Are You Suffering from Post-Abortion Stress?

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If you have had an abortion(s), you may be suffering from post-abortion stress. Answering the following questions can help you figure out how the abortion(s) may have effected your life.

Do you find yourself struggling to turn off feelings or memories related to your abortion(s)? Do you need to keep reminding yourself to just forget it or put it behind you?

Do you become uncomfortable around reminders of the abortion, such as being around babies, pregnant women, doctor's offices, or when hearing news reports about abortion?

Do you feel nervous or anxious at the idea of telling a loved one about your abortion? Is your abortion a secret that is holding you back from greater intimacy with others?

When you do choose to share your abortion experience with others, are you overcome with strong feelings such as anger, sorrow, grief, or guilt?

Do you have trouble talking about the abortion issue as a political issue? When you do talk about it, do you find it hard to respect opposing views, or do you becoming overly emotional, either in support of or opposition to it?

Do you have an unhealthy sense of fear that you, your loved ones, or your other children will be hurt or killed? Are you "smothering" or overly protective of your children?

Do you tend to look at life in terms of "before" and "after" the abortion(s)? Has the abortion changed the way you look at yourself? Are there traits about your "self" before the abortion that you lost but would wish to regain in your life? Do you become angry or depressed more easily?

Have you experienced "reconnectors" to your abortion, such as nightmares, flashbacks, or hallucinations, such as hearing a baby cry?

Was there a period after your abortion when you experienced an increase in the use of alcohol or drugs (illegal or prescription)? Have you experienced other forms of emotional deadening?

Have you experienced any suicidal thoughts? Do you take risks that put your life in danger? Do you try to hurt yourself? Have you developed any eating disorders?

Have you lost interest in taking care of yourself? Do you care about how you look? Have you tried to become less attractive to avoid the risk of becoming involved in a relationship, love, and sex?

Do you have trouble with finding, building, or maintaining good relationships with people of the opposite sex? Do you have trouble with issues of trust and control? Do you get involved in hurtful or abusive relationships? Do you tolerate abuse because you don't feel you deserve any better?

Is there an increased distance between you and your parents or siblings because of the past abortion(s)? Is there tension between you and others because the abortion is something everyone avoids talking about?

Have you lost the desire for sexual intercourse? Do you have increased pain during intercourse? Have you become promiscuous because of low self-esteem? Have you lost your desire to have children?

Do you experience periods of depression, heightened anxiety, or cramping during certain months of the year, particularly during the months that would correspond to the month of your abortion(s) or the due date of the aborted pregnancy?

Have you lost your faith? Have you lost a sense of God's peace? Do you think God still loves you? Are you afraid of God? Have your rejected belief in God for emotional reasons rather than thoughtful reasons?

If you are experiencing any of the above problems, post-abortion counseling may help. Skilled and understanding people want to help. Many have been through the same things you are going through now. There are many post-abortion counselors and support groups, often run by women who have had abortions, who can help you find out how to deal with your experience.

Copyright 1998, Elliot Institute