Chances are, if you have a teenage daughter, you may have already heard about one of her friends experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and an abortion. But, what can you do to help your daughter and her friend cope with this situation?
Common Emotions After Abortion
If you haven’t experienced, firsthand, what it is like to go through an abortion, it can be helpful to begin by understanding what emotions teens can experience afterwards. During the early stages, especially, many teens can experience conflicting, confusing, and painful emotions. Relief is commonly the first feeling experienced since the crisis pregnancy is over with and she feels she can move on with her life. However, relief is typically short-lived and other emotions can emerge such as denial, depression, and anger.
Denial can be a teen’s refusal to believe the pregnancy and abortion ever took place. It can, also, include trying to stuff the painful memories and move on by putting on a happy face.
Next, sadness and depression can emerge causing her to withdraw from life, friends, and family. During this stage, she may experience prolonged sadness and have sporadic crying episodes. Also, she may have difficulty being around pregnant women and babies because they act as reminders of the baby she aborted.
Along with sadness and depression, anger can arise. Anger can occur when she feels upset at herself for going through with the abortion, even if it was her choice all along. Also, she may feel anger towards the baby’s father and others who may have encouraged her to abort.
With all of these feelings surfacing, it may be compounded by the fact she feels very alone. She may feel uneasy talking to others because they may judge her or openly tell others about it.
Let Her Know You Care About Her
What can you do to help? You and your daughter can offer her emotional support so she knows there are people who care about her. Be understanding and tell her you will be there for her while she is working through all the emotions. Tell her it is common to experience these emotions and give her hope it will get better.
Help Her Find Post Abortion Support
Also, it is important to direct her to post-abortion support services, such as the Restore After Abortion program, when she feels ready. Restore offers a safe, confidential, and nonjudgmental environment for teenagers to talk to professional staff and other post-abortive teenagers about their abortion experiences. This can reassure her she is not alone and help her get to the point of acceptance and healing in her life.
For more information about the Restore Program, please call or text 630-599-0043. We are here because we care.