AFTER ABORTION GUIDE
8 Next Steps for Females
Whether your abortion was last month or 20 years ago, walking forward may seem overwhelming.
So if you are here because you are struggling with your past abortion and perhaps the depression, regret, numbness, sleepless nights, anger, isolation, or flashbacks that can go along with it- know that you are not alone. While there is no magic answer to make the pain go away overnight, there is a pathway of healing and hope for you to journey! ITWY highly recommends following these 8 steps as you seek to walk through this part of your story.
With that said, ITWY and this resource are by no means the authority on emotionally and/or spiritually working through issues triggered by your abortion. Rather, our humble perspective is offered with the hope that it will benefit you, even if you do not share our perspective. ITWY’s resources are works in progress, so if you have any feedback on this resource, please share your thoughts here.
ITWY does not work with individuals one on one. So if you need immediate 24/7 help, you can reach out to our friends at OptionLine, call 1-800-712-4357, text “HELPLINE” to 313131, or click here for a live online chat.
STEP 1 – Be Where You Are
What does “be where you are” mean? Before you begin, it is necessary to acknowledge where you are emotionally without judgment or self-hatred. However you feel about your past abortion, ITWY wants you to know these 3 Truths:
A. You have permission to truly feel (or not feel) – Often, culture proclaims you should feel a certain way about your abortion, whether it be sorrow, relief, grief, shame, pride, numbness, etc. But the truth is that you feel what you feel. No matter what form your emotions come in, you need to know that it’s okay to feel what you feel. It might not be the ideal feeling for you long-term, but you must begin from where you are – not where you want to be.
B. You are not alone – Between 1 in 3 or 4 American women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Millions of women have struggled with the same painful issues you may be experiencing, but so many of these women have journeyed a pathway of restoration. There is a community of people who have been there, too.
C. God has a healing path for you – You might believe God is distant and angry with you because of your abortion. Yet, Jesus shows us that God desires to draw near towards us in gracious and healing love. So wherever your faith is, God knows the redemptive path he has planned for you because He loves you deeply and desires to see your heart restored. This path will take courage as you explore the extremes of emotions, hope, conviction, love, honesty, and healing. It might get messy, but it will be worth it.
STEP 2 – Read the Stories of Other Women and Their Post-Abortion Journey
Reading the stories of other people who have experienced abortion can be helpful in your healing process. ITWY encourages you to read the stories of these women to see how God has worked in their lives.
STEP 3 – Take the “Me Too” Experience After Abortion Questionnaire
Abortion is not something most people feel comfortable talking about. For this reason, ITWY has created this “Me Too” Questionnaire to share with you perspective on challenging experiences that are common to people with an abortion story. ITWY hopes this resource will help you realize that your abortion experience is not abnormal. In addition, this questionnaire could help you draw some connections between things you have experienced that you may not have realized your past abortion impacted in your life.
STEP 4 – Get Help from Specialized Organizations
There are many organizations who do in person work to help address your past and begin your healing. Here are some organizations to connect with:
SaveOne – SaveOne helps men and women suffering from a past abortion through the establishment of local “chapters” that walk through a Bible-based healing small group process. These are safe and nonjudgmental groups of other people who have also experienced abortion. Look on their site to see if they have a chapter in your area.
Rachel’s Vineyard – This organization offers weekend retreats for post-abortive people with a focus on spiritual healing and restoration. Look on their site for more info and for a local retreat.
Find a Counselor – Regularly seeing a professional counselor is a great way to take steps toward restoration. Below are two specific pathways to consider when selecting a counselor. As you contact a perspective counselor, be sure to find out if they have experience in working with clients through this subject.
- Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network – FOTF has a great network of certified Christian counselors.
- Through a Local Church – Many churches have counselors on staff. You can do a quick Google search to find the websites of local churches in your area and then scan their websites to find a phone number to call to inquire of their potential assistance.
OptionLine – If you are looking for an immediate anonymous person to person conversation, OptionLine offers several hotline options. To start a helpful conversation with a real person, you can chat online, text HELPLINE to 313131, or call 1-800-712-4357.
CARE Directory – This site gives an online listing by zip code of possible additional local resources for abortion recovery.
STEP 5 – Reach Out to a Trusted Friend
You aren’t meant to journey down this path alone. Yes, your past abortion might be something that only you or perhaps a few others know about. Yes, you might be feeling a lot of emotions. But you are not meant to be stuck here. If you have the courage, one of the best things you can do is to open up to a trusted friend/person about your past abortion.
Why is opening up important? You might question the need to open up to another person when you can just tell God privately. With any issue that has shame attached to it, oppressive feelings can often be a root cause to other emotions and behaviors, but much of that can chip away when a struggling person begins to be honest with others.
How do you know who to open up to? Think hard about who in your life has been a safe person. This person could be a sibling, friend, youth pastor, parent, or spouse. The main thing you are looking for is someone who is a good listener, who loves people well, and with whom you feel safe. Perhaps you know someone in the In This With You movement. If so, you can reach out to them!
How do you open up? Most of the time the hardest thing is just to start the conversation. ITWY suggests sending your trusted friend a text message that says, “Hey, I’ve been struggling with something that i need to open up about. Would you being willing to listen? Can we sit down soon?” From that point if they are open, meet at a coffee shop or go on a walk at your local park and tell you story courageously!
STEP 6 – Download the Bible Study – COMING SOON
Deliberate reflection and time with God is necessary for your heart to journey towards healing. ITWY wants to provide you with a bible study resource in the near future but is still working to complete it.
Because of the sensitive nature of the abortion subject, ITWY is taking its to complete, review, and release the bible study. But if you would like to sign up to be in the focus group to for an trial release of this bible study resource, click the button below.
STEP 7 – Sign Up for Emails from ITWY
We at ITWY want to occasionally send you encouraging emails to support you on the courageous journey you are on. These emails may include encouraging thoughts to meditate on, practical information to know, and ways to stay connected with the In This With You community.
STEP 8 – Share Your Story Anonymously for ITWY’s Stories Page
Sharing your story or honest reflection, even anonymously, could be a big step in your healing journey while also benefiting the lives of others who have similar stories. If you believe sharing your story is something God might lead you to, click below to read more info on the process of sharing for ITWY’s Stories page. [NOTE: There are guidelines when submitting your story, and there is no guarantee that your story will be posted on our website.]
Can You Help ITWY?
- FAQ Resource Help – ITWY desires to put together a Frequently Asked Questions resource in the future for those walking through the struggle after an abortion. Go here to submit as many questions as you can think of that women, men, and their friends would have when journeying after a past abortion.
- Feedback – Do you have any feedback for ITWY on how this resource can improve? Click here to submit encouragement, constructive criticism, and/or suggestions.