Post-Abortion Guidelines

If you need emotional healing after an abortion

We all have secrets that we’re ashamed to tell the world. With some of them, we feel like the world will judge us harshly if they really knew the truth. One of those secrets is having an abortion.

This post isn’t going to be about the moral or political arguments associated with abortion. This is a post for someone who has had an abortion or knows someone who has had an abortion.

Regardless of when you had an abortion, whether it was just a few months ago or decades, having an abortion can feel like a big secret even if others knew you had it. Because the procedure is intimate by nature, you may feel like you’re the one who knows and understands how it felt.

While healing might not occur in tidy fashion, here are some guidelines for you as you seek ways to address your hurts:

Pray

It’s OK if your prayers are not eloquent or if you think that Jesus wouldn’t want to hear from you. Jesus wants to hear from you because he wants to share his unconditional love with you.

If you’re numb and feeling distant, that’s OK; if you’re feeling emotional and sorry for what you did, that’s OK, too. And if you don’t know where to start, that’s fine. The point is to keep the communication line open with him.

Feel

Acknowledge what you’re feeling and thinking about what happened to you. Maybe you feel ashamed and dirty by what you did. Maybe you feel anger towards your family and friends who you felt were not supportive or there for you.

Maybe you feel an incredible sense of loss. Acknowledging these emotions brings the hurt closer to the surface and helps enable Jesus and the Holy Spirit to start to heal any emotional scars and cuts you might have.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

Soak

Meditate on Scripture that soothes your pain. Read the Bible or listen to one of Abide’s meditations. Use your name when reciting Psalm 23 or the first part of Psalm 139.

Expect

Realize that healing often takes place gradually. Years. There are often layers to healing, like the peeling of an onion, and so the Holy Spirit might lead you to pray first about other issues and situations going on with your life.

Connect

It would help the healing process to find someone to talk with about what you went through. That person needs to be someone who you feel won’t judge you for what you did. Sometimes that person is a close friend or a leader at church.

But if talking to someone you know sounds uncomfortable, you can use the hotline with Exhale, a group for those are experiencing life post-abortion. But having a friend or a support group or a counselor can be so helpful because they can help you through the healing process in a way that would be harder to do if you were doing things solely by yourself.

Tips on how to find a good counselor (since counseling practices can vary widely) are available here.