A woman describes her post-abortion grief

This post-abortion woman felt relieved when her abortion was over. But then the aftereffects began.

“When I went to be checked out by the doctor [after the abortion], an incredible sense of relief swept over me. It was over, finished. The doctor said I was fine and could look forward to having more children. Everything suddenly seemed okay and I could get on with my life now that the “problem” had been dealt with.

Looking back, I can see that I went into that clinic as one person and came out quite different…

I got back together with my boyfriend. We never talked about what I had done or where I had been; it maintained the denial…

Just 13 months after our wedding day, the marriage broke up. I gave up my career; I could not function properly.

Then I just went haywire. Between drinking and taking “uppers and downers”, I struggled with suicidal feelings; I was in a twilight zone where I hated myself, men, doctors and I suppose everything and everyone.”

She married again and had a son.

“… When Benjamin was born, I couldn’t relate to him. Certainly I loved him, but I was terrified of being a real mother to him. I always felt I’d damage him or break his little body somehow, or that I would lose him… Meanwhile I suffered from sleep disorders and couldn’t eat. I’d hallucinate and hear children crying, and dream of rows of tiny grey babies in chains.

Her second marriage fell apart as well.

With two broken marriages behind me, I got involved with a church group which helped you get through the grief over lost relationships. We thought we were dealing specifically with death, divorce and separation, but every time we moved into deeper territory, it was my abortion which caused me pain. In my denial I’d been calling it a “termination”, not abortion, and now my denial was being gently stripped away…

I went to my first SPUC [pro-life] conference. I’d been invited to hear a woman called Olivia Gans, the founder of American Victims of Abortion [a group for post-abortion women, to help them heal]. As she spoke about her life and the things that had been unearthed in the United States about women who had had abortions, I thought, “She’s talking about my life.”

I wanted to cry and scream with relief. I thought, “I’m not crazy after all!”…

She became involved with a post-abortion support group, British Victims of Abortion.

Now I knew I wasn’t alone. After an article about BVA appeared in Bella magazine, I had dozens and dozens of calls in one week from women like me. Healing came from being with other women, breaking down the isolation and naming the pain.”

Melanie Symonds, Phyllis Bowman And Still They Weep: Personal Stories of Abortion (The SPUC Educational Research Trust, 1996) 4 – 7

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About Sarah

Sarah is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.
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