to go through a lot of the same mourning as I did five years ago... Abortion does not seem to be a common topic on this board, but I've come far enough to talk about it in this setting, and hopefully I can find some kind of closure soon.

Also, there is a very good "pregnant after abortion" forum on the site.
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#10 of 67 Old 10-05-2006, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh mama. I am sorry to hear you are having a hard time now. I think of that with my friend also- like how will she do then.

No- abortion of course is a really difficult thing to talk about- especially on a board of this size.

Hugs to you on your journey of healing during your pregnancy.
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#11 of 67 Old 10-05-2006, 12:36 PM
 
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I would be very cautious about any support groups offered through a PRC, since most PRCs have a very clear agenda, regardless of what they claim. Also, "post-abortion stress" is not a diagnosis recognized by the APA, or any legitimate research, so again, I would be very cautious of any organization that offered support for that specific "syndrome".

mama to Max (2/02) and Sophie (10/06); wife to my fabulous girl
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#12 of 67 Old 10-05-2006, 12:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maxmama View Post
I would be very cautious about any support groups offered through a PRC, since most PRCs have a very clear agenda, regardless of what they claim. Also, "post-abortion stress" is not a diagnosis recognized by the APA, or any legitimate research, so again, I would be very cautious of any organization that offered support for that specific "syndrome".
You're absolutely right, it's not recognized. I only speak from my first hand experience about both the site and the experience. Losing a child by your own doing is extremely traumatic, and in my limited experience with abortion (which was plenty for me), I found that the "caretakers" who oversee and perform the procedures are often very callous about the situation. Just as doctors who attend births at times feel no restraint in doing the unneccessary, abortion clinicians do just the damndest things- the "stress" I felt before, during, and after was very real. And what I found on that board was a group of women who were able to put aside judgment because they, too, had been there, in a similar place, and were going through or recovering from the pain of that choice.

It's very difficult to talk about this with such a wide audience of mixed views on the topic. It's something that I will always regret, always feel less of a woman because of. And I understand that this board may not be the ideal place to do it. But "grief and loss" is exactly what I'm feeling, and am having difficulties with my pregnancy because of it. Just kind of came here to vent.
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#13 of 67 Old 10-05-2006, 06:07 PM
 
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Deuxceleste,
Thank you for sharing your post-abortion journey with us. I know it is difficult. There aren't many places to turn.
Congratulations on your new baby on the way. It is so good you are working on these things---and getting help for yourself. My cousin had two abortions before giving birth to her dd, and she said it was very difficult for her to bond w/ her baby.


And as for whether or not APA recognizes post-abortion grief, I don't think it really much matters what they recognize. I'm sure they have their reasons, but I'll take my personal experiences any day. I've known dozens and dozens of women who have had abortions (and probably more who haven't told me) and they all have expressed the feelings you just wrote down in one way or another. I don't know if the APA recognizes post c/s trauma, but I co-lead a support group through ICAN and I've talked to lots of women who were very upset by their c/s----so upset they sought professional help. So whether or not they specifically recognize what caused the ptsd, is irrelevent to me and this post.

The interesting thing for me about post-abortion recovery, is how long it takes for some of these feelings to emerge----- I have one friend who is in her 50's and has 3 children, many grandchildren and a very full life, but was crying about her abortion that occurred over 30 years ago. Maybe the website your recommend talks about that. I will check it out.

Thank you again for sharing.
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#14 of 67 Old 10-10-2006, 09:48 PM
 
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Deuxceleste: Many to you. I very much understand and share your pain. I wish I had found a site where I could talk to others with similar experiences after I had my abortion. It was almost 11 years ago now, and it still feels fresh- I am also newly pregnant with my second child, and it does cause that grief to resurface. I also found most of the people at the clinic to be quite cold about the procedure and my emotions. So much so that I did not keep my follow-up appointment, and fell into a solitary depression questioning my worth as a person. I think it's important for women to speak about these experiences not for any political agenda (I'm still pro-choice)- but because it is essential for healing and helps de-stigmatize the experience.

Thanks again for sharing.

Peace,
Candace
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#15 of 67 Old 10-15-2006, 01:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
I also found most of the people at the clinic to be quite cold about the procedure and my emotions. So much so that I did not keep my follow-up appointment, and fell into a solitary depression questioning my worth as a person. I think it's important for women to speak about these experiences not for any political agenda (I'm still pro-choice)- but because it is essential for healing and helps de-stigmatize the experience.
Yeah, what she said...

I felt like a cow in a herd at the clinic I went to. I didn't want to be there in the first place and their idea of pre-procedure "counseling" was to stick 10 of us in a room with a nurse who asked if we had any questions. There are times I feel like if I had actually gotten to speak with someone for just two minutes I would either have made a different choice or not feel so guilty about the one I made. I mean, logically I know I did the right thing, but tell my heart that. In a lot of ways it was even worse because I already had a child and that was the only way I could think about it and I was there with some really young girls who were being way too glib (prob their way of coping). I never kept my follow up appointment either. I use to volunteer at that clinic as an escort, and I couldn't even drive by the place anymore - I actually would go out of my way to avoid it. If we hadn't moved I'd probably still be taking the long way to work....

And subsequent pregnancies do cause so much to resurface. My next (planned) pregnancy after that didn't end well, and in addition to the grief there I had this feeling that I just didn't deserve to have any more children after what I had done. So of course I was nervous and twitchy for the duration of the next pregnancy...

This topic isn't one that is cut and dry, and so many people seem to think that once the "procedure" is over that everything is fixed and it's time to move on. It's been over 5 years, and I had to wait 3 days to even reply to this thread and I'm still crying all over the place. I really wish I had someone to talk with then - I think it would make things a lot easier now...
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#16 of 67 Old 10-15-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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to you MMS. I totally relate to what you wrote, and wish I had some wisdom that was helpful. I wish it were easier- but then, I don't think it is should be easy. It is a such a difficult choice, and the guilt can be overwhelming. Like you, I know that I did the right thing for where I was and who I was with at the time, but sometimes even this knowledge feels like a copout. I think when you are up against having done something that goes against your very core, regardless of circumstance, it's going to hurt your psyche. I try to aknowledge the hurt and pain, and use it as incentive to be the best mamma I can. This is the only way I know of to "pay back" the universe, if that makes any sense.

The one thing that did help me so much was to talk to my little one that was not to be. I had been hearing children's voices in my head for a few months after, during my depression, and thought- wow, I'm really going crazy! I took a long road trip to N. Maine to recover, and one morning woke up at sunrise over a still lake. That morning, I told the little spirit how sad and sorry I was, how hard it was to make that decision and that I wished her well and to be born into a lovely family when she was ready. Something happened after this- I felt heard and accepted, and soon after the voices left. The gift of the whole terrible experience has been the deepening of my spiritual path- and a real quest to understand spirit and soul, and to live life in harmony with universal values.

I hope you are able to continue your path to recovery, and if you'd like to talk about anything, feel free to PM me.

Be well,
Candace
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#17 of 67 Old 10-15-2006, 05:03 PM
 
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I'm really glad this thread is here. It's so hard for women who are mourning the loss from an abortion, because there is just so much stigma Thanks for being a good friend, Emilie.
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#18 of 67 Old 10-16-2006, 10:01 PM
 
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That sounds like a site that could be very helpful. Thank you for sharing it, Deuxceleste.

Like adoption (something else we are discussing in depth right now), people's political opinions so often get in the way of allowing sufferers to express their grief.
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#19 of 67 Old 10-17-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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I can relate to what a lot of you are saying. After the fact, I would see things, hear things, and feel things that could not possibly have actually been there. I would stay up literally all night long, watching the same stupid VHS movies over and over because I was terrified of the nightmares I would have, and didn't want to sleep until it was light outside and I knew everyone else in the world was awake, doing their own thing, going about their lives. I was suicidal for about 8 months to a year, and there was no one to talk to in person.

Yes, it's a cattle call... I remember even watching the movie they had on in the waiting room- it, in my opinion, made entirely too many references to children and pregnancy, and I remember thinking "did these people WATCH this movie first??" While the nurse in the room where I had the procedure done was very kind, help my hand, the u/s tech f***ed up and TOLD me that the baby was a boy. I still do NOT know what possessed her to do that... here we are trying to disassociate ourselves with the baby, and she's practically giving advice on what to name it.

The problem I'm having is this- I'm finding it VERY difficult to bond with this baby. I HAVE reached such an ability to disassociate that it's now affecting me in this pregnancy. It's not that there's no excitement, or that I don't love the little bean (more like a grapefruit now I suppose) or that I'm not incredibly happy with dp and the new baby on the way. It's just that I, somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, am preparing myself mentally for the fact that baby just may NOT make it, or that I'll be punished in some way (which sounds selfish, because that doesn't only affect me), or even just that it's wrong to attach myself to this baby but not to the last one.

While I'm still pro-choice (a circumstance is a circumstance), it's hard to justify that pro-choice philosophy while you're pregnant. It's very, very hard. And I don't even bother offering up explanations to others about my "political views" which go far beyond politics to anyone who's actually experienced it first hand.

TigerTail was absolutely correct- sometimes political views do get in the way of humanity. Sometimes people just need a shoulder to cry on, instead of a gavel to judge.
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#20 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 03:37 PM
 
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*hugs Deuxceleste*

I can only say two things: one is that there's a great book, Pregnancy after a Loss, by Carol Cirruli Lanham. It has a whole section on not feeling "bonded" with a subsequent pregnancy. And it doesn't smack us over the head for abortions, either.

I had an abortion I didn't want to have (but the father was threatening and abusive, and I was frightened) and that was followed by a stillbirth. I felt so punished. I wanted to die. I still don't like January, and there are things I can't do or listen to without crying.

I felt like my first singleton daughter after Kyrie would die: I bought her nothing, didn't mention her to my family until it was obvious, and as freaky as it will sound, when other mothers were planning baptism ceremonies, I was planning a funeral! Anyway, she was born, she was alive (and her clothes and equipment had been bought by a wise friend, God bless her).

To make the long story short, we did bond. Just not until after she was born.
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#21 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 04:06 PM
 
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For those of you with regrets...please be gentle on yourself. Hindsight is always 20/20 and you made the best decision you couldve made at the time.

I wish you all healing and peace.
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#22 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 04:25 PM
 
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#23 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 04:32 PM
 
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She may actually feel "much better". Some women do feel relief after their abortion. And some women dont. And some feel both.

You could mention a thread you say in passing as a way to bring up how she's doing. Just a thought.
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#24 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 04:39 PM
 
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#25 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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www.4exhale.org

that's a site recommended by many
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#26 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 06:23 PM
 
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Yeah I also feel like I should mention that not everyone does regret or go through a lot of grief after an abortion. The thing that bothered me most, was people insisting that I was feeling sad when I wasn't. It just gets insulting after a while to be told you you are feeling based on someones assumptions. But you all seem like such wonderful friends. So I think the best thing to do is offer to listen/be there for your friends whenever they need it (make sure to empthasize the whenever, because grieft might not happen for another six months or something). If they would like your help, then giving them a book or recommending a website would be ok. Otherwise to me, it seems like it would just feel pushy.

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#27 of 67 Old 10-18-2006, 08:29 PM
 
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#28 of 67 Old 10-21-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Melaya;6309163] So I think the best thing to do is offer to listen/be there for your friends whenever they need it (make sure to empthasize the whenever, because grieft might not happen for another six months or something). QUOTE]

Absolutely. And I think that sometimes what sets things off for me is anniversaries. Anniversary of due date, anniversary of ab, etc. I can be completely fine for two years until something just HITS me wrong, (as in the instance of this pg, of course)... So bringing it up may or may not be a good idea.

As far as your friend is concerned, I think the best way to handle it is to let her know, the next time she brings it up, that though (and I'm only ASSUMING this is the case, so please don't take offense if I'm way off) you haven't experienced what she's going through first hand (and if you have, then of course you may choose to share that with her), you respect and understand that this was a very difficult decision for her and that there are feelings as a result that she owns that she may not have expected. That in talking with ladies who have experienced abortion as well, you've come to understand that there are some resources out there which may or may not help her, but which may at least let her anonymously vent with other mamas who have made the same decision.

As a side note, I'd like to thank you all VERY much- I was definitely extremely hesitant to post the initial post up here, because this seems to be a pro-life board. In my mind I was risking a lot by potentially ostracizing myself from you all, who I've come to count on for support and long distance friendship over the past few months, just in the everyday pregnancy "stuff." Your support and encouragement have made this so much easier for me, and have helped me more than I can say.

You're all super-mamas.
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#29 of 67 Old 10-21-2006, 05:17 PM
 
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#30 of 67 Old 10-21-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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