Was it a choice or an act of desperation on the part of a woman who didn’t see any other alternative to an already bad situation?

·    64% of women having abortions said they felt pressured to abort

·    84% said they were not fully informed

·    52% felt rushed and 54% uncertain beforehand

·    67% received no counseling beforehand

·    79% were not informed about alternatives

Statistics also show that nearly half of all American women will have had an abortion by the age of 45. It’s a silent secret that is affecting not only the hearts of the women who have had an abortion, but also the hearts of the boyfriends, spouses, friends and families involved, directly or indirectly. These women and men are not that much different than you and me. They are sitting beside you at the coffee shop, in line at the grocery store and beside you in the pew at church. You don’t know who they are, but they do. And they remain silent.

Citations 1. VM Rue et. al., “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16 (2004).

Is Life the Same?

Millions of women are led to believe that abortion is the quick and easy answer to their unplanned pregnancy. They are told that if they have the abortion procedure, they will never have to think about the crisis pregnancy again and will be able to continue their lives as though nothing has ever happened. However, if you have personally been involved in an abortion experience, you likely know this to be false. Ironically, as you attempted to dispose of your “crisis” or “problem”, you likely gained an entirely new host of problems after your abortion.

Life after “the choice” isn’t the same. There are many different negative emotions and even physical symptoms that are often experienced after the abortion (whether it is immediately, weeks, months or years later) and often women do not know how to process through them. This is called Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) which is a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is very real and can manifest itself in a variety of ways. It is important to know that not everyone has the same symptoms, that symptoms can change with time and that there is help available.

Symptoms of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS)

Life after “the choice” isn’t the same. This can mean different things for different people. Some feel a great amount of relief immediately following the abortion. Others will immediately feel a devastating amount of pain and loss. Either way, since the time of legalized abortion, it has become increasingly apparent that most will at some point suffer from a form of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS). PASS is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, PASS is specific to the trauma of abortion.  Many times it is not experienced immediately. Symptoms can arise weeks, months and most often years later.  Some may experience different symptoms at different times in their lives.  PASS can manifest itself in a variety of ways, emotionally, spiritually and even physically. The wounds left by abortion are very real and not specific to only the mother of the aborted baby, but often scars fathers, friends and entire families involved.  It is important to know that not everyone has the same symptoms, that symptoms can change with time and that there is help available.

Below is a checklist of some of the symptoms of PASS.  If you have three or more of these symptoms it is likely that you are suffering from PASS:

  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Psychological and/or emotional numbing
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-abusive behaviors (cutting, entering into abusive relationships, promiscuity)
  • Anniversary Syndrome (increased symptoms at time of abortion or expected due date of child)
  • Re-experiencing the abortion such as flashbacks due to sounds (vacuum), smells (sterile), places (near clinics), etc…
  • Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again (also called “Replacement Child Syndrome”)
  • Overprotective of living children
  • Interruption in bonding process with living children
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Avoidance of newborns
  • Distress when seeing other pregnant women
  • Nightmares
  • Bitterness
  • Anxiety over fertility and childbearing issues (will I be able to get pregnant again, will God punish me….)
  • Avoidance of people, places or things that remind you of the abortion
  • Intense, uncontrolled anger
  • Inability to accept or extend forgiveness concerning abortion experience

Post Abortion Support Groups

For Women “Surrendering the Secret”

The “Surrendering Our Secret” support group and bible study is an eight-week long “healing journey” that typically meets once a week for two hours. Once assigned to a group, you will stick with your “sisters throughout the entire journey, supporting each other along the way. There are eight primary steps that you will take as you climb to the mountaintop. You will share your story, look at the truth about abortion, deal with anger, pursue forgiveness, work through grief and guilt, and exchange bondage for freedom. The program currently being used is the Surrendering the Secret study by Pat Layton. You will meet your leaders and receive your book before the first meeting. It is a journey that will take you to an entire new level of freedom and relationship with God.

For more information contact Melissa at msantiago@heartbeats.org or call 740-349-7558 x204

For Men “Repairing His Story”

Did you know that since 1973 there have been over 60 million abortions in the United States? Men need to know that they are not alone and although you may be suffering in silence right now, you can experience healing. You are not alone. Men who seek healing are courageous and “Repairing His Story” is a 5 week study to begin the process of repairing and recovering. “Your Body is God’s temple, repairing damage to your spiritual and mental health is a part of your responsibility as a temple owner. Like any home improvement project, this process may involve a little work, a little sweat and a little pain, but it is worth it.” This study will help you begin the healing process.  Studies show that men often are stuck in the anger stage of grief recovery. This Bible study was written specifically for men using the grief cycle as a structure and focusing on the names of God that reveal His character and desire to heal us. This study allows men to begin the healing process and examine denial, bargaining, anger, forgiveness and resolution.  We will meet weekly.

For more information please email Craig at repairinghisstory@heartbeats.org. or call 740-258-7571 

 

For more information on the Post Abortion Support Group, call Heartbeats at 740-349-7558.  All services are free of charge and completely confidential.