12 Women Reveal What They Wish They Knew Before Having An Abortion

Abortions are one of the most controversial things you can talk about. This is, always has been, and probably always will be true, but it’s an especially hot topic right at this moment, as the Trump administration is doing whatever they can to make it hard for women to choose to have an abortion. But this post isn’t a think piece about how the government shouldn’t have say in what a woman chooses to do with her body (which, for the record, is true), or a rant about how many conservatives are ignorant on the subject of abortion as a whole (which, for the record, is also true). It’s a post for any woman out there who has ever considered having an abortion, or who has had an abortion, or who one day might think about having an abortion.

Because, here’s the thing: you might be opposed to the idea of an abortion right now, but you don’t know what you would really do when faced with the idea of an unplanned pregnancy that you feel you can’t handle. And if you do choose to terminate the pregnancy, then you’re going to have a lot of questions, and you’re not going to know who to talk to about any of them. The subject is so taboo and difficult that many women who go through the procedure don’t know what to expect or how to feel – and that’s unfortunate, because knowing what other women went through in the same position could be extremely helpful. 

That’s why this Ask Reddit thread on what women wish they knew before having an abortion is so important. It gives a voice to women who have gone through this, and it also gives genuine and real advice to any woman who might be considering going through it. This isn’t meant to challenge your beliefs or try to get you to feel a certain way – it’s just meant to help, if you have no one else to turn to. So, here are some things you should absolutely know before having an abortion. Add your own stories in the comments if you feel comfortable doing so.


Your Hormones Can Make You Feel Really Confused About What To Do

When you're pregnant, your hormones can get seriously out of whack - even in the beginning. This can affect everything, including your feelings about the baby and an abortion. You might know, logically, that you want an abortion - but your hormones could end up making you feel confused. User Jilltro explains: "I wish I had known how much havoc hormones can cause to your emotions. I knew I needed to terminate but I wasn't prepared for my body being like nooooooo we need a baaaabbbbyyyyyy. I really had to listen to my head over my heart. Years later, I'm SO glad I did!"

This reminds me of the way the show Shameless touched on abortion (SPOILER ALERT!). In one season, the character Fiona gets pregnant and knows that she has to have an abortion - it's what she wants from the beginning. But as her pregnancy moves along, her hormones make her feel emotional and almost loving towards the pregnancy. It's something she struggles with and talks about, saying she can't wait to just have the procedure so that her body can stop messing with her head. After she has it, she's fine. But it's something a lot of people don't discuss, and it happens quite often, so it's really good to keep this in mind.

Source: iStock

Sometimes It's Easier Than You Think It's Going To Be

There are two types of abortions: a medical abortion and a surgical one. Medical abortions are more commonly known as the "abortion pill." They're typically done closer to the beginning of a pregnancy, they're non-surgical, and they aren't as intense. You take the pill, then go home. Then there's the surgical abortion, done by a doctor where patients are typically put out. As with any type of surgery, this is generally harder.

That said, many women find that abortions aren't as tough as they think they're going to be, mostly when it comes to taking the abortion pill. User starfish-and-coffee said, "It was a much easier process than I thought it would be. Though to be fair, I had a medical abortion, not surgical, so I can't speak to that experience. I wasn't sure how I would feel afterwards but once it was all over, I just felt relieved." I personally know three friends who had medical abortions, and all said the same thing.

Source: iStock

You Might Not Feel Guilty At All

Women are taught that they are going to feel guilty and horrible about an abortion, even if the women saying this are pro-choice. Abortion is considered to be a traumatic procedure - women who go through it are almost expected to feel "damaged" and depressed and miserable. But... a lot of women don't end up feeling that way. In fact, a lot of them don't feel guilt at all. And this, weirdly, makes them feel guilty.

User mareenah says, "It doesn't have to be horrifying, you're not a bad person for not feeling any guilt or shame or heaviness about your situation. Women who have had abortions have shamed me for feeling zero remorse and not feeling like it was a hard decision." A lot of the time, women who have abortions are made to feel guilty for their lack of guilt. There's no correct way to react to an abortion, and that means that it's okay to feel, well, nothing. Don't let others influence you!

Source: iStock

You Might Feel A Lot Of Relief After

Similarly, a lot of women don't just feel a lack of guilt and sadness - they feel totally relieved once the procedure is done. User chooseausername23456 says she wishes she knew: "How much better I would feel immediately afterwards and how much worse people would make me feel about it later on. No regrets though!"

An unwanted pregnancy can be a huge stress. if you aren't ready for that, then getting out of it can make you feel so much better. You might feel relief on top of no guilt, and that's okay! You don't need to feel sad, you don't need to feel like a part of you is missing, and you don't need to react. If you feel happy, it's okay!

Source: iStock

But It Can Also Leave You Feeling Really Depressed

All of that being said, it is still very true that some women do feel depressed and very unhappy after having an abortion - and that is okay too. Sometimes women push the idea that abortion is no big deal so much that they make women who do feel sad wonder if there's something wrong with them. Does that make sense? The point is this: there is no right way to feel after an abortion. You are entitled to whatever emotions you might have.

User cierachamere says she wishes she knew: "How mentally and emotionally destroyed I am." Your abortion might leave you feeling very, very upset. If that's the case, you should absolutely look for help with therapy or a psychiatrist.

Source: iStock

You Might Have To Wait A While For The Procedure

Many people think that abortions go something like this: you decide you want one, you make an appointment at Planned Parenthood, and they rush to get it done because it needs to happen ASAP. Unfortunately, this is usually not true. It can take weeks to schedule the appointment for the abortion, depending on how far along you are. User feenyfeenz explains: "How long the wait would be to actually get the procedure done. I'm in Canada (mb) to be exact and it's covered under our health insurance. But when I first called to book my appointment it was about a 6 week wait. Thankfully I found a private clinic that could do it in 2 weeks. When all you want is to have it over with 2 weeks can feel like a lifetime, I couldn't imagine having to had wait the 6 weeks."

I have three friends who had abortions. One of them only had to wait about a week and a half, one had to wait about three weeks, and one had to wait nearly a month. Clinics like Planned Parenthood are busy, and if you aren't very far along, they might push your appointment.

Source: iStock

You Might Feel Pretty Sick For A While Afterwards

The recovery of an abortion is different for everyone. Some women say they feel nothing (I took one friend to the clinic, and afterwards we got pancakes), while other women feel sick for a few hours or days. User rachelleigh13 says she wishes she knew, "How long it would take for me to recover- while it is different for everyone, I had heavy bleeding/clotting and cramping for three weeks. Not enough that it was a danger or that I was injured (they say if you're bleeding through two pads an hour that is TOO MUCH) but enough that it felt like I couldn't quite get on with my life the way I'd hoped to right after."

One of my friends felt like she had really, really bad PMS and spent a few days laying in bed. You won't know how you're going to react, but prepare for the worst.

Source: iStock

You CAN Find Support

Because abortions are so taboo, many women feel very alone when they go through it. They feel scared to tell their friends, family, or partners because they don't want to be judged, and so they keep it to themselves. Try not to do this! User Kmccain9 says, "Yes, most people will judge you for it. But what I wish I knew going into it was how common it is, and how supportive others could be."

Open up to someone you feel comfortable with. Sharing this with a friend can be very helpful.

Source: iStock

Seeing Abortion Being Discussed As A Political Issue Will Be Hard

As a woman, it's hard for me to read about and hear these political discussions about abortions from men who will never have to make that choice in their life. It fills me with so much anger that they think they have a right to decide what a woman does with her body. So I can't imagine what someone who has had an abortion feels when hearing about this.

User _freakoffherleash_ explains: "That even though I would only feel relief about my decision, seeing it pop up as some political argument all of the time would hurt as much as it does. I was always pro choice before it, but needing one put that into a terrifying perspective. When people in any situation try to justify taking away the option on grounds of how abortion being an option "makes them feel", my blood boils like I never knew it could. What gives anyone the right to force another to carry a child they don't want? What sort of delusions of grandeur are these people living with, to think that I considered their personal beliefs when it was me backed up against that wall, thinking my only ways out were abortion or suicide? If you don't like abortion, don't have one. That should be the end of that argument, unfortunately it rarely is."

Source: iStock

Your Hormones Might Leave You Feeling Weird After

Here's the annoying thing about hormones: they do whatever TF they want. Even if you don't feel guilty, and you feel relief, they can leave you feeling sad and empty. The hormones that come with pregnancy can stick around even after the pregnancy is terminated. User Kattycake explains what she wishes she knew: "I guess postpartum. I don't regret my choice, but I went through so much depression I quit my job and had no motivation to do anything. I'm not sure why, since I don't feel any guilt, It was just a body/hormonal effect of afterwards."

Source: iStock

It Can Make You Feel Helpless

The time between finding out you're pregnant and having an abortion can be a really tough time. You might feel confused, anxious, and sad - and you also might feel hopeless. User feeohnuhh says, "The worst part was just feeling helpless. Feeling like my entire life was put on hold until I got this sorted out. It was a really emotional time for me and I felt very closed-off. I blamed myself, I didn't want to talk to anyone, I was scared of what my friends would say so I just never told anyone." Of course, you might also feel nothing - either feeling is okay.

Source: iStock

How Routine It Would Seem

An abortion seems like a huge thing, and for some people, it really is. For others, it might just become another memory. User hairgenius10 says, "That it would be like an emotionless assembly line...everyone making stops at each check point(urine test, ultrasound, psych eval, etc.). Also, you'll be in bed for a day or two and feel like crap so prep your nightstand with snacks and bottled water if there's no one to take care of you. There will be no judgment if you don't tell people(worked for me). Life keeps going, it's a decision you make and move on...don't let it make or break you."

Source: iStock

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