Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are You Suffering from Post Abortion Stress?

Yeah, this isn't stressful.

Okay, fine. It's 2011, I'm done being afraid.

I had an abortion.

I was 20. My father had left, and I had dropped out of college to work two jobs to help my mother keep her house and buy medications for her and my sister. Not the time for a baby.

I don't regret it. At all. I love children, but I've never wanted children of my own. Then was certainly not the time. As for adoption, I was barely eating at that point (No, mom, I'm not hungry, don't worry about it, buy Sissy's inhaler . . .). I certainly couldn't afford to take time off- unpaid- to give birth.

I do occasionally wonder about what my life would have been like had I chosen differently. Just the other day, I looked around at all the high school kids on the bus and realized I would have been on that bus with a 15 year old, my 15 year old. It wasn't regret, though. It was more like realizing that some now famous actor was in a show you like when you were a kid. "Oh, weird."

Life is like that. You make choices. Those choices preclude other choices, and eventually you are left wondering what could have been, not with regret, but with curiosity. What if I hadn't married him? What if I had tried to make the band work instead of going to college? What if, what if, what if? If you've made it to 35 without a few what ifs, you haven't made any choices at all.

Anyway, you can see where I'm coming from when I read about Post Abortion Stress.

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 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?

I'm sorry, where do these people live? Mars? Certainly not the United States. In the US, abortion providers are murdered, abortion clinics are picketed every day and a million different blogs call me a murderer and worse- and I'm supposed to be comfortable telling anyone I had an abortion? I'm not comfortable telling you under a pseudonym. I've wrestled with it for years. But that's a symptom of a pseudo-psychiatric condition caused by abortion.

Fuck off.

It's my business, not yours. There is no reason for anyone to know that I've had an abortion. It's no more your business than what brand of tampon I use. I don't even tell gynecologists that I've had an abortion. Why? Because I have no way of knowing if the gynecologist, or her staff, is prolife, and I'd rather not find that out when my feet are in the stirrups- or after the receptionist tells everyone about it. These things happen.

But that's not stressful.

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?

Who the fuck is calm about abortion in the US? See that picture above? That was one of the nicest pictures I could find. The vast majority included bloodied baby dolls and words I won't reprint here. Prolifers call me a murderer and then wonder why I might get a touch worked up when discussing abortion.

Seriously, fuck off.

Do you tend to look at life in terms of "before" and "after" the abortion(s)?

Sure. I also look at life in terms of before and after college, before and after my father left, and before and after I got married.

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

Where on earth are these people having abortions, 1647, perhaps, or in the midst of a battle in Vietnam? Here's a quick description of a surgical abortion: it's just like a regular gynecological exam, except it hurts more, though no more than bad cramping with your period. It takes less than five minutes. It neither sounds nor feels like much, and they give you Valium anyway, so you're a little drowsy and out of it. An abortion is a medical procedure, not a tour of duty.

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?

There are no other possible explanations for mental illness or addictive behaviors once you've had an abortion! It's all about the uterus with women, after all. (There are 12 questions like this.)

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?

Wow. That would be odd. I mean all those prolifers telling us how terrible abortions are and calling us murderers, it would be so strange for a woman to feel that God hated her if she had an abortion. Inexplicable, even.

Again and again and again, fuck off.


  1. I'm so glad you decided to write this post. It is, in your usual style, unsentimental and no-nonsense. However did you manage that with a uterus???!!!!

  2. I am glad you live in a place where you have the choice and right to decide what is best for you. It really irks me when prolifers pretend that an abortion (obviously excluding the illegal or ectopic abortion) is more harmful to women than say pregnancy and birth with its vomitting and tearing of flesh. Or that your rights are less important that a parasite, who doesn't have the cell diferentiation to be determined a mammal, let alone have a heart beat and perfect little finger nails.

    I appreciate that you are willing to tell people that you had one (and give them the resource of I'm Not Sorry). And I am sorry that private matters need to be made public. What you do with your "private parts" should be allowed to stay private and should not be conversations for strangers, especially hostile religious nuts.

    If these people are so pro-life, why are they standing outside of doctor's offices instead of helping get medical aid to Africa or working in soup kitchens? I don't care what they say, they are not "pro-life", they are anti-choice and anti-women.

  3. I'm impressed you're willing to say it, PF. The irrational hatred in society for anyone who simply underwent a medical procedure to keep a bad situation from becoming worse (for you and the potential-child) staggers me, and I wouldn't be willing to expose myself to it even under my pseudonym.

    What always got me about the pro-zygote crowd was how far back they draw the line. Everything is a process, and it's human nature to draw lines (it's even required by our legal system), but you can't just say that what something is at the start of the process that creates it is the same thing as what it is at the end. Throwing fruit seeds in the bin isn't the same thing as burning an orchard. If you're going to go that far, why not go all the way? Contraception murders thousands of babies-in-potentia! Abstinance is even worse: every month you're not having sex you're murdering millions (depending on gender) of babies! Everyone's a baby murderer!

    Or one could acknowledge that an indistinct collection of cells is not a child. 2 has the potential to become 4. That doesn't mean 2 equals 4.

  4. i love I'm Not Sorry - i think it's one of the most important websites on the intratubes. i've posted my story there, too [anon. because it's not SAFE to post otherwise, and because i've ALREADY had waaaaaaaaaaay too many people me, in all seriousness, that i should have died. not "wow, ok, you were dying, that's horrible, it sucks that you had to kill to save your life" but rather "IT DOESN'T MATTER THE REASON YOU KILLED YOUR BABY AND YOU ARE EVIL!". and when i say something like "look, i was at 11 weeks and was told it would take a MIRACLE to live to 14 weeks, so there was NEVER *ANY* chance that said baby would live" i'm told "doesn't matter, YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED, you should have WANTED to die if your baby couldn't live"
    i've never even tried to explain to these people that, even if i hadn't been dying, i'd have had the abortion ANYWAY, because of a thousand reasons they don't care about. not worth it.

    so i posted my story anon. because A) i'm sick of people telling i SHOULD HAVE DIED and B) i'm afraid people are going to attempt to "rectify" the "mistake" of NOT DYING and C) it's really, really horrible to have people telling you that you have NO right to life, YOURSELF, if you can't have babies. i did, in fact, become suicidal after the abortion - not because i was "all broken" because of the abortion, but because i was beginning to BELIEVE these people that i was WORTHLESS because i happen to have a disease that means death if i try to carry a pregnancy. i've never even WANTED kids - but, somehow, i started to believe that i was *wrong* to not want kids and that it would be better if i died and stop taking resources that *REAL* women - women who CAN and DO have babies - could use.
    [then my dad swept in and told me to stop being a fucking moron, the world is totally over-populated and i had no way to care for a child and even if i COULD have a child without dying and COULD care for it, said child would be BORN WITH THE DISEASE and almost definitely have it WORSE that i do and that's just EVIL. sometimes, my dad rocks]

  5. Thanks for your post, I quoted it in my own blog about a christian nutter distributing abortion booklets!


  6. Hi all, I just want to say I really like your post. And danelian, I'm really sorry to hear of what you've been through. I hope you're okay and I'm sending you vast amounts of cyber love.

    I just had my second abortion in 4 months 3 weeks ago and it's started to feel so overwhelming. After the first one I had just started to pick myself up again when I found out I was pregnant again even though we were using contraception. Such a shock and I've never felt so angry with life before. Not only that, but in the same week as my termination was booked I also had to have minor surgery on my head, prepare for my cat to give birth and start a new job at a nursery.

    I live in the UK so in a way I feel fairly comfortable talking about having had an abortion. Yesterday at work, surrounded by all the small children and babies I totally freaked out and started having really intense thoughts and ended up telling my manager in private what had happened three weeks ago and she let me go home.

    I didn't want to be alone as I was finding my thoughts way too distressing and weird so o visited a friend. I just cried and cried and told her everything and she was great. Then I fell asleep on her housemates bed for hours.

    I don't feel regret for the choice I've made but I feel like it's been so harsh recently and it feels like one of the most testing times I've ever been through. I want to feel happy, I want to feel like I'm a good person again. I think I need a god damn holiday!!! A rest and a big hug for myself, maybe some counselling too...

    I've got a coil now, they put it in when I has the termination. That at least feels like a sure positive! Lots of love to all the women and men out there who've experienced the pain and headache of abortion xxxx

  7. Hey Dizza
    [i totally forgot i was subscribed to this post. good thing i was!]

    that must be really horrid - the physical toll, alone, would be debhilitating for anyone.

    the UK is better about abortion, from everything i've seen and heard - it's on my list of "place it immigrate to if anyone will ever take me". HIGH on the last - like, Scandanian countries, New Zealand, Britain, Australia, Canada, that's my top 10 [i'm counting Iceland as "Scandanavian", and "Britain" as "also Scotland" that's how it's 10 )]

    i'm mostly just grateful on your behalf for your awesome boss.

    but - what is a "coil"? i assume it's some form of BC but i've never heard the term.

  8. The coil is another term for an inter uterine system, indeed a method of birth control. It seems to be ok with me, it works out very cheap when you compare it to condoms! The past few days have been very hard, I feel as though the more time I'm giving to myself to talk and think about how I feel, the easier it's getting. I keep waking up in the morning, and before I even open my eyes I feel hit by the weight of what's been going on. On Tuesday I'm going to go Tony doctor and ask them to let me see a counsellor and maybe give me some time off work x

  9. i thought it might be an IUD, but wasn't sure :)

    it sounds like a good plan - you've gone thru hell, and ANYONE would want some therapy after all that! ["Tony doctor" is, i presume, a doc who is part of the national health care?]
    i hope you get the help you want/need [and some time off!] and i also hope you don't have problems with your coil. if you do, may i suggest ImPlanon? i have it right now - it's in implant in your arm that releases a small amount of progesterone, and it lasts for 3 years [and in my case, anyway, stops periods! i LOVE that!!!]

    i send GoodThoughts(tm) to you, and good luck with everything.
    and, seriously - i often wish i was British, for the healthcare :) use it! and do what you need to do, for YOU


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