Abortion loss is a deeply personal and emotional experience, as a result, negative lifelong effects on a person’s mental and emotional health occur. The grieving process following an abortion can be complicated and challenging, therefore talking about it in a safe, confidential space can be healing.
Five Stages of Grief
Denial is refusing to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation. It might be unconscious or conscious defense mechanism and perfectly normal, however, some people can get stuck in this stage when dealing with a chosen pregnancy termination which is not easy to avoid or ignore.
Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with abortion loss show anger with themselves, and/or with others, especially those involved. Directing this anger towards external factors and blaming others or circumstances for their loss is common. Statements like “Why did this happen to me?” or “It’s not fair!” are often associated with this stage.
An expression of bargaining happens by making promises, either to themselves or a higher power to make the pain go away. Common statements during this stage include “If only I had done something differently” or “Please, just let things go back the way they were.”
As a person begins to fully comprehend the extent and impact of their loss, feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness may surface. Some signs include; being withdrawn socially, disruptions in sleep and appetite, and trying to numb feelings with drugs or alcohol. A statement like “I don’t see the point anymore” are common. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment even though it’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc.
In the final stage, a gradual acknowledgement of choice takes place. This does not mean forgetting or the end of grieving, but the acceptance of responsibility. A sense of peace or inner calm begins to develop as well as a decision to move on. One might say “I can’t change what happened, but I will not be stuck in it”.