Does Post Abortion Stress Affect You?

If you’ve had an abortion…

  • Do you find yourself struggling to turn off feelings connected to your abortion(s), perhaps telling yourself over and over again to forget about it?
  • Do you find yourself avoiding books, magazines and television programs that deal with the subject of abortion?
  • Are you affected by physical reminders of your abortion (babies, pregnant women, etc)?
  • Are you uncomfortable around children?
  • Are there certain times of the year you find yourself depressed, sick or accident-prone, especially around the anniversary date of the abortion or would-be birth date?
  • Are you resentful and unforgiving toward anyone because of his or her involvement in your abortion(s)—parents, boyfriend, abortionist, friends, husband, or even yourself?

Post-Abortion Stress is a type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which develops when a woman is unable to work through her emotional responses resulting from the trauma of an abortion. The grief she may feel after an abortion is seldom acknowledged but often repressed or denied.

Post-Abortion Stress happens when the grieving process is not completed. It may occur within a few months following an abortion, or it may surface many years later.

Symptoms of PAS/T

Symptoms of PAS/T do not always appear together nor will each woman experience every one of them. Nonetheless, if you find that you are experiencing five to seven of the following emotions following your abortion, you might consider seeking help for PAS/T. (Again, remember that these symptoms may not surface until many years after the procedure.)

A listing of the most common feelings and emotional symptoms of PAS/T are given here (in alphabetical order):

  • Alienation
  • Anger/Rage
  • Anguish
  • Anxiety
  • Betrayal
  • Bitterness
  • Confusion
  • Degradation
  • Depression
  • Despair
  • Distrust
  • Exploitation
  • Fears about losing a child, God’s punishment, another pregnancy, inferiority, infertility, or failure
  • Flashbacks, nightmares, or sleep disorders
  • Frustration
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Horror
  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Numbness
  • Panic
  • Preoccupation with anniversary date or due date
  • Regret
  • Rejection
  • Remorse
  • Resentment
  • Self-condemnation
  • Self-hatred
  • Shame
  • Sorrow
  • Unable to forgive self
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Unworthiness
  • Along with these predominantly emotional symptoms, researchers have also noted behavioral changes that women report in their daily lives. They include (also in alphabetical order):
  • Abusive behavior
  • Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Avoidance of baby reminders (like baby showers, baby stores, etc.)
  • Changes to relationship/marriage (70% of relationships/marriages break up within 1 year of an abortion, 90% within 5 years)
  • Control issues
  • Crying spells
  • Desire for atonement/replacement child
  • Difficulty in all types of intimacy
  • Division of time into “before” and “after” the abortion
  • Eating disorders
  • Failure to bond with subsequent children
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Loss of normal sources of pleasure
  • Marital stress
  • Need for financial success
  • Over-protective of living children
  • Promiscuity or sexual frigidity
  • Reduced motivation
  • Secretive behavior
  • Self-punishing and/or self-degrading behavior
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Strained relationship with living children
  • Suicidal impulses
  • Toleration of abusive relationships
  • Withdrawal

A woman experiencing Post-Abortion Stress needs to complete the natural grieving process. We offer consultation to guide her through this process. All our consulting services are free and confidential. For more information on Abortion Recovery Counseling and to Contact Us, click here.