Handling Post-Abortion Depression
Many women experience depression at some point in their lives and, as most of us know, certain events can trigger depression more than others. Some women who choose to terminate a pregnancy do not experience depression but many others do. Today, we want to cover the topic of post-abortion/pregnancy termination depression because it is rarely openly discussed and it is important for women who experience depression after ending a pregnancy to know that they are not alone.
Why am I depressed?
When you decide to terminate a pregnancy, there is already a good chance that you are under serious stress. In many cases, the pregnancy was an unwelcome surprise, which causes stress. In other cases, you may have to make a difficult decision due to your health or the health of your fetus. You may also feel conflicted: should you terminate the pregnancy or not? Despite what abortion opponents will have you believe, the decision to terminate a pregnancy is never an easy one.
So, before you even terminate your pregnancy, you will likely be under stress. As studies have shown, there is a link between stress and depression. The hormones that stress releases into your body can, in fact, trigger episodes of depression.
Furthermore, as soon as you become pregnant, your body changes its hormonal patterns. When a pregnancy ends, these hormonal changes have to revert to their previous, non-pregnant processes. These hormonal shifts can also trigger unstable moods and even depression.
Finally, some women experience guilt after terminating a pregnancy. That guilt may be mixed with a sense of relief, making it even harder to sort out and manage your emotions. Again, while not every women experiences these ups and downs, it is totally normal if you do feel this way.
Why is post-pregnancy termination depression not discussed more openly?
We all know that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is already a “hot-button” topic. It can raise tempers and passions in even some of the calmest of people, both men and women. So this topic is loaded at the start.
Many women may feel hesitant to discuss their post-pregnancy termination feelings with others because they may not know how the other person feels about pregnancy termination to begin with. If you’re feeling emotional upheaval, the last thing you want to do is open a conversation with someone who will attack your decision.
Unfortunately, some women report that they feel like they “deserve” to feel bad. This is essentially another manifestation of post-pregnancy termination guilt. We cannot say this strongly enough: no one deserves to be depressed. It’s that simple.
Finally, some anti-abortion groups are more than happy to tell you about the possible mental health ramifications of terminating a pregnancy. In fact, we believe that some of these organizations step far over the line, by repeatedly telling women who are already under stress that ending a pregnancy will definitely end in serious depression. Not only is this not true, it is manipulative.
The other unfortunate repercussion of this is that many people who support a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and her pregnancy don’t want to discuss post-pregnancy termination depression, for fear that they will be seen as trying to intimidate women like anti-abortion groups do. At Women’s Aid Center, we support all women in their quest for health, both physical and mental. While we strongly believe every woman has a right to make her own decisions about her body and her pregnancy, we also acknowledge that some women experience post-abortion depression and we are dedicated to helping these women as well.
If I am depressed, what can I do?
If you have decided to terminate a pregnancy or have recently terminated a pregnancy, we encourage you to discuss all of your concerns about both your physical and mental health with a doctor at Women’s Aid Center. We offer compassionate, non-judgmental, and understanding care to all. While we do not offer mental health services at our clinics, we will be happy to help you locate a compassionate caregiver who you can trust to help you work through your depression and post-pregnancy termination feelings.
The doctors and staff at Women’s Aid Center are dedicated to serving women’s health needs throughout the greater Chicagoland area. We pride ourselves on being the women’s health clinic that women can trust and we work every day to fulfill our mission to “provide the support and care you need.” Please call us today at 800-998-4751 to schedule an appointment to discuss any of your health concerns with one of our doctors.