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A NEW BEGINNING (Rebuilding your life after abortion)Do you feel alone when it comes to the memory of your abortion? Actually, you are not alone! Thirty – three percent of American women have an abortion at some point, but hardly any of them want to talk about it. The reason is simple. Many women who choose abortion go against their own sense of right and wrong, and this makes them feel guilty. That guilt stops them from talking about it or getting the emotional help they deserve.The trauma of abortionProfessional counselors tell us that many women who have had an abortion are not able to. . .. . . process the painful thoughts and emotions –especially guilt, anger and grief-that arise from an abortion experience.. . . identify, much less grieve, their loss.. . . come to peace with God, themselves and others involved in the pregnancy and abortion decision.Does any of this describe your journey? Common feelings after abortion Some women consider their choice a “done deal” and they do not dare navigate the thoughts or the emotions again. Many women however, deal with thoughts like “What made me so relieved also made me sadder than I’ve ever been and what made me sadder than I’ve ever been actually gave me relief”. Relief is the most common reaction following an abortion but for many the sense of relief is not permanent. Sometimes a deep feeling of sadness will set in immediately. Many women feel forced to go into a period of stuffing down the sadness and getting on with life. When you combine the emotions of relief and deep sadness there is emotional confusion. The impact an abortion can have on a woman’s overall life. It is this tension of emotions relief and sadness, that disrupts a woman’s overall life and well - being. The days, weeks, months and years following the decision can result in a lot of confusing emotional distress that can lead to a condition called Post- Abortion Syndrome (PAS) Studies on women who have had abortions have concluded that a condition called Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) can occur in both men and women after an abortion experience due to unresolved psychological and spiritual issues. PAS is actually a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a commonly recognized condition that often follows traumatizing events such as witnessing an act of violence or experiencing a natural disaster. Symptoms of PAS include: Behavior Problems Chemical / Alcohol dependencies - Eating disorders, - Sexual disorders, - Workaholism.Emotional Problems Inability to forget abortion experience - Periods of intense anger, rage, frustration, depression Preoccupation with babies and/or death – No joy / inner peace – Flashbacks triggered by sight, sound, smell.Relationship Problems Discomfort around discussions of abortion or pregnancy - Inability to forgive others, - Blaming others, - Blaming God - Inability to trust another - Inability to bond intimately - Inability to trust own decisions.Self – Worth Problems Feeling much shame and guilt, - Feeling unforgiven by God, others , self - Feeling unclean, unworthy – Self-defeating attitude - Self- punishing attitude.Unless she finds a safe place to talk, share the secret and cry she will probably live her life with a mask on, keeping her secret neatly tucked away out of fear, condemnation or invalidation. The impact of not grieving the loss incurred. Abortion choices create a situation of disenfranchised or unprocessed grief in a women’s life. The grief experienced by an individual is not openly acknowledged or socially validated. The loss experienced is real, but survivors are not “given the right” to grieve by anyone around them. A common effect of disenfranchised or unprocessed grief is depression, showing up as small periods of sadness or more full-blown stints of depression, crying spells and low times of “blue” days.Unprocessed grief can also cause people to “stay stuck” in anger without even realize the source of their anger. Not connecting the depression with the unprocessed grief surrounding an abortion is common. Because most people in our country confuse the legalities of abortion with the actual process of resolving the natural loss that follows, there is an implied message that the abortion is the closure. This is simply not true. Women need a safe place to grieve an abortion loss.Women can recover from an abortion!Women do not need to stay in this self-imposed prison of silence. There is a safe place to talk, share your story and even cry. The Southside Pregnancy Center offers a program called H.E.A.R.T (Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma). A new beginning and rebuilding your life after an abortion is possible. It is God’s will for your life. H.E.A.R.T is a seven -week Bible study that will help you find peace and forgiveness, healing and restoration with God, others and self. When the abortion experience is shared, the power of the secret is diminished. Healing and restoration occurs as participants involve themselves in the group, process the information, do the homework and most importantly, depend on God. Testimony from a H.E.A.R.T participant.“Since that time. I am living in close fellowship with Almighty God. All doubts and fears are gone. Anyone who has gone through an abortion owes it to themselves to attend H.E.A.R.T even if they think they don’t need it…and they can become Free Indeed!”Jackie Conrad H.E.A.R.T Leader Southside Pregnancy Center ResourcesThe H.E.A.R.T Training Manual, Heartbeat InternationalArticle, “ Understanding Abortion Grief and the Recovery Process” by Trudy M. Johnson, MA, LMFTBooklet, “ Healing after Abortion” by Teri K. Reisser, M.S., M.F.T and Paul c. Reisser, M.D.Booklet, “Healing the Hurt” by Focus on the FamilyWebsites : Abortionchangesyou.org afterabortion.info

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