How To Recover From an Abortion?
Though it can never be an easy or joyful thing, abortion is an exceedingly common procedure that many women feel the need to undergo at some point in their lives. Yet the subject is extremely taboo, surrounded with religious shame, political oppression, and other social pressures. This unfortunate situation leaves women feeling alone and afraid when considering, during, and after the process of having an abortion - just when they need support the most. Keep scrolling after the jump to learn how to support yourself or a loved one when healing from an abortion, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
How to Recover from an Abortion
1. Know that you are not alone. Around the globe, the lifetime average is about one abortion per woman.
2. Realize that abortion is a physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging experience, no matter how strong you are or what your religious beliefs may be.Allow yourself time, energy and resources to experience whatever you need to at this time in order to heal on all levels. Take a week off from work or school if you can
3. Consider confiding in someone you can trust.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.
4. Treat yourself to funny movies, books, and other forms of entertainment while you are resting.Give yourself time just to laugh and feel at ease.
5. Don’t distract yourself from your feelings so completely that you fail to fully process, and thereby heal from, the experience.Take time just to be?with yourself, a significant other, friend, or supportive mentor.
6. Cry as much as you need to. It is absolutely okay to feel grief. Don’t judge your feelings. Let them move through you.
7. Do art. Try journaling, drawing, painting, collaging, songwriting, or any other form of creative expression that calls to you.
8. Talk. 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.
9. Ask for what you need from your partner or support person.If you are in a relationship, remember that, as difficult as your experience is, your partner is probably struggling too.If you just need him to listen to your feelings, then tell him that, too. If your partner is unwilling to support you, or makes you feel worse, remember that your needs come first right now.
10. Seek guidance.If you feel so moved, seek the guidance of mentors, counselors, or spiritual advisers you feel comfortable with within your own spiritual or religious tradition, or who are nonsectarian. Be careful to choose individuals who can treat you with compassion, not judgment. And remember that ultimately, you are your own best guide.
11. Get the lessons.Be open to receiving the message of the experience as a whole. What might this experience of being temporarily, unexpectedly pregnant have come here to show you What life lessons did it bring up for you, or in your relationship? What parts of yourself do you know better now? What do you feel inspired to do with your life now that you did not before?
12. Communicate your feelings.You may wish to think about your reasons for not choosing parenthood at this time. What goals do you have that you wouldn’t be able to complete if you were to have to raise a child right now? Consider which of these goals are most meaningful to you. Can you nurture your efforts, or “brainchildren”, as you would your own child? This experience may bring to the fore “big picture” questions in your life, such as, “who am I? Where am I going and, What is my purpose?” These are good questions to ask at any time. Welcome them, and be patient with the answers. Take time every day to meditate, pray, sing, journal, read self-help books, seek counsel, or do whatever it is that helps you discover your inner truth.
13. Avoid moderate to intense exercise for a week following abortion.Going for a walk, doing gentle yoga or pilates may help as soon as you feel you have the energy for it. Avoid doing inversions in yoga or anything that feels like a strain.
14. Do not have sex or insert anything into the vagina for at least a week, or as long as your health care provider tells you to.
15. If you are experiencing nausea, your health care provider may prescribe anti-nausea medication.You may find that salty crackers, dry toast, ginger ale or ginger tea can soothe the nausea. Eat small, frequent, fresh meals, and avoid excessively fatty or sugary foods.
16. Rest as much as you can.Allow yourself to sleep 12 hours a night if that is what your body is asking for. You’re not lazy - you’re healing.
17. Make yourself (or your loved one) comfortable with a heating pad or hot water bottle, pain pills (non-aspirin), flowers, candles, natural light, privacy,Aromatherapy, soothing and uplifting music, a box of tissues, and anything else that makes you feel completely at peace.
18. Have a friend, partner, or massage therapist gently massage the belly and low back with soothing oils.A whole body, back, or foot massage may also do wonders to soothe your nerves.
Feelings of guilt and low self esteem are common after abortion. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and to hold them with compassion. Steer clear of individuals and organizations that prey on and reinforce these negative feelings as they will only slow down your healing process. You need only positive, compassionate influences at this time. Keep your boundaries if needed.