Elective Abortion

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For every reason you may be here at this page, know this one thing:
you are loved.

A Glimpse of Grief:

While this website provides support to mothers who are already enduring the actualized or inevitable death of their baby via pregnancy & infant loss, this article begins by serving mothers facing elective abortion, in hopes that if there truly is any choice whatsoever, you won’t have to need the sort of grief support the rest of this website provides, because grief is real, it can be hard, and it can be a part of your story for the rest of your life.  There can be tremendous hope, healing and joy in grief, but these things may not ever entirely fill the chasm.

When a baby dies for any reason, mothers may grieve for them.  It is an ongoing process of healing.  The grief that mothers who have experienced elective abortion face can become compounded by a guilt that mothers who have not faced a decision about the duration of life in-utero may not share (knowledgeisempowering.com).  This intense struggle impacts many aspects of the mother’s life: the post abortive mother may be at an increased risk for depression and physical health risks associated directly and indirectly with the elective abortion decision (afterabortion.org)

Loss After Deciding to Continue – Were you at one point in your pregnancy vulnerable to considering elective abortion, determined to continue the pregnancy, and then endured an unexpected pregnancy loss?  This particular experience can create complex feelings of guilt, shame and confusion.  Consider this: in any fleeting moment during the elective abortion and birth processes, a mother may face intense regret, and a change of heart and mind that feels like the experience is robbing her completely.  Please, be gentle on yourself.

You can also visit our types of pregnancy loss list to get support specific to the type of loss and birth method you are experiencing, and consider sharing your story here, so that other mothers enduring this experience after you will find validation in their complex feelings of experiencing unexpected loss after determining to continue a vulnerable pregnancy.

Possible Pre-Abortion Support:

Here is a list of the most common reasons mothers may face an elective abortion decision, along with a few resources that may be of benefit to the challenges presented.  Following these alternative resource options, there are support resources listed for you for the journey after facing this enormously complex, deeply vulnerable decision.

When you are faced with making a decision regarding the duration of life in-utero, any decision you make (parenting through elective abortion, adoption, or rearing), having had to face the decision itself can be excruciating and even traumatic.  Reaffirming that you are intrinsically worthy of respect, dignity and love is vital.

You are worthy.  You are worthy.

Challenges & Support:

“I just don’t think I can parent.”

Possible Options:

  • Our Birth & Bereavement Doulas can offer birth education, birth support, and early parenting preparation, including supplementing additional resources.
  • There are several different kinds of parenting resources available in every community, including free classes at hospitals, and library books on the topic.
  • The Baby Moses Project offers information and support options for parents who have tried to parent their child but through various circumstances, no longer feel capable of providing for their child.
  • In addition, put these terms in your search engine to get even more support from your location, including local crisis pregnancy centers.

“This pregnancy was from an affair, and I fear my marriage won’t survive if my husband finds out.”

Possible Options:

  • Whatever accountability issue there is surrounding this pregnancy, there are many resources to support you.
  • Whoever you are afraid of telling, there are professionals in your community ready to support you.
  • Crisis Pregnancy Centers may provide tips for your situation, as well as referrals to applicable sources.
  • Marriage counselors are availabe in every community, through independent listings, bookstore sections on marriage crises or through churches.

“I am young.  I have my whole life ahead of me.”

Possible Options:

  • Two things are important to know regarding making a decision to electively abort because you are young.  One is that, there are many resources that serve to support you carrying your baby to term while assisting with finishing school and gaining employment.  Second, it is important to know that elective abortion has serious long term consequences, and elective abortion performed on young women poses serious, additional risks (teenbreak.com).
  • You can call 1.800.395.4357
  • Text “TEEN” to 95495
  • 24/7 online chat: option line
  • In addition, put these terms in your search engine to get even more support from your location.

“I can’t afford to take care of this baby.”

Possible Options:

“I won’t have a place to live if I keep this baby.”

Possible Options:

“My personal safety is in danger if I keep this baby.”

Possible Options:

  • Elective abortion will not inherently increase your safety.  If you are in an unsafe situation, it will continue to be unsafe whether you decide on elective abortion or not.  You need to get into a safe situation, and there are many resources and places that serve to provide your safety, whichever decision you make regarding elective abortion.
  • Restraining orders/Ex Parte orders
  • Pregnancy/mother shelters
  • Battered and abused women shelters
  • In addition, put these terms in your search engine to get even more support from your location.

“Selective Reduction: I cannot parent all of these multiples.”

Possible Options:

  • In a culture that has a shortsighted and lofty, almost magical idealism about the splendor of raising multiples, the truth is, raising multiples is enormously challenging.  Coupled with the news that any of the multiples might be facing gestational or chromosomal abnormalities, a mother pregnant with multiples might be faced with the decision of what might be called multifetal pregnancy reduction or selective reduction.
  • Many of the same resources on this page might be applied in this situation as well.
  • Our multiples entry page links to practical information for such experiences as twinless twins, which also can be applied in this situation.
  • Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction, written by Jumelle
  • Embracing Laura

“The baby has something wrong with him.”

Possible Options:

“No, really.  My baby is going to die.  It’s literally just a matter of when.”

Possible Options:

  • It is extremely important to get a second opinion, from a different hospital, before you make a decision regarding the duration of life in-utero.
  • Learn what the process of carrying to term is like.
  • There can be physical, hormonal, emotional, spiritual and psychological benefits to carrying to term.  However, carrying to term (or, waiting for spontaneous onset of labor) can also pose very real psychospiritual, social and relational challenges that need to be addressed.  Weighing these decisions is an impossible time.   What mainstream religious or political agendas don’t share openly is that when the death of your baby is entirely unavoidable, as in a diagnosed and confirmed fatal diagnosis, there can be some sense of empowerment in a situation that feels so entirely out of your control, in making such decisions as scheduling the medically assisted birth of your baby, while so doing, forfeiting any or all medicalized life sustaining or death delaying treatment.  In a situation such as this, when all circumstances except the date of death and birth are out of your control, the term “elective abortion” may be especially triggering or feel insensitive.  The sense of empowerment though, in setting an induction date, can be ongoing, or, it can be fleeting and be met with long term regret.  Each member of your care team should be aware and extremely honoring to this truth.  “Making a decision and sticking with it” isn’t really a reasonable expectation.  More in line with the enormity of such a time is to give yourself permission to experience your feelings, and to treat yourself with love.  None of this is easy.  In any and all of your decisions, go slow.  It may feel impossible to go slow, but you can, and prepare your resources for your journey ahead.

 

“My doctor told me I could die if I don’t terminate the pregnancy.”

Possible Options:

  • Like all diagnosis situations, getting a second opinion is always in your best interest.
  • If your baby has a fatal condition, and waiting for the baby to die naturally poses danger to your own life, here is information particular to your unique situation.
  • We also have support and resources for children and loved ones when there has been Maternal Death.

 

Post Elective Abortion

You have Dignity, Worth, and Love

If you have come to this site and have faced elective abortion at any time in the past, seeing the many different perspectives and alternatives, can re-open your wounds and place that heavy burden of guilt on your heart all over again.  Grief after elective abortion can look different for each mother.  In your grief, you might experience any feelings that are universal to bereaved mothers, such as longing, sadness, or anger.  You might also experience feelings of relief, or even feelings of guilt at feeling relief.  Still other mothers believe that the feelings of regret or shame they may experience are deserved, as if enduring a life of humiliation and comdemnation allows them to bear pain they wanted to protect their children from.  These are all complex emotions, and each of them deserve to be looked at lovingly, with a goal of holistic healing.  Please know that you are not alone, and that there are resources to help you heal, from immediately postpartum, to the lifelong healing journey ahead.  Stillbirthday is designed to bring light into the chasm.  We are all in this together.

I am Sorry

In some situations, a mother who has decided upon elective abortion may not identify this decision with a “loss”.  You may not feel a baby died.  Your own personal convictions may be that your situation was the “potential” for life, or, that your baby may return to you in a future pregnancy.  Into these beliefs, telling you that I am sorry for your loss may not quite fit.  But even still, elective abortion can have a substantial print upon your impression of your body image, your feminine identity and your journey.  The flow of grief may bring in the occasional shift of breeze that has new questions or new feelings.  All of your experiences and all of your feelings are worthy to be looked at with recognition and love.  Whatever situation itself that perhaps wasn’t the most fertile ground for alternatives to elective abortion, may have been itself a kind of loss, a situation that may hold pain or grief to you.  Incest.  An unstable relationship.  Pressures that made the decision for you.  In a later season in which some of these things may change, once again those breezes may blow past your heart and bring fresh questions and feelings.  I am sorry.  Because being a woman comes with more responsibility than we are ever taught in high school.  Because learning to love ourselves is a higher calling than any religious message credits it for.  Because we holders of wombs can rip each other to shreds to substantiate our own merit.  I am sorry, because I too do not always get things right.  I am sorry that it took such a painful subject for us to be real with one another, even here in a tiny written paragraph.  I will not wait any longer to tell you.  No matter what, you are loved.

Subsequent Pregnancy

Particularly the first pregnancy after elective abortion, you may face the feelings any mother pregnant after loss may endure.   In addition to things like climactic milestones in pregnancy (reaching the point in pregnancy in which a diagnosis was determined in a previous pregnancy, the gestational week of birth, or other important points to you), you may find that there are physical and emotional reactions to this pregnancy.  The method of medicalized birth, for example, can bring with it long term consequences, such as scarring or impact on fertility and subsequent miscarriage.  Emotionally, the pregnancy or climactic milestones within it may be met with fresh grief, fear, guilt, shame, and you may experience stretches of emotional dystocia in labor (a physical delay prompted in part or entirety by emotional implications).  However, the emotional impact of a subsequent pregnancy, birth, and choosing an adoption plan or a parenting-through-rearing plan may bring a particular sense of affirmation, reconciliation, peace, and joy.  Any or all of these experiences or reactions can be a healthy part of your journey.  The decision you have faced regarding the duration of life in-utero is only one part of your story – an important part, but only one part.  You can consider how you might define your experience and the unique ways in which you might approach the multitude of aspects of your journey.  Maybe you don’t feel comfortable sharing openly that you have faced a decision, but, in a subsequent pregnancy, birth or welcoming, you might want to incorporate “rainbows” – which is a common sign among bereaved mothers who have endured pregnancy and infant loss who have a subsequent pregnancy or living baby.  Whatever you decide, is as unique and beautiful as you.  Please visit our Getting Pregnant Again resources for mothers pregnant after enduring pregnancy and infant loss.

Healing Resources:

You are also invited to share your story with us.

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