We've talked a lot about losing long-expected babies. But what if a baby wasn't in your plans? There are any number of reasons a woman may find that she is unexpectedly pregnant with a child she does not want, for whatever reason. And in these cases, she may choose to abort the pregnancy.
In 2011, 21% of pregnancies were ended by abortion. But because abortion is still so controversial, many women don't get the help they need after the abortion. By this, I mean that because many women will not talk about their abortion(s), they then deal with all the emotional repercussions--good and bad--by themselves. This puts a lot of pressure on a woman.
There has been a sort of statistics war over the years on whether or not women who have had an abortion are at a higher risk for things like depression, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, or suicide. (If you want to read some articles from both sides, check out this site and this site.) I'm not going to argue on that hot topic, but I do want to point out valid research that says that, just like some women who give birth experience post-partum depression, some women who have abortions experience a similar deep depression following the abortion. The most common factor in determining who is at higher risk for this kind of depression is whether you have a history of mental illness or depression before you got pregnant (the same way it's a determining factor in post-partum depression).
According to What's Your Grief, post-abortion emotions may include relief, guilt, shame, isolation, regret, and/or sadness--in any combination or order, or even none at all. Not everyone will have the same emotional experience, because each situation is different.
In any case, it is very likely that you need at least one person in your life you can confide in, who can help you sort through your feelings and emotions, or even who can gently direct you toward professional help if you need it.
Know that you are not alone in your confusing sea of emotions, and that there are places and people ready to reach out and help you.
If you'd like to read stories from other women who have been through abortions, check out the following pages:
If you're looking for help after you've had an abortion, check out the following resources:
Project Rachel - Hope After Abortion (this is a faith-based organization)