why it's ok to have an abortion
tell me it's ok to have an abortion
how do you live after an abortion
how do you live with yourself after an abortion
how to live with yourself after an abortion
happy with abortion choice
These are some of the search terms that have led the Google-using public to our humble blog. Whoever you are, I will tell you: it's ok to have an abortion. I also want to tell you that you're not alone. In the US, 35% of women have an abortion by the age of 45 -- that's one in three women. Odds are, you know several women who have sought abortion care. And here are some strategies to, as you put it, live with yourself after an abortion:
- Talk to someone about the abortion, and about how you feel about it. It could be a friend or family member who you know will be emotionally supportive, or it could be a counselor or therapist that you see on a regular basis, or it could be a total stranger at Exhale, an after-abortion counselling hotline.
- Spend time with people who are good for you, even if you choose not to share your abortion experience with them. One of the biggest factors in a woman's wellbeing after an abortion is the acceptance and love of people around her -- not specifically about the abortion, but in general.
- Cope with the problems in your life. The other big factor in a woman's wellbeing after an abortion: her wellbeing before the abortion. If you were in a tough situation before your abortion, try to reach out to people or organizations that can help you. Other than Exhale, the referrals I give most often in my work are the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network's online hotline or a local rape crisis center, Medicaid/Health Department contact info, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Additional useful links: suicide help hotlines, coping with job loss, substance abuse help.
- Read about other women's experiences with abortion. There are only a handful of whole blogs out there by women going through an abortion -- perhaps because once it's over, there's naturally less to write about. This one is about the first-trimester medication procedure, this one is about the first-trimester surgical procedure, and this one is about the second-trimester surgical procedure. There's also this blog post, and the great comments, contributed by readers of Feministing, and this one at RHRealityCheck. You can also read other women's stories or share your own at Project Voice, I'm Not Sorry, or Women On Waves's I Had An Abortion. There is also a documentary called "I Had An Abortion" (not related to Women On Waves).
And if you are reading this and not worried about how you will live with yourself after an abortion -- what can you do for the women who are, who may have found our blog in a time of crisis, and for all the women who will have abortions soon and forever? Here are a couple of ideas, one for right now and one for every day:
- Donate to Exhale so they can expand their resources for women seeking to share after an abortion. They are trying to do some unprecedented work that would be a real leap forward in the existence of a bit of community for women who want to talk to one another instead of write and read blog posts or call a counselor.
- Combat the stigma against abortion. Another major cause of feeling like shit after an abortion: being told you should feel like shit about your abortion. Watch your words when speaking about reproductive choices -- are you judging harshly or being callous or assuming too much? -- because you never know what impact they might have on a pregnant woman or her partner or parent or friend who happens to be in your company.
And to whoever got here by Googling "fist in uteras" [sic]: WTF?