It is normal for a woman to experience a range of emotions after an abortion, such as relief, sadness, happiness and feelings of loss.

Each woman is unique. Many women feel that they have made the right decision after having an abortion. For some women, however, abortion can raise negative emotional responses including grief, guilt, anger, shame and regret. Understanding your emotions can help you begin to let go of any pain and start to heal.

It is important to recognize your feelings and to take good care of yourself if you are experiencing difficulty. The following information may be helpful if you are experiencing emotional distress after an abortion.

What kinds of things might contribute to a woman feeling distress after an abortion?

  • Hormones are changing back to their pre-pregnancy state after an abortion. This chemical change can make a woman feel sad and emotional.
  • A woman is more likely to feel negative emotions if she felt pressured into having an abortion by someone else, instead of making her own decision.
  • Some women don't receive much support from their friends or family.
  • Social stigmas about abortion can make it difficult for women to share their experience and make them feel isolated.
  • Some women might feel judged.
  • Some women fear that they might never again be able to get pregnant. However, abortion does not interfere with your future fertility.
  • Sometimes the couple relationship is stressed or undermined by the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy. In these circumstances, women may feel abused and/or abandoned.

Any time you make a difficult life decision, it is natural to have second thoughts. Allowing yourself to express any negative feelings that you may be having will help to diminish their impact. Sometimes reading about other women's experiences can be reassuring and may make your own feelings more clear.

Is it normal to feel depressed after an abortion?

Approximately 5% to 30% of women report feelings of regret, anxiety, guilt, mild depression and other negative emotions. If your feelings are overwhelming or persistent, you should consult a professional therapist.

It is rare for a woman to become clinically depressed after having an abortion.

There are some risk factors that can contribute to the risk of clinical depression after abortion, such as if the woman has a previous history of depression. Depression is a very serious illness. It is extremely important that you seek help from a professional such as a doctor, counsellor or therapist.