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Understanding the Stages of Grief After Abortion

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Experiencing grief after an abortion is a complex and individual process. Just like any other loss, it can bring forth a range of emotions and challenges. Understanding the stages of grief can offer insight into what one may experience during this time.

 A Shadow of a Woman that is Sad


In the period following an abortion, it’s typical for people to struggle with denial. This means they might not want to admit to themselves that the abortion occurred. They might actively avoid thinking about it or discussing it with others. Some individuals might go as far as trying to convince themselves that the abortion never actually happened. This denial acts as a shield, protecting them from the intense emotional pain and sorrow that can come with acknowledging the loss. It’s a way of coping with a difficult situation by temporarily blocking out reality.


As time passes and the initial shock fades, it’s common for individuals to begin experiencing feelings of anger. This anger can manifest in various ways, directed towards different targets. Some may feel angry at themselves for the decision they made or for the circumstances leading up to the abortion. Others might direct their anger towards their partner, feeling resentment or blame. Healthcare providers involved in the process may also become targets of this anger, especially if the individual feels unsupported or misunderstood. Additionally, anger might be aimed at the situation itself, feeling frustrated or resentful about the circumstances that led to the need for an abortion.

Acknowledging and expressing these emotions healthily is crucial for emotional well-being. Rather than suppressing or bottling up feelings of anger, it’s important to find constructive outlets for expression. This could involve talking to a trusted friend or therapist, journaling, engaging in physical activity, or participating in support groups. By allowing oneself to feel and process these emotions, individuals can begin to heal and move forward in their grief journey.


During this stage, individuals often find themselves grappling with feelings of bargaining, where they engage in internal negotiations or make mental deals in a bid to reverse the abortion or lessen the emotional burden. They may find themselves consumed by thoughts such as “If only I had chosen differently” or “I would do anything to go back and change what happened.” However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the decision to have an abortion was made with the best intentions and based on the circumstances at the time. While it’s natural to entertain thoughts of what could have been, it’s important to recognize that dwelling on these hypothetical scenarios does not change the reality of the situation. Instead, individuals can focus on accepting the past and finding ways to cope with their emotions in the present, knowing that they made the best decision they could with the information and resources available to them at the time. This stage is about coming to terms with the past and beginning to find ways to move forward, rather than getting stuck in a cycle of regret and self-blame.


Feelings of sadness, guilt, and profound loss often accompany this stage. It’s not uncommon to experience symptoms of depression such as crying spells, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and withdrawal from social activities. Seeking support from loved ones or a mental health professional can be beneficial during this time.


Eventually, with time and support, many individuals reach a stage of acceptance. This doesn’t mean forgetting about the abortion or never feeling sadness again. Instead, it involves coming to terms with the loss and finding a way to integrate it into one’s life story. Acceptance allows for healing and the possibility of moving forward.

Seeking Support

Navigating grief after an abortion can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Additionally, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor who specializes in reproductive loss and grief.

Honouring Your Feelings

It’s important to remember that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve after an abortion. Permit yourself to grieve in your own time and in your way.


Grief after an abortion is a deeply personal journey that unfolds differently for everyone. By recognizing and understanding the stages of grief, individuals can navigate this experience with compassion and resilience. Remember to be kind to yourself and to seek support when needed as you process your emotions and heal from your loss.

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