"Your body, your choice." That's a powerful motto in the reproductive health and justice movement. People decide to get abortions for various reasons, including health, finances, not being ready, and any other slew of circumstances.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Might It Look or Feel to Experience Abandonment After an Abortion?
- Tips for Dealing With Abandonment After an Abortion
Still, the reason you choose to get an abortion doesn't necessarily make it any easier. That process can become even more complicated if you and your partner disagree on the decision. Sometimes this decision can lead to the end of a relationship, with some people facing abandonment by their partner.
If this is you, know that we are so sorry. You made the right choice for your body and your life. Unfortunately, your partner didn't agree. Now you might be processing not just your abortion but also the ending of a relationship. You don't have to do it alone. Here's how to deal with being abandoned by a partner after an abortion.
How Might It Look or Feel to Experience Abandonment After an Abortion?
Abortions are tricky. Not only did you have to make a difficult decision for yourself, but you may be experiencing backlash from family and friends who disagree with your choice, specifically your partner. They might have abandoned you because of resentment after an abortion (from one or both of you), which can complicate your feelings even further.
Abortion is a type of pregnancy loss, one that everyone processes differently. It’s not uncommon to experience grief after an abortion, even if it’s mixed with relief and acceptance. The ending of a relationship is another kind of loss that can also come with grief.
You’re probably feeling a whole slew of emotions right now, ranging from anger to sadness to anxiety and everything in between. That’s ok; you’re human, and it’s normal to be experiencing intense emotions after multiple intense life events.
You may feel overwhelmed right now or you may be having difficulty carrying on with everyday life. You may also feel numb or just ok. It’s also totally normal if you’re not experiencing intense emotions. Everyone goes through loss, grief, and abandonment differently. Your experience is your own, as are your emotions.
Still, everyone deserves support throughout their life, especially during difficult times. Again, you’re not alone, and there are things you can do to help you deal with what you’re experiencing right now.
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Tips for Dealing With Abandonment After an Abortion
What you’re going through may feel incredibly intense. No one deserves to be abandoned, especially for making decisions about their body. You did nothing wrong, and you will get through this.
Here are some tips to help you deal along the way:
Self-care is anything you do that helps you fill up your cup so that you can reset, heal, and focus on yourself. Whether it be an abortion or a relationship, loss asks you to turn inwards. To get back in touch with who you are and what your needs are. This is a time to practice self-care because you deserve every bit of it.
What are some self-care practices for dealing with abandonment? The list is endless. Here are some ideas:
- Nourish your body: There are so many ways to nourish your body. Some methods include eating healthy but comforting foods, getting physical activity, bathing, or getting a massage.
- Feed your creativity: Creativity is an incredible tool for processing emotions and helping you get unstuck. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, you can still get your creative juices flowing by simply putting pen to paper and doodling, picking up a coloring book, or doing karaoke on YouTube.
- Calm your mind: Now is a great time to start integrating practices that help support your mental health. Some examples of these practices include meditation, yoga, breathwork, or simple mindfulness exercises.
- Get in nature: Mother nature is the ultimate healer. She’s there to hold you when you feel like you’re flailing and don’t know what to do with yourself. Even if you live in a huge city, just sitting in a park, petting a dog, or walking outside can be enough to shake things up and help you feel a bit more grounded.
There are so many ways to practice self-care, you do what works for you.
Lean on community
Humans heal in community. While some alone time might be necessary, having someone else to lean on can make a world of difference when you're amid heartbreak and grief.
Who do you trust the most? Who do you feel most comfortable being around? It could be family, friends, coworkers, even an in-person or online support group. Find the people you don't have to impress or be anything other than who you are at any given moment, which might currently be a snotty, crying mess. We've all been there!
It's helpful to have various people around you who can support you in different ways. It's also helpful to remember that different people bring different things to the table. One friend might be the shoulder to cry on, another one might make you laugh till you cry, and another might make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.
Your true people don't expect anything in return. So let them know that you need their support right now. Whether it's to talk or just lounge on the couch zoning out with take-out and a heartfelt rom-com.
Seek professional help
Your personal support network is essential, but sometimes it’s not enough. Even the people closest to you, like your mom or best friend, might not be equipped to support you in the ways you need right now. Not only that, but your loved ones probably have some pretty angry feelings towards your (ex) partner right now. It can be helpful to get an objective lens and practical coping strategies.
One of the best ways to do this is to seek out help from a mental health professional like a counselor or therapist. Many providers specialize in issues like reproductive health, loss, grief, and relationships. Psychology Today is a great website where you can find a provider in your area (or remotely) that specializes in what you need and takes your insurance if that applies to you.
Therapists aren’t the only professionals who may help you. Specialists like acupuncturists and bodyworkers can help you process the built-up grief that lingers in your body and help you feel more grounded and supported. Many acupuncturists even take insurance!
It might be hard to feel joyful right now, and that’s perfectly understandable. Many of the self-care practices we talked about earlier can be ways to tap into little moments of joy. While you might not be brewing with excitement over life, you can set the intention to prioritize what brings you peace and happiness.
Another great way to approach this is to list the small things that light you up normally. They could be big or small. Here are some ideas:
- Drinking your morning beverage
- Listening to a throwback song
- Petting or cuddling an animal
- Watching a silly T.V. show
- Cooking your favorite childhood meal
- Calling your best friend
Make your list now and try to do something on it whenever you’re hit with a wave of emotions. Another way to do this is by putting each activity on a small piece of paper and throwing them in a bag or a hat, then pulling one whenever you need to pick me up. Even the process of writing things down can help you feel better.
Happiness and joy might not be the easiest emotions to access right now, but each little action you take towards them helps you heal that much more. You deserve joy.
Look at the situation
Abandonment is never ok in any situation. You might feel guilty and ashamed like you did something wrong, but you didn’t. Abortions are a perfectly normal part of reproductive health, and at the time, it was the best decision for you.
I don’t know the dynamics of your relationship, but I do know that abandonment is not a respectful way to treat a partner. Ending the relationship because of fundamental differences is one thing, but leaving someone high and dry because they made a decision about their body is not the answer. The fact that your partner didn’t respect that decision does not mean that you messed up.
If you are guilt-tripping yourself, now is the time to look at the situation from a zoomed-out perspective and be honest with yourself. You did nothing wrong. You are not to blame. You made the best decision that you could at the moment. Some relationships are not meant to be, especially when disagreements about such significant issues directly affect you.
If you’re having a hard time zooming out, it can be helpful to have a friend do this for you. Ask a good friend to be straightforward with you about how they perceive the situation. A good friend will tell you the same – that you did nothing wrong and you deserve all the time you need to grieve, take care of yourself, and heal.
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Give yourself time
Time might not heal all, but it certainly helps. You’re in the middle of a big life transition, and it might take a little bit before you’re feeling like yourself again. Grief and healing aren’t linear. You might feel great one day and be hit with heavy emotions the next.
Understanding the waves of healing allows you to have more compassion for yourself, especially when it feels impossible to get out of bed. Give yourself time to ease back into life. You don’t need to push yourself to achieve or socialize right now. You just need to focus on yourself and what you need to heal.
Abandonment After an Abortion: You Will Get Through This
You might be deep in the healing process right now, so take a deep breath to ground and center yourself. Remember that by choosing to have an abortion, you chose what felt best for you and your life.
It might not feel like it, but you’re entering a new phase of life—a new phase of self-discovery. Sometimes grief and abandonment are catalysts for change. So what can you do to help push this growth along? You can start by using the tips we talked about and focusing on you and what fills you up. It's is your life, and only you get to decide how to live it.