Abortion is such a charged word. Politically charged. Emotionally charged. But why is that? Well, because if you’re (statistically) 1 in 3 or 4 women, it’s not just a word- it’s your experience. It was a day, a doctor, a boyfriend you’ll never forget. And with any politically and emotionally charged experience, it’s one that demands attention.
A couple years ago, there was a campaign called #shoutyourabortion. This campaign’s goal was to take the stigma out of abortion and allow women the freedom to speak out about their choice to have one. And women did speak out, with proud tweets of ‘I had an abortion’ emblazoned across their tshirts and countless articles like this one about their experience on the day of their abortion.
And we get it. We see women and men every day who found out they were pregnant, were not planning it, and are
kinda completely insanely freaked out. I mean, even in the best of circumstances, pregnancy is shocking and overwhelming. But in the worst of circumstances? Those two pink lines can make your stomach drop, hands shake, and chest unable to breathe. And we’re not being dramatic- if that’s ever been you, you know. And abortion can seem to offer quick relief to those stomach-dropping feelings. So you booked that appointment at the clinic.
And now, like us, you see those posts online of women proudly #shoutingtheirabortion and declaring they feel nothing other than relief. And maybe that is true for you…but maybe not. We serve real women every day in this community with real abortion experiences and the overwhelming majority are so much more complicated than simple relief and never looking back. They are stories are like these. Maybe yours is too.
Yes, they felt relief immediately following an abortion procedure, when the crisis was over and they were able to breathe again. But then they had other, more difficult, emotions too. Emotions that surprised them. Sometimes those emotions were mixed with the relief the second it was over, sometimes they came when they got home and were alone, sometimes they popped up unexpectedly five years later when they couldn’t seem to get pregnant when the time was now ‘right’. And they don’t want to “shout their abortion” because it was something they are still wrestling with it.
If you’re one of the women who still struggle with your choice to terminate a pregnancy, it’s hard to see women online who are ‘okay’ with their abortion decision because you feel like they are somehow ‘stronger’. You probably ask yourself:
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Am I being dramatic?”
“Why am I still thinking about this?!”
“These other women seem to be doing just fine…Why can’t I just get over it?”
So, we’re here to tell you: There’s no shame in not being able to ‘just get over it.’ It doesn’t make you ‘weak’ or ‘soft’. Many women experience a wide range of emotions following an abortion.
And *soapbox* alert: Being honest about your abortion story when it was a hard experience doesn’t mean you’re not pro-woman. It means you’re courageous. Because guess what? It takes more bravery to speak out about something that was painful instead of something that was easy to ‘get over.’
Also there really is such a thing as post-abortion stress syndrome (or PASS). If you have the following symptoms and feel that they are a result of your abortion, you could be experiencing PASS:
And you’re not alone. You don’t have to live with those symptoms anymore. There is an incredible feeling of safety and freedom when you can be in a place with other people who also want to process their abortion experience and be set free from it. There is power and freedom in telling your story. Even if you don’t want to shout it- because it’s not crazy to want to talk about your abortion experience but not want to talk about such an emotional experience with just anyone.
What if instead of shouting your abortion to the whole world, you could get together with a handful of other women who have been where you’ve been. Who get the feelings of isolation, regret, and pain.
Here at Clarity, that place is called The Healing Journey, or THJ. At THJ, groups are kept to only five participants and meet in the evenings in our **adorable**, cozy apartment in Radcliff. This nine-week study, Surrendering the Secret, is lead by passionate leaders who are also post-abortive and who understand the process it takes to find healing. If you are interested in attending the next session of THJ, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also text our THJ leader at 270-883-1499. This is a secure and confidential way to contact us for more information.
We believe that you can be brave enough to talk about it. We care about whatever experience you had, and the feelings you’re having now. And when you’re ready, we’ll be here. ❤️️