How to Recover from an Abortion

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Consider confiding in someone you can trust.,
Treat yourself to funny movies, books, and other forms of entertainment while you are resting.,
Don’t distract yourself from your feelings so completely that you fail to fully process, and thereby heal from, the experience.,
Cry as much as you need to.,
Do art.,
Talk.,
Ask for what you need from your partner or support person.

Who do you know who is compassionate and would listen without judgment? Think about which of your friends, family members, mentors, and other allies you feel safest around. They should be good listeners, able to reflect compassion, and pro-choice. Perhaps you know others who have had abortions, or who have supported loved ones who have. If you don’t feel you can trust anyone in your close circle with this matter, there are other resources out there, such as Exhale, an after-abortion counseling talk line.

, Give yourself time just to laugh and feel at ease.

, Take time just to be with yourself, a significant other, friend, or supportive mentor.

, It is absolutely okay to feel grief. Don’t judge your feelings. Let them move through you.

, Try journaling, drawing, painting, collaging, songwriting, or any other form of creative expression that calls to you.

, You can even try talking into a recorder (a tape recorder, computer program… there are even iPhone apps for this nowadays) if you just need to get something off your chest.

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If you are in a relationship, remember that, as difficult as your experience is, your partner is probably struggling too. He may feel guilty, conflicted, stressed. He probably feels remorseful to see you suffering, and feels some sense of guilt for causing your pain. He may not be good at conveying his true feelings, and may not know how to help. Ask for what you need. Tell him how he can support you. Men like to be of service in tangible ways. He will likely feel much better – and thereby be more confident, and emotionally present – if there is something clear-cut he can do, such as to buy you a heating pad and rub your back.
If you just need him to listen to your feelings, then tell him that, too. (Sometimes when women share their feelings with male partners, the men assume they need to ‘fix’ something. Instead of listening to what you’re saying, they’re listening for how they can help – and often become frustrated, and leave you feeling unheard. Lighten the load for both of you: tell him you just need him to listen, that’s all.)
If your partner is unwilling to support you, or makes you feel worse, remember that your needs come first right now. If he is being inconsiderate, insulting or guilt-tripping you, or simply unable to provide any support at all, it is best for you to take some space from him right now, and seek the support of friends who can truly be there for you. If he was not supportive of your decision or your healing, you have good reason to re-evaluate the relationship, but wait until the dust has settled and you’ve healed this issue before taking on a potentially stressful relationship reassessment. Also, learn to Recognize-a-Potentially-Abusive-Relationship.

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