Help & Healing

On this page, you’ll find information and resources for those who are seeking help after abortion.  If you are currently pregnant and considering an abortion, you can find pregnancy help here.

If you are in immediate distress and need to talk to someone right now, please call the 24 hour, national helpline for abortion recovery, toll-free, at 1-866-469-7326.  Someone is there to listen to you at every hour of every day.

Remember, you are not alone! Many others have experienced abortion and pregnancy-related injustices harm and heartbreak. Many others care about you and hope, help and healing are possible.

It may be a long journey.  Or, if you find the right help, you may find substantial help and healing in as little as a single weekend program.

But most important of all, please stay the course.   Don’t lose hope.  Don’t give up. Persevere until you find the kind of help that works for you.   There is so much help available.  There is no reason for you to continue to feel trapped by by your past or unrelenting grief.   Experienced, trained healers, most of whom have been exactly where you are today, are ready to help you.

So please keep reading on this page, or click on the links below for additional resources and information.

If you are pregnant, visit our pregnancy help page.

If you are being coerced or forced to abort by your parents, partner or someone else, you can find legal resources and help at The Center Against Forced Abortion.

To find a program near you, you can use this link to go straight to a list of healing programs, links, phone numbers

To share this information with someone you know, please look at our Help & Healing Booklet.  To learn more about what you can do to help them, read How to Help Others Booklet.

Find more articles related to healing.

You are not alone: a message from someone who’s been there

If you are in emotional or spiritual pain after abortion, there are resources and options available to you in your journey to renewed emotional and spiritual well-being.

You are not alone in what you have been feeling, and you don’t need to be alone and isolated as you recover. As you reach out for assistance, you will discover a community of compassionate, experienced men and women who will be able to offer skillful and significant help.

My prayers and encouragement are with you as you walk on this path of recovery. Others, including me, have walked it before you. We know that what once seemed impossible peace, forgiveness, restoration to a sense of wholeness, is indeed possible. However deep your trauma and your sense of pain and emotional turmoil, I encourage you to look forward to recovery with renewed hope and confidence. —Leslie Graves

There is hope: finding the right people and resources for you

If you are suffering after abortion, you may feel very alone. You may have experienced abortion many years ago and never told anyone. You may be struggling with a more recent abortion. You may have been denied the choice you wanted or the support you needed. Women’s experiences vary widely. For some, it was a decision they made and later came to regret; for most, it involved some for of coercion. For still others, it was forced by those in positions of authority or power. Regardless of the circumstances, healing is possible.

As you investigate the resources listed here, keep in mind that not every program is a good fit for every person. Please keep trying until you find a person or group where you are truly safe, comfortable and welcome. Bear in mind that any time you reflect back on a painful time in your life, you will most likely feel worse before you feel better, because you will be thinking and feeling more on a daily basis about what happened. That’s normal, and it’s one reason why support is so helpful on your journey.

However, some people may try a particular resource, and continue to be in a lot of pain, experience flashbacks and intrusive thoughts, or have behaviors that they dislike and want to stop but which are continuing. If that happens, you may be tempted to say, “It must be me, and I can never expect to truly experience peace and joy again. Because of what happened, I will always have to struggle with destructive thoughts and unhealthy behaviors.”  Don’t give up!

Please Keep Trying!

Many, many people have experienced complete healing of their post-abortion symptoms through one of these programs. You might want to read What does recovery feel like? if you are wondering whether more healing and recovery might be possible for you.

Types of Programs

Many options are available

When seeking support and healing for post-abortion trauma, one basic choice is between group support or one-on-one counseling.

If you’re not sure whether a group setting or an individual setting is a better fit for you at this time, go to Is group support the right choice? for a collection of comments about that, and Is one-on-one counseling for you? for comments about that.

Another choice is between in-person support (attending a weekend retreat, working with a therapist, a clergyperson or a peer counselor, or going to a weekly group) or online support (online chats, internet message boards, e-mail groups). Several organizations offer a combination of email or internet-based group support and in-person support.

See In-person or online support? for reflections on these options.

Another choice is between programs with a spiritual component and those without. Spiritual beliefs are personal and are often tied-in with how we look at abortion in general and our own experience with abortion in particular. It is not uncommon to feel that we are unacceptable to God if we have had an abortion, or to feel that abortion is “the unforgivable sin.” That pain is indeed hard to bear, and it is one reason that many, but not all, post-abortion groups have a spiritual basis. I indicate information about that with each listing.

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Basic Expectations When Choosing a Group.

What you have a right to expect from a therapist or group

1. Confidentiality. Your confidentiality and privacy should be strictly respected at all times, unless you are threatening harm to yourself or others. Also, no one should share the details of your story–even if no one would recognize that it is about you–with others without your explicit permission.

2. No pressure to “tell your story.” Because of wanting to reach out to those who still suffer, many people who have experienced post-abortion trauma do share their story with friends or in public. This is a very personal decision, with many, many factors that you will need to consider. If you indicate an interest in raising awareness through sharing your story, a good support group will encourage you to carefully discern what is truly best for you, and to take plenty of time in making this decision.

3. Prompt response. If you e-mail an organization, you should expect a response within 48 hours. If you call a hotline or therapist and get voicemail, you should get detailed information about when you can speak to someone in person. If you leave a message, you should get a call back within 48 hours.

4. No political component. The program should not include any political component at all. Because pro-life organizations such as the Catholic Church were inclined to believe that post-abortion syndrome exists, pro-life groups were and are very important in supporting post-abortion research and healing. By contrast, some pro-choice activists can feel threatened by the idea that abortion can hurt a woman emotionally or spiritually, and react in damaging and defensive ways to your pain. Bottom line: You may find help from a source you did not expect, but you should probably steer clear of any therapist, clergyperson or healing program that in any way will use or minimize your pain or vulnerability or tells you that you have to be pro-life or pro-choice to receive help or to heal.

5. Respect and professionalism. The program and the individuals involved with it should be nonjudgmental, respectful, and knowledgeable.

6.  Avoid “quick fixes” and “spiritual band-aids.” See this article for more information:

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Be Wise When Seeking Wisdom

Advice from experts in post-abortion healing

Some words to the wise from Theresa Burke, PhD, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard and co-author with David Reardon of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion:

“Post-abortion healing is a specialty unto itself. The average psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or counselor of any other academic stripe who does not understand post-abortion issues can often inflict more harm than good on the unsuspecting woman. Many may believe they have enough insight to help, but unless they have had additional training, they often don’t. Certainly, if your thoughts and feelings become so overwhelming that you feel you can no longer cope, seek professional assistance immediately. But generally, I encourage you to take the time to find one of the growing number of professional therapists and experienced lay counselors who have received special training in post-abortion healing.”

Here is a longer excerpt from the book Forbidden Grief that is another word to the wise as you think about seeking help with any post-abortion issues you may be experiencing:

The interaction between therapists and women who have experienced abortion is obstructed by unspoken secrets, fears and political biases. It should be no surprise that because of their own psychological needs, many counselors simply don’t want to delve into the subject of abortion. If they do, some prefer to quickly reassure clients that they did the best thing and thereby close off any further expressions of grief. This occurs because many counselors have neglected to identify their own fears and anxieties that might be aroused by such conversations.

Many therapists have been involved in an abortion themselves. Others have encouraged clients to abort or have given their therapeutic ‘blessing’ to the abortion option for clients considering abortion. This is often done out of ignorance of the research that shows that women with prior psychological problems fare poorly after abortion…While some therapists may simply be ignorant of these undisputed findings, others simply ignore or disbelieve them for their own psychological or political reasons.

Once a counselor has encouraged or approved of an abortion for Patient A, he may become ‘invested’ in defending abortion. If he subsequently allows Patient B to delve into her post-abortion grief and associated pathologies, then the counselor may be forced to question his advice to Patient A. He may be instinctively wary of witnessing an intense post-abortion reaction because it may provoke his own sense of guilt in having given Patient A bad advice.

Julianne described her experience with her therapist this way:

After my abortion, I could not stop crying. I went to see the therapist who had encouraged me to have the abortion. I cried the whole time there. She sat across from me with a blank look on her face. She said nothing. During this session she was removed and distant-emotionally cold and withdrawn.

As I was leaving her office, she came up to me and said, “I don’t usually touch my patients, but you look like you need a hug.” She then proceeded to embrace my shoulders and offer a squeeze. I felt like I was being embraced by an evil presence. I shuddered at her touch. How dare she even come near me!  A hug!  I was sickened at the thought of such a trite expression-after having encouraged me to kill my own child!

Never a word of support for my motherhood!  Not an alternative plan, or a resource to help me. She knew I didn’t want another abortion. She told me to have a —— abortion because I would not be able to handle another baby.

Then she offered me a hug!

God, I miss my baby. That’s who I wanted to hug…my baby who is gone, whom I will never hold or cuddle.

If the therapist has personally had an abortion, a client’s confession of grief is quite likely to run into either a wall of denial or another quagmire of unsettled issues.

According to another of my clients, Hanna:

I thought I had put my own experiences behind me. I was totally unprepared for the onset of emotions evoked by hearing one of my clients talk about her abortion. There are times when I feel as though I have opened a Pandora’s box and my life will never be normal again. Memories I did not know existed have been surfacing at the most inopportune times. My sleeping hours are plagued by graphic nightmares. I vacillate between feeling in control and fully out of control. As a professional counselor, I struggle to find a bridge that will allow me to merge my professional expertise with my personal trauma. “Physician, heal thyself!” I do know that the time to reconcile this is now and that it is no accident. I have arrived at this particular fork in the road.

Fortunately, Hanna recognized her own symptoms that screamed for attention and decided to seek help. She was willing to deal with the trauma that she had for many years successfully pushed away but had never truly worked through.

(The above excerpt is from pages 60-61 of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, by Theresa Burke, Ph.D with David Reardon, Ph.D.)

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Is Group Support Right for You?

Some things to consider

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.”  -Helen Keller

“Mutual help groups are a powerful and constructive means for people to help themselves and each other. The basic dignity of each human being is expressed in his or her capacity to be involved in a reciprocal helping exchange. Out of this compassion comes cooperation. From this cooperation comes community.” – Phyllis Silverman, PhD, Dept of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, from Introduction to the Self-Help Sourcebook, 1995, p. 24

Research indicates that self-help groups can have a powerfully positive impact on us. In post-abortion healing, this would be found at a weekend retreat, a weekly bible study or recovery group, in a structured online group or in a more free-wheeling e-group.

Yet, entering into a group can be scary. Imagine going to a first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and saying for the first time outside the privacy of your own mind, “I am an alcoholic.”  Or even just going to the first practice of a sports team at your new high school, or any other new group setting.

It’s common to have many anxieties and fears about attending a weekend retreat or group support meetings. “Will my confidentiality truly be respected?”  “Even if people didn’t say anything harsh, will I witness fleeting facial expressions of condemnation and judgment, and experience even more shame?”  “What if I start crying and can’t stop?”  “Will I be the only one there with multiple abortions?”  The people who coordinate your particular support group probably experienced the very same fears at one point, and will be able to talk about them with you.

Besides abortion, you may have had other experiences in your life that cause you to experience other people as damaging and untrustworthy.  Meeting others in groups is a chance to experience people who are safe and trustworthy. If you have had bad experiences with people, it can feel risky. The rewards can be as great as the risk.

Click here for a website with many quotes about the advantages of mutual self-help groups.

Jilly, who offers online support through her own PASS website, wrote this about the value of group support:

I run one every three months, and it is a ‘private’ board on the message  board system, so the group meeting for the experience has a private board and private chat room. It seems that of the women who start, usually about 30 percent end up dropping out…either they find they aren’t ready for it yet, or real life things come round and take up their spare time and they don’t have the time to do itt—;but for those who stay in, it seems to be a very binding and healing experience. The women who do the group tend to ‘stick together’ on the main boards afterwards, and end up becoming ‘phone friends’ and even get together in real life now and then.. It seems to be a very good way for women to start healing.

Theresa Burke of Rachel’s Vineyard ( shares her thoughts on the value of a group support experience in Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion:

The profound healing that Michelle experienced was new to her, but not to me. I have been privileged to witness literally thousands of such transforming moments, when the labor of grief ends in the birth of a new, restored woman. It as though an emotional key turns, simultaneously releasing all the muck and grime and weight of past abortions while opening a door to a fresh new future…Tears of sorrow are mixed with tears of joy as women and men experience their first taste of freedom after years of cruel bondage.

But such healing can only happen when the isolation and secrecy are dismantled, and one’s story is revealed to others who do not seek to judge or condemn. Only then is it finally possible, with the support of a small community of others who compassionately affirm the loss and respect the grief, to grieve one’s losses to their fullness. The importance of social support to the grief process reflects an important aspect of our human nature. Though we are individuals, we are inescapably social beings. The lack of social support will degrade or destroy our well-being. Conversely, the experience of social support, in even a single relationship, can strengthen our well-being.

For most of us, it is only when we have the support of others who will not judge or condemn us that we feel safe from social rejection. This support makes it easier for us to confront and explore the deepest part of our souls. With it, one learns how to accept forgiveness from God and one’s aborted child. With it, one learns how to extend forgiveness to oneself and others. And with it, one discovers how the most difficult, soul-breaking experiences imaginable can be used as the foundation for building a richer, deeper, and more meaningful existence.

From p. 246 of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion

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Is one-on-one help best for you?

Considering what’s right for you in your journey

One-on-one support and therapy as you begin to heal from post-abortion trauma could come in several forms. You could seek help:

  • from a mental health professional (a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, social worker, or other mental health clinician).
  • from a clergyperson
  • from a peer-counselor who will most likely use a recovery approach such as “Forgiven and Set Free”,  “My Guilt, Grief and Shame are Ending Soon,” the PACE program or “Her Choice to Heal”, and meet with you one-on-one for a period of weeks at a time convenient to both of you. (Generally, these sessions will be free or have a very low cost.)
  • Individual email counseling through a number of different online sites that offer it.

Advantages of one-on-one counseling include:

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Ability to tailor sessions to your particular issues
  • Privacy

Here is an excerpt from a comment made by someone who participated in one-on-one sessions with a peer counselor from Victims of Choice:

My 10 counseling sessions have ended with my lay counselor from Victims Of Choice (VOC), and I wanted to write and thank you for this life changing experience.

I learned of the VOC Ministry when you led a workshop at our church. I attended it because I was curious about a ministry dealing with men and women who have had abortions. Although I considered myself a committed Christian and had known the Lord for 15 years, I evaded the issue with Him that I too had had an abortion 25 years ago. I knew abortion was wrong and for years I had conditioned myself not to think about it. I told no one about my abortion – struggling to stay in denial even to myself.

The abortion experience itself is very traumatic for a woman to endure. I learned that years of sleepless nights and other phobias were directly related to my abortion. My low self-esteem was mostly due to the tremendous guilt…hidden deep in my heart so no one could see what an awful thing I had done.

But our wonderful God loved me too much to allow me to be in bondage to this buried sin. I clung to Isaiah 50:7 that says the Lord God will help us. I would set my face like a flint and ask Him to help me get over being so ashamed.

After the workshop, I contacted VOC and made an appointment with a lay counselor. I really appreciated the discreet way in which I was treated. This very special person helped me to feel God’s cleansing, healing and forgiving love!”

Here is a web ink that offers advice on finding a compatible therapist:

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In-person or online support?

In-person support for post-abortion healing would either be on a weekend retreat, one-on-one counseling with a therapist, clergyperson or lay facilitator, or a weekly support group.

On-line support would be through a message board, e-group, online recovery group, scheduled or spontaneous online chats, or email.

If you’re reading this, you’re already experiencing one of the many benefits of the internet:   Quick, fast, information on a targeted subject of interest to you, entirely at your own convenience, and with complete anonymity.

Ever since the Internet came along, people have wondered how “the online experience” stacks up against face-to-face experiences. Therapists wonder whether online therapy can be effective, Catholics wonder what it means to pray before the  Blessed Sacrament that is displayed on a webpage, young lovers wonder if it is “real” love if you only know the person online.

I would guess that for most people, as they journey toward healing, face-to-face contact will end up being very important at some point. Online support, however, has great strengths. For most people, it is not an either/or choice (either in-person or online support) but a both/and choice (both in-person and online support).

Jilly from the PASS website notes that participants on those message boards have shared these perspectives on the online experience:

  • Convenience - the ease of being able to ‘communicate’ and discuss this on their computer, in the privacy of their own home, at times that are convenient for them.
  • Privacy - the anonymity of using a computer and not having to talk face to face right away about what was and is for some a totally upsetting and incredibly painful issue.
  • Safety - they like not having to use their real name, and be private.
  • Ease – Also for many women it is easier to type things then to write them, especially when it comes to this issue!

I think there’s still much to be gained from an in-person hug, and an in-person group, but if there isn’t one in a woman’s area, or she is not ready for the step of going out into ‘public’ with this, an online group is invaluable!  My online groups have had women from the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, England,  Ireland, Sweden, Italy, Soviet Georgia, France and Germany in them – this just wouldn’t be possible with an in-person group!

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What does recovery feel like?

You will reach a turning point

Almost anyone who has had a lot of recovery and healing from traumatic experiences and loss will tell you that you never stop healing this side of Heaven. Yet, for many people a turning point comes when they can say, “I am not in that black hole any longer.”    It’s like falling in love…when it happens, you’ll know.

Please keep trying!

Until you find a compassionate therapist or program that works for you

If you have tried a particular therapist or support group, and you still regularly experience one or more of these symptoms in relation to abortion:

  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Compulsive thoughts and feelings that started after the abortion
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Lack of attachment to your children
  • Self-hatred
  • Shame
  • Social isolation
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Compulsive or addictive behaviors that started after abortion

Then I would urge you to try a different program or therapist. As they say in 12-step programs, “You’re not a failure until you fail to try.”  Here’s a link to a good article on reaching out for help:

Here are more articles related to healing.

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Organizations, resources, and links

Please note: The services offered by help/healing groups are confidential and, in many cases, free. Inclusion in this list should not be taken as an endorsement of any group’s programs or philosophy.

Use your best judgment and discretion as you investigate these links. If you are experiencing shame or guilt because of abortion, and have a negative experience with a particular group, you may believe that is what you deserve. It isn’t. What you deserve is respect, a nonjudgmental attitude, and effective assistance as you heal. If one person or organization isn’t right for you, another one will be.

Abortion Recovery Network
National toll-free hotline at 1-866-4-MY-RECOVERY (1-866-469-7326)

A network of ministries that provides information and counseling for those suffering after abortion. Their web site helps locate post-abortion ministries both in the U.S. and internationally. Also provides help to men, family members, medical personnel and those in prison who have been affected by abortion.

Lumina: Hope and Healing After Abortion
National toll-free hotline at 1-877-586-4621 or email

A post-abortion referral network that offers group programs, retreats for women and men, referrals to professional therapists, post-abortion ministries, and clergy members trained in post abortion stress. A network of women and men who have walked through the pain of abortion are also ready to accompany you through the darkness, into the joy of a renewed life.

National Helpline for Abortion Recovery
National toll-free hotline at 1-866-482-LIFE (1-866-482-5433)

24 / 7 confidential care helpline for women, men and families struggling after abortion. Calls are answered by trained phone consultants who have themselves experienced abortion and want to help others find healing. They can help you find the support group nearest you. A directory of local support groups, searchable by zip code, is available on the organization’s web site.

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
National toll-free hotline at 1-877-HOPE-4-ME (1-877-467-3463)

Rachel’s Vineyard offers post-abortion weekend retreats and weekly support groups in 42 states and 4 countries. The retreat is Christian, and is offered in interdenominational, Catholic and ecumenical formats.   It has been translated into four languages, including Spanish.

Rachel’s Vineyard has a monthly e-newsletter, “Vine and Branches,” which is archived on their website and available on request. It has various aftercare resources including an email newsletter called “Oaktrees,” and offers individual email support through the website.

Rachel’s Vineyard has had an annual national Leadership Conference since 2000 and also offers one-day clinical trainings throughout the country. It hosts a very active e-group for mental health professionals and laypeople who serve on retreat teams, or are planning to offer the retreat.

Ramah International
Sydna Masse, Director; phone (941) 473-2188.

This Christian group supports post-ab ortion ministry through training programs, resources, research and promoting awareness of post-abortion issues. Director Sydna Masse is the author of the recovery book, “Her Choice to Heal”. Sydna has also created a leader’s guide so that “Her Choice to Heal” can be used as the basis for in-person weekly recovery groups.

Ramah International has a newsletter, various additional resources, and can be used as a point of referral to weekly recovery groups around the country. You can also find e-mail support through the Ramah website.

The National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing (NOPARH)/ Project Rachel
National toll-free hotline at 1-800-5WE-CARE.

Project Rachel is a post-abortion outreach of the Catholic Church, while NOPARH is intended as a non-denominational referral source for post-abortion help. Project Rachel was founded in 1984 by Vicki Thorn, who is the director of NOPARH.

NOPARH has hosted several international conferences on post-abortion reconciliation and Vicki Thorn offers one-day trainings. Catholic dioceses that have their own Project Rachel can also be a source for local referrals.  By calling the national office at 1-800-5WE-CARE, you will generally be referred to the local Project Rachel office nearest to you. That office can then refer you to helpful and trained clergy, therapists, retreats and support groups.

Local Pregnancy Center Based Support Groups

Some Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) and Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) host post-abortion support groups. These groups typically meet weekly for a period of anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks, and use a variety of recovery guides, including “Forgiven and Set Free”, “Her Choice to Heal”, PACE (Post-Abortion Counseling and Education), the Rachel’s Vineyard weekly support model, or the “My Guilt, Grief and Shame are Ending Soon” program.

To find out if there is a PRC or CPC offering post-abortion help in your area, check with the following groups:

Option Line
1-800-712-HELP (4357)

Groups Offering Online Support

Abortion Changes You
A website giving women, men, family members and others involved in abortion a safe place to share their experiences in a confidential and neutral environment. Includes articles, information and resources on coping with abortion and resolving the experience, along with links to local support and counseling groups.

Kala’s Group
An online community with an intimate feel. Kala’s Group hosts message boards, and scheduled chats. It also has a memorials page.

Victims of Choice
An informative and welcoming website. Elizabeth Verchio, Director, has created  “My Guilt, Grief and Shame are Ending Soon.” a 10-session program that is especially designed for one-on-one work between someone experiencing emotional and spiritual wounds and a trained peer counselor. Victims of Choice offers many resources for establishing abortion recovery centers, including a 217-page Abortion Recovery Facilitator Guidebook.

Lifecall: Getting the Help You Need
Informative webpage by Teri Reisser, author of “A Solitary Sorrow,” a self-help book and Bible study for healing after abortion. This page includes streaming audio presentations.

Independent Email Support Groups at Yahoo Groups
In addition to e-groups sponsored through some of the sites listed above, there are a number of independent post-abortion e-groups. It is free and easy to create an e-group through Yahoo Groups. Anyone with an email address can do it. At this time, there are 42 abortion recovery e-groups registered through Yahoo groups. Here’s a link that takes you to the Yahoo index for these groups. Note that on the index, you can see how many people belong to each list.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list. While we try to keep this list updated, omissions and errors may occur. Send additions and corrections to

64 Responses to Help & Healing

  1. Cheryl Kraus says:

    I have been through the abortion healing group through a church I went to . we used the pace workbooks. I am interested in starting a group in my church now and would like some information on how much the work books are and where do I get them from?

  2. Laura says:

    I found this website both helpful and worrying. I am partly worried about the long term physical after effects of what will happen post my medical abortion but also really positive about the amount of help that is available. However, I believe that this website and all the groups featured in it are america based and I live in the UK. Unfortunately I cannot find the same level of help freely available when it comes to post abortion counselling and help. I would be very grateful if anyone knows of anywhere in the UK where the same help is available.

    • EI says:

      There are programs in UK. Rachel’s Vineyard, for example, lists some contacts under its retreat listing for Europe | England.

      Searching “post-abortion counseling UK” I came up with other listings, including

      If you still have trouble finding one near you, try contacting a pro-life group or Catholic Church to inquire if they have contacts to post-abortion programs. Most should.

      • AEDAN says:

        wat about in south Africa?

        • EI says:

          You may be able to find a program by seeking referrals from the groups most likely to work with them. For example, I would suggest calling any pro-life pregnancy help centers you can find to ask if they know of any. You might also call some churches. One place to call would be the various Catholic diocesan offices, beginning with the one in your own region. Every diocese in the Unites States has or participates in providing a post-abortion healing program. I would expect that at least every diocese in South Africa would know of some resource they or others in the area have for post-abortion healing.

          If you can’t find a program, I’d suggest you find a book or online program that you would like to try and combine that with a friend or pastor who will work with you in going through the book or online program. I really think you would do better having a sympathetic friend to actually talk with who can support you in your journey.

          You are in our prayers.

  3. Captin black says:

    My girlfriend is very distant and she has almost zero emotion towards me what can I do ?

    • EI says:

      I wish I had an easy answer for you. Emotional distancing from others is very common after an abortion . . . especially from the male partner. She may not be ready to deal with her own emotions, or yours, but all you can do is try to show understanding for the turmoil and hurt that is inside her (and in yourself) whether or not it is fully recognized. I don’t know if you were encouraging or opposed to the abortion. But if in your heart you are now recognizing your own loss and failures, you might try telling her how you are feeling . . . whether sad, guilty, or regretful that you hadn’t been happy and supportive of having the baby. Whatever it is, you have to be honest. And to be honest, you may need to dig deeper into your own emotions . . . not just your thoughts, but what you are feeling on an emotional level . . . and then try to put yourself into her shoes and understand not just what she is thinking (though that, too), but what she is feeling . . . and afraid to feel.

      Even a brief discussion of the hurt and grief you feel, and your concern for what she is going through (which she may shrug off and not want to discuss), can at least be the starting point for suggesting that maybe the both of you could benefit from talking to a post-abortion healing group like those listed on this page. Encourage her to read this page. It maybe that she’s not ready. Many people will pull in and isolate themselves and are afraid to open up their emotions, and there isn’t much you can do about it. But at least by (1) sharing your feelings, (2) showing openness and a desire to understand her feelings, and (3) pointing her in the direction to talk with women who have been through the same thing and can help her, and you, to heal better, you have laid the ground work for her to open up to you and to get help. But as I said, there are no guarantees. She may rebuff your efforts because she is hurting too much and is too scared to open up because she’s afraid she can’t control where it will go from there. But at least you will have planted the seeds, and someday they may bear fruit. You are both in our prayers.

  4. Nolwazi says:

    I need help, I am currently having a hard time dealing with my decision to have an abortion. i found out i was 12 weeks pregnant and immediately had an abortion after my man & I realised that our current situation did not allow us to have anymore kids. but i have been beating myself up ever since.

    • EI says:

      I understand what you’re going thru, Nolwazi. All I can suggest is that you call one of the post-abortion help groups listed on this page and find a woman, who has been through what you have and has worked through her own healing and been trained to help others to do the same. Don’t give up hope. But don’t just bury your feelings, either. Get some help.

      • tumi says:

        Hi Nolwazi, where are you sis,just going through same situation as yours,pls talk if u want to, I really need help I’m killed inside. El may I pls have Nolwazi’s email please *cryes*

  5. G. Harrison says:

    Nolwazi, grace and peace to you. I also had an abortion about 22 years ago. I found it hard to sleep at night and even harder to find forgiveness. I found it very hard to forgive myself. My road to recovery started when I asked God to forgive me. My burden was lifted even more when I asked the Father of the child to forgive me even though he was involved and went with me to the clinic. My closure came when I joined a Post Abortion Bible Study. Talking about it freed me from the terrible secret and loosed me from the heaviness of shame. There I learned that it was okay to experience anger, resentment, and fear of my secret being exposed. In the group we all gave our child a name. We don’t name them because of the shame and the secrecy of that terrible day. I believe it was a girl and her name is Zion Patrice. I pray your recovery.

  6. Captin black says:

    My girl is so scared of getting pregnant again and the it’d she has is making her miserable what can I do

    • EI says:

      Did she have an abortion previously? If so, please encourage her to find a post-abortion healing counselor. It would be helpful if you agreed to go with her.

      Regarding her fear about getting pregnant again, the solution is easy, but not one that you may like hearing. No more intercourse until you are married. Show her you love her by being willing to wait until the two of you are ready and committed to being able to support a child, whether the pregnancy is planned or a surprise. It is exactly for the reason of avoiding abortions and the harm it does to women, men, and families that “traditional moral beliefs” in every culture advise saving sex for marriage. Birth control failure outside marriage is so common, that it is a grave mistake to believe a pregnancy won’t happen just because you’re using birth control. Show her you love her by showing her you will wait for her until marriage.

  7. Erika says:

    I had an abortion about a month ago and was perfectly fine. Now a month later I find myself crying uncontrollably and starting to emotional disconnect from everybody. But it comes and goes its not a constant thing. Could this juss be hormones or should I start my journey and begin too seek healing.

    • EI says:

      It is unlikely just “hormones.” I would recommend talking to someone connected with an experienced post-abortion healing ministry sooner rather than later. Waiting, hiding under your covers, or developing habits of denial or “just coping” can make it more difficult to work through issues later…or at the very least, are likely to delay the healing that you can achieve. Please look at our tips for finding a post-abortion healing program that’s right for you.

  8. Kirsty says:

    I had a termination 3 months ago. Initially I felt relief. Now I find myself struggling to come to terms with it and grieving over the loss of my child. i was convinced by my partner that abortion was the only option for us. The day of procedure my partner broke up with me and never spoke to me again. I am an emotional mess. I don’t know what to do.

    • EI says:

      Dear Kirsty,

      I’m sorry to hear about the “emotional mess” you are struggling through. Don’t give up hope. The loss of your child and your relationship are mixed together into a lot of grief, self-doubt, and self-blame.

      I strongly encourage you to reach out to an experienced post-abortion healing ministry for help . . . which begins with just talking to someone who can non-judgmentally listen to you and show her understanding and give you the support and encouragement and tips for moving forward through the grief process to the healing process.

      You are in my prayers.

  9. Jess says:

    I had an abortion 5 weeks and 2 days ago and my baby was 11 weeks and 5 days old. I had a surgical abortion under general aneastetic. This was after a scan I first in which I kept picture of my little baby and I carry with me every second of every day. I even have to place them under my pillow at night to sleep, if I eventually manage to.

    The abortion was not my decision I was put in a difficult position by my boyfriend and the abortion was what I chose. I regret it every second of every day. It’s on my mind all the time. I can’t think of a time I’m not thinking about the baby.

    I have to admit at first because of the anesthetic it meant I didn’t remember the procedure although the room and the waste bag at the end of my bed and all the surgical tools, even the smell of the room are all too clear. But because I couldn’t remember the procedure I convinced myself I was still pregnant and it was all a bad dream. But a week later I started heavy abnormal bleeding with large clots which lead to me being hospitalised. Fortunately it was nothing serious but this whole event meant it was all too real that I had really lost my baby and I was no longer pregnant at all.

    This realisation took a few days and I’ve always been good at masking my feelings to others and even myself sometimes. But as soon as I was alone I’d break down, I’d cry till I couldn’t breath at all and only stop to take a breath. It soon started showing through to my boyfriend and I’ve tried explaining to him how I feel but I don’t know how to he will ever understand that connection and attachment I felt with the baby. Most of all he knows it was his decision so he has that peace of mind. But I just feel stupid like I just went along with it and should’ve said no but never really did and all these questions are coming in my mind now and I don’t know about my future anymore I don’t even know who I am.

    I’ve tried to seek help. I started self harming and one morning I woke up and realized how bad things had got and booked in for a doctor on the same day. Even here I received no help, but he didn’t know the full extent of what I was feeling.

    I can’t sleep because I have nightmares I can’t concentrate because of the flashbacks. I can’t function or think properly because I block things in my memory out from that time, which makes me look dumb and stupid and forgetful. But I’m not. I’m really not. I’m just not me anymore, and suicide seems my only option. Nearly every day I think about it and I just want to get better and I’m the kind of person who can get what she wants if she tries hard enough, but that determination just isn’t there anymore and I really don’t know what to do.

    Please don’t judge me I know what a terrible thing I’ve done and I deserve all the guilt and all of this for my actions. But I feel like I’m making the people around me suffer and I don’t want that. I just want to get better. I’m all alone in this. I feel so cut off from the world and the only reason I get up in the morning is the thought of seeing my boyfriend. I’ve become dependent on him and it’s not fair of me because he seems fine, no suffering at all and I don’t want to push it onto him. I don’t want to remind him of the baby every day. Does anyone have any advice on what is wrong with me or what I can do?- I’m sorry that’s all a bit of a short version. I’ve tried to get it all into one so it meant less reading for people.

    • EI says:

      Dear Jess,

      Our hearts go out to you. Please continue to work hard against these self-destructive feelings and the tendency toward self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Healing is possible. Hang in there!

      The most important thing to do right now is to call a post-abortion healing help line, one of the numbers listed in the resource section at the bottom of this page. You will soon find out you are not alone. There are so many women out there who have been where you are, have worked through it and found healing, and truly want to help you do the same. Perhaps someday you will be able to draw on your own experience to help other women, couples, and families.

      If you have trouble finding a post-abortion healing program, please contact us again and tell us approximately where you live (city, country) and we’ll try to help you find one.

      I understand that you are clinging to your boyfriend as the one good thing still in your life. I also understand that you are afraid to bring him down by admitting how much you are suffering right now. But your feelings matter, too. If he can’t accept and respect them and try to help you through this time . . . he’s really not the guy you deserve. Also, by not sharing your true feelings with him, you are actually depriving him the opportunity to step up and be the kind of guy you deserve.

      It’s possible that he won’t stay with you. But if he won’t stay with you and stand by you through this grief, it’s not a question of if he will leave you but only of when. That’s why it’s so important for you to reach out right now and to start building a support network of others, including experienced post-abortion healing counselors. I truly pray your boyfriend will get on board and be supportive. Ideally, it would be best if he were to participate in a post-abortion healing program with you. His learning to understand your grief and to get inside your head and heart would actually make your relationship much stronger. But you can’t control him. All you can do is invite him to journey with you. If he chooses not to, well, that tells you a lot about him and where you fit into his priorities.

      Please hang in there. Don’t give up hope. What you are going through is normal. Others who have been there can help you. Please call one of the hotlines at the bottom of the page on post-abortion healing resources.

  10. teresa says:

    Surrendering the Secret Bible Study by Pat Layton is a wonderful source of healing and restoration.

  11. Jess says:

    Thank you, both of you for your comments back I am so grateful for them. You have given me hope that I can recover from this I take all your help and advice on board and I really shall keep battling to find help out there for post-abortion. I can’t thank you enough, I really hope if I get through this to go on and help others in my situation

  12. he says:

    I need help. had abortion on the 31/07/13 and I regret the decision I made. I want my baby back, all the reasons I had do not make sense any more. all I know is that fear, uncertainty took over me. please I need to wake up from this nightmare.

    • Amy at Elliot Institute says:

      I am so sorry for your experience. Please know that there are people available to talk to, find support from, give counseling, etc. You can find links for free and confidential help and information on our healing page at I would really encourage you to contact someone on this list to get started finding the help you need.

  13. Kayla says:

    Hi There

    I had an Abortion 2 and a half weeks ago, I know it’s still fresh on my mind but i do not regret it, it was the best decision i could have done for myself at the time. Ever since my abortion I cannot handle being around children. Whenever my boyfriends nieces come over I feel panicked and I want to separate myself from them, I always used to be so involved with them now being near them makes me want to put a emotional shield up. What is this? will it go away with time?

    • EI says:

      Hi Kayla,

      Your note indicates a divided mind. On a practical level, you believe your decision was the best one for meeting your own needs at this time. Being unencumbered by a child makes sense, at least for now. On the other hand, at an emotional level, your emotions are not fully in line with your practical, decision making mind. That is very common following an abortion. These new feelings of panic and aversion you feel around small children is because your boyfriend’s nieces trigger an emotional connection to the absence of the child you could have borne, a loss that you have not yet grieved or fully confronted. In other words, even if a choice is best at a rational level, that does not satisfy the emotional levels of your being. Your abortion choice has emotional implications which simply can’t be resolved, controlled, or eliminated by rational arguments regarding why it was the best practical choice.

      This trigger, being around your boyfriends nieces, may remain or it may move to different kinds of triggers. An extended discussion of triggers and intrusive feelings and thoughts is found in Forbidden Grief. If you want to read a bit more about the variety of post-abortion issues women face and how they work through them, I’d suggest getting a copy from your local library.

      I certainly don’t want to talk you into looking for or having more negative, intrusive feelings than you are already having. On the other hand, I also don’t want to suggest that you should ignore or suppress them, which may lead to more severe reactions if suppressed feelings burst out some years later, for example, when you later carry a wanted pregnancy to term.

      In response to your question, “will it go away with time?”, I must say that while this symptoms of intrusive negative feelings and thoughts may shift ground and be triggered by different circumstances, it is unlikely to go away completely until you finally confront and work through a post-abortion grief process.

      There is just one key point I want you to remember. There are many women who have gone through what you have and have faced much worse in the way of negative reactions, and they have found peace and healing and they want to help you find healing, too.

      When the time comes when you could really benefit from the ear of someone who won’t judge but also knows enough to give you good advice and guidance, please call one or more or the post-abortion ministries listed in the resource section at the bottom of our Help & Healing page.

    • Chuck says:

      Hi Back,

      Not sure if you will read this since it has almost been a year since your original post. However, I thought I’d share my thoughts and you can pray about them, then take them or leave them.

      First of all, I want to emphasize something. God loves you. Christians today, especially sweet, innocent, Christ-following young women, often forget that whenever they do something they thought they would never do. If you are one of those people, this inevitably has been shocking, if not painful. It may be so painful in fact that you don’t allow yourself to feel the pain. Your logic protects you. “We barely knew each other”. “I was in no place to be a mother”. “This was best for my child and I won’t do what my mother did to me”. Etc Etc. These are common thoughts, and they are probably true. However, in my opinion, they need to be balanced by allowing yourself to acknowledge other thoughts. Thoughts like “Lord, I’m hurting”. “God, I can’t believe I did this.” “Lord, I’m scared people may find out and am afraid they will judge me”. These are all real thoughts too that you need to work through and not ignore. Feeling panicked around your boyfriends nieces may be an experience that brings many of the fears you have about what has happened to the surface, and it is a natural tendency to want to panick and run away. That’s what we do when we have pain.

      My advice is three-fold: I would allow myself to grieve properly. The best way to do that is to find someone, preferably an older, loving believer who knows you well, and open up to them. You need to feel loved and to love yourself again if you are struggling with feelings of guilt. If you aren’t struggling with those feelings, it may be a sign of a hardened heart. You don’t need to beat yourself up, your sins were forgiven long ago and every human being who has ever lived has done things they are ashamed of, shocked at, or disappointed in themselves with. To heal though, you need to seek guidance from someone you trust.

      My other advice if you read this, is to take an inventory of your life. You are reaching out in an anonymous forum. You did so shortly after your abortion because the internet is safe. Over the past year, has God provided you with opportunities to heal in “real” life over this? How has this decision impacted your relationship with others, including your boyfriend? Has this been an experience that has grown your faith and brought you closer to the Lord? If not, I want you to know that it can and it’s never too late to turn to him. If you are using logic to justify something you probably used to feel was “wrong”, you may want to ask God to search your heart, and to use this experience to bring you closer to Him. He loves you. He’s not mad. You aren’t bad. And He can use this for His glory and YOUR growth in Him.

      Thirdly, don’t trust your logic or your heart until you are on solid ground, have healed, and have gotten healing and wisdom from those God has provided to you. I know from experience that you will likely need help to learn how to properly grieve this so you can move on with your life. Talk to a pastor, a trusted friend or read books about healing and growth. Do all of them. When people don’t know how to grieve, or haven’t grieved serious wounds properly, they are in danger of making poor decisions moving forward, to shut themselves out to the world around them, to fear intimacy with others, and to be double minded and blinded by deceit. Grieving tends to occur in certain phases. You need to learn about those and recognize them, and to also recognize the potential pitfalls of each step if not done properly and with the support of others who love you. For example, most people go through denial, anger, bargaining/magical thinking and depression before they finally come to acceptance and healing. Some of those steps are dangerous without help. Depression can hurt for years. Bargaining can lead to bad choices. “Lord, I hate what I did, but I will marry my boyfriend some day and do this the right way if you forgive me, I want to be a good mother and will stay with him and correct my wrong by having children with him some day if you will bless us.” You are already blessed, but may decieve yourself into thinking that you should stick with your current boyfriend to “right your wrongs”. Even if you don’t realize it, and even if you change things in your relationship like being sexual and being more spiritual. Those are good things, but they don’t change Gods thoughts of you, His acceptance and love for you, and His plan for your life. Could your boyfriend be “the one”? Sure. But leave that to God. Plenty of couples have made the same mistakes and gone on to wonderful marriages. But many others stick together on a foundation of attachment instead of true friendship, shared interests, shared vision for life and true intimacy that God may want to provide you in someone else without the baggage that you will inevitably have with the boyfriend you had the abortion with.

      Pray about this and then take it or leave it. Just thought I’d share my thoughts and will be praying for you. It’s been a year, and I hope you have found healing and even excitement and joy in The Lord that you were created to experience.


  14. cs says:

    Hi…thanks for your reply on my issue of abortion….but things are gettin out of control and my girlfriend is even thinking of ending her life and I am trying so hard for her but her parents are drastically pressuring her to do abortion…I suggested to her why can’t she go and see professional help and maybe that could help her decide,and now her dad is also not supporting her…I am so helpless and sad and my gf is now feeling like a bad person even before she can go through the abortion and she feels everyone is turning her back on her especially her friend and she is the only child to her parents and she is almost 22yrs old…….I am really giving up the fight to keep my baby alive and this is killing me and her…….I really don’t know where to from here and on the other hand I havnt told my parents but I know they are very supportive in everything that happens to me and my brothers they won’t have a problem about my gf pregnancy the only problem they wil have I think is what my gf’s parents want to do…..I so wish abortion was not legalised is destroying people’s lives!……I FEEL HELPLESS…….and I have shown her your reply from my first comment

    • EI says:

      Are you located in the United States or somewhere else?

      In any event, please look at your page on resources for those facing a crisis pregnancy. I really think it would help for her to talk to older women, mother figures, at a pregnancy help center who will get behind her and help intervene with her parents. They can give a lot of emotional support, the kind women need from other women, which you can’t.

      Also check out this page from the Center Against Forced Abortions which may provide some leverage for her against her parents.

      Help her be strong. Always stir up her hope. Promise her that all the two of you need to do is the right thing, protect your baby, and in time it will all work out. Eventually, at least after the baby has been born, her parents will come around and will be glad for their grandchild. Right now they are too focused on their plans for her future, their disappointment at seeing her education plans disturbed. They aren’t seeing the truth that this baby is a real baby, and even more, their own grandchild whom they will love!

      Remind her that their upsettedness and anger will pass. She needs to be strong and resist being bullied . . . because giving in will not only cost her a child, it will actually hurt both her and her parents. In giving them a grandchild, she’ll be giving them a blessing they will always treasure . . . even if at the present time they are convinced it is the wrong time for her to have a baby.

      You are in my prayers.

  15. RJ says:

    Thank you for having this page. I have really been struggling with my medical abortion 3 years ago. It is haunting to me. My story is similar to others. In school, unsupportive boyfriend convincing me why it is stupid for me to even think of having a child, and being completely non-supportive. I felt like I had no other choice, and the people at the abortion clinic tried to convince me why the abortion pill was so similar to birth control. So what’s the difference they said? Well I can tell them that it is a huge difference, both are wrong but honestly I can no longer function properly because of the heartache it has caused me. The only time I’m not thinking about it is when I’m sleeping, but it is definitely the first thing I think of when I wake up and when I go to bed, and the entire day actually. The first couple of seconds of my day are the best I’ve had, until I think about oh yea, I did that. I’ve told my mother, and she came with me to a Rachels Vineyard retreat. It helped for a few days after, but honestly it was only temporary. I’ve thought about suicide and really feel like it’s the only way out of the constant ups and downs. I’ve seen a psychologist, tried numerous medications, and even talked to my priest about it multiple times. Like others that posted above, I can’t even bear to look at a child under 5 or a pregnant woman without wanting to hide in a corner from the shame and guilt. Will this EVER go away? I feel like everyday is a struggle and I have no reason to live anymore. Thank you for listening.

    • EI says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you are still stuck in your grief even after attending a Rachel Vineyard retreat and have seen a psychologist. Are you still in touch with any of the Rachel’s Vineyard people? Or someone else in another post-abortion ministry? I suggest you ask one of them to literally befriend you and become, at least for a time, a life coach / mentor . . . someone you can talk to for at least a few minutes every day. Perhaps you could also offer to help out at the next retreat, even if it is just doing setup and clean up. My hope is that with time, and with seeing how other people are coping better and healing, that whatever aspect of the healing experience is delayed or incomplete may eventually click in place for you.

      If your chief obstacle is, as you suggest a continuing struggling with “shame and guilt,” you may benefit from repeating the weekend or more spiritual counseling regarding God’s mercy. Looking at this from a spiritual viewpoint, as I’m sure you have been told, your God loves a penitent heart, which you have and His mercy is being poured out to you. But the devil wants to deny you the peace of living in Christ’s mercy, and so is tempting you to doubt God’s forgiveness and to cling to your shame and guilt (perhaps with the false suggestion that if you give up your shame and guilt you are no longer honoring the memory of your aborted child). You must resist this temptation to despair. That is from the devil. Christ want’s you to embrace hope . . . which is rooted in His Mercy. Please read our “sermons” on the temptations which prevent post-abortion healing.

      You made the mistake once of rejecting a gift of God’s love, when you rejected giving birth to your aborted child. But God’s mercy and love is so great that He is offering you another great gift: complete forgiveness and new life and new hope and new joy in becoming a new person in Christ. The one and only thing you can do to truly honor this Gift Giver, is to accept His mercy, accept His forgiveness, and embrace the hope and joy that He wants you to have. Everything else, everything black which is sucking you into darkness, is from the evil one who wants to deny you God’s peace and joy.

      I know that doesn’t make it easy to not feel depressed and suicidal . . . but I want you to know the source of these negative feelings. If you have doubts, read and learn until you truly believe in God’s mercy and forgiveness. Then, even if your emotions are depressed and guilty, use acts of will and intellect to slowly change those emotions, by praying, whenever you feel shame and guilt about the past abortion: “Thank you Jesus. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for caring for my child until I can be reunited with her and you.” And just repeat these prayers of thanks, and praise, twenty or thirty times, focusing on the light instead of the darkness which wants to envelope you.

      If you can develop a habit of praying with thanks for forgiveness every time you doubt your forgiveness, I truly think you’ll make progress . . . especially if you find a mentor/sponsor and otherwise surround yourself with people who will help you through the toughest days.

      You are in our prayers. Please, never give up hope. You are forgiven. Any time you doubt that, you are being tempted. Fight that temptation with prayers of thanks and praise. You can and do deserve a new life in Christ. And it is there if you persevere in claiming it.

  16. Lea says:

    I had an abortion December of 2010. I cut myself, cry, feel depressed and constantly feeling guilt and like I have NO support from my boyfriend till date. He got a child from a woman that was a “rebound” and supported her through out everything till date. that child is his “everything” cause he never got love as a child from his parents. that child “3 years old” making up rumours of me stabbing him and hitting him ” Even bought a house for the child”. I hate the child(HURT)(why did that child deserve a chance of life and mine did not?)why should I pretend and be happy with that child and he could not give me a chance of happiness..he convinced me to go for an abortion as my parents would never have approved but I did it because that is exactly what he wanted. Here I am 3 years later supporting him through everything he has to go through but yet I am the one in need of support and I am not getting it. As soon as I speak about it he will tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself and that I am pretending. He has no idea what goes on in my heart and how I feel. I have so much hatred towards that child and him. Am I crazy or what can I do? I went to see a psychologist, but all she asked me is “How do you feel now” and how does that make you feel…I stopped going immediately cause she was no help. I am contemplating of walking out on this relationship, unless he pays his child support and stop seeing that child. I think he is staying with me to see me hurt, he is an evil man. when that child is not around he is perfect, as soon as he sees the child we argue…Sick and tired and emotionally devastated!!!

    • EI says:

      Dear Lea,

      Clearly, you are not in a healthy relationship with this man. The resentment you feel toward his other child, especially given his lack of support for your child, is perfectly understandable. On the other hand, it is also understandable that he may be pouring love into this other child to make up for his pushing you into the abortion . . . pouring love that should have been available to both children into the only one he has left. In other words, he may be hiding his own conflicted feelings and grief and guilt over the abortion by proving to himself that he can be a good father to this other child while at the same time trying to hold onto you and to convince you (and himself) that he didn’t hurt you and your child. In short, he’s mixed up. And you’re hurting, too, and trying to hold on and let go and heal and forget . . . all at the same time . . . and it’s just too much to sort through, especially without help.

      I don’t know enough to give you specific advice about breaking up, but I do know that he is not the one who can help you work through your own grief and suffering regarding your abortion. He’s too involved in it and too self-absorbed and he just doesn’t have enough insights and compassion to offer you. You really need to find a post-abortion counseling program, with trained, experienced counselors who have been through the same loss you have experienced and have worked through it and can help you do the same. If there is any hope for your relationship with him, it will only appear after you have been through your own healing. And as you found out, a general psychologist isn’t generally well equipped to help with post-abortion healing issues. Call a post-abortion healing hotline or program leader today. Don’t put it off. Take care of yourself. Find support people that understand what you are going through and can offer real help.

      You are in our prayers.

  17. crystal rose says:

    I had mine Nov 1st 2013. I would do anything to take it back. I honestly felt forced by my family and the father. I’ve never told anyone that. I also have a four year old daughter. I know i couldnt take on another baby in my situation. But i feel like a murder. I was 15 weeks i could feel it move, i could already tell it was going to have one hell of a personality. Anyways after i did it everyone acted like nothing happend when i would try to talk about it i would get ignored or pushed away. Im very depressed i need help, im not sure how much longer i can do this.

    • EI says:

      I’m sorry to hear that your friends and family are unable or unwilling to listen to you. Sadly, that’s rather common. Most people just feel too uncomfortable listening and talking about an abortion. Often, they’re afraid they will say the wrong thing. Other times, they really just have no clue . . . and perhaps are afraid to even think about it “too much.”

      I hope you have called one of the hotlines listed in the resource section of our Hope and Healing page. If you haven’t, please do. I think it will really help you to talk to someone who has been through the same thing and has also worked through the healing.

      Don’t give up hope. There really are people and resources that can help you to heal, learn, and grow.

  18. May says:

    I don’t know where to start. I was just browsing through trying to find out information that would strengthen me from bad feeling of abortion, I happened to find this site, I am very glad to have found it since I have already learnt something. I am 27 years and have done abortion 6 months ago at 19 weeks. My boyfriend knew about the pregnancy but I lied to him and said I miscarried. We were both not ready for the second child (1st child is 2 years old). The reasons I decided on the abortion were 1) I had been retrenched and depended on him for the basic things of leaving; 2) He had been having an affair that kept us fighting always; led him to say many things that shocked me about his feelings; making me to doubt and lose trust on him; He even told me more that 3 times to leave his space saying he doesn’t care where I go (knowing very well that I have no where else to hide and then, I was pregnant already) though he never laid a hand on me; 3) I was in the process of completing my Postgrad; 4) I am coming from a poor and strict family, they could not have been able to take care of my child. I am now suffering from guilt, low self-esteem, negativity, I feel dirty although I know that my life possibly could’ve been a mess with the child because I couldn’t be working, I could not have coped with my exams. My boyfriend is now as sweet as ever, he completely changed after the abortion but never talked to me about anything regarding his previous actions. I have been very distant from him, I have had low sex drive, I just develop anger from what he did every time he tries to show love. He is very quiet naturally and sometimes does not speak even when I have developed means to make him speak. He finds it hard to express himself in a conversation and makes me not sure where he stands. I would like to get an advice on whether to tell him the truth, I will first need to be ready to lose him and I am so afraid.

  19. SW says:

    in Oklahoma City, Ok, is there help available for older women who had abortions their 20’s, but now that they’re reaching the elderly years, theyve become overwhelmed with guilt and fear of being alone in their old age.
    i have a sister who is currently in great distress because of two abortions 50+ years ago.
    are there resources for women who are struggling with this latent phenominon ?
    Please send your reply to the email adress above.
    Thank you,

  20. Aedan says:

    I had an abortion the day before yesterday. At that point I felt it was the best thing to do but felt miserable the second it was done.

    For sure I want my baby back its all I think about. I’ll never ever hold him and he didn’t do nothing to deserve a life cut short. I was getting sick and losing weight because I couldn’t even stand the smell of anything. I was stressed so much I felt justified then, but not anymore. I’m back to my normal self. It’s hard to even eat knowing I sacrificed my own baby to get back my appetite. It was difficult to even take a bath this morning.

    I can’t concentrate at work, I keep checking how his developments were (at 7 wks). Will I ever get thru this? I have a 3-year-old boy already. I cant stand his innocent eyes knowing I killed his sibling. What kind of a mum am I?

    From here, how do I move on knowing by Feb next year was going to have a baby? The symptoms vanished on the instant and that instead of making me better makes it even worse. I am incomplete. I just can’t get his sonar pic out of my mind. I hate my partner for not trying to change my mind. I hate myself for giving up on my own baby. Instead of protecting him I’m the one who hurt him. I might as well die like him.

    • EI says:

      Dear Aedan,

      I pray you will immediately start looking for a post-abortion healing support group. Find someone you can talk to. You especially need some help thru these first weeks and months. It’s probably too early to start a program, but it’s not too early to have someone who can listen to you and support you.

      Have you spoken to your partner about your guilt and pain? Hopefully he can be supportive. At the very least, he needs to understand that you are going through a tremendous amount of suffering now so he can give you either the space or the closeness (or both) that you may need.

      I understand your anger toward him, and perhaps he deserves it. But be careful how you express it to him. Explain how you can’t help feeling angry at him and everyone (including the abortion providers, I assume), who might have talked you out of it. But also assure him that you understand that he was perhaps just trying to respect your decision . . . but in 20-20 hindsight, you wish he had somehow known how to change your mind. In other words, tell him about the feelings of anger you have, but also admit that you understand that he did no mean any harm, and indeed was probably trying to be supportive of the abortion to support your decision . . . which may have put him in a tough spot.

      The point is to let him know that you are struggling with hatred of yourself, and him, because your feelings of grief are so intense. At the same time, don’t let your anger push him away. Try to help him understand that you can’t fully control your feelings, and that some of them may be unfair, and that you want to work through them, but for now, they are there and your struggling with loving yourself and him.

      Ask him to help you find grief counseling or post-abortion healing support.

      Countless women have been through the same feelings you are facing now. Many of these women are now providing post-abortion healing programs to help others, using their own experiences for wisdom and strength.

      Don’t give up hope. Don’t hurt yourself. Even the worst experiences can be ones from which we learn and grow and become more understanding, compassionate, and stronger people. I pray that you will find the people and support to help this be true in your case, as well.

  21. Manju says:


    I got pregnant, am not married. I and my boyfriend weren’t able to bring up the baby, so we decided to abort my parents are very strict, couldnt tell them about this.

    I took the pills “Cytotec” on Saturday night. Now its Tuesday. M still having severe pain cramps and bleeding.

    What should i do to heal myself? Is there anything? I honestly dont know much about these things. Please help me? I feel like every moment m just dieing. I seriously need someone to help me?

    Thank you

    • EI says:

      I can’t give medical advice, but if you call Option Line at 1-800-712-4357 they can probably put you in touch with a doctor who can help determine if there is anything that can be done to help you.

  22. Crissy says:

    Hi I just recently had a medical abortion. I seriously feel so much guilt and traumatized. I feel so bad I couldn’t keep it. My boyfriend and I decided it was best because we aren’t financially stable and are not living together my house is small and so is his so we didn’t have any place for it to live. We just did not want to bring a baby into this world for it to suffer along with us. But I still feel terrible. I just cry at random times and I don’t think I’ll be happy for a while what can I do to stop feeling this way?

  23. Janine says:

    My sister confided in me seven weeks ago that she was pregnant. My response was, are you going to keep it? She answered, I don’t know, it is a life. I said, yes.
    My biggest regret is my reaction to the news that she was pregnant….she came to me, vulnerable and trusting, and my ignorance led to her aborting her baby at 15 weeks. The abortion was a week ago. I knew it was wrong, morally, but I viewed it as some kind of necessary evil given her history of depression, her difficult relationship with her on and off bf, the baby’s father, and her economic circumstances. She had decided to keep the baby, I was relieved, but a week later she had a fight with the father and then she called me to in tears saying it was a mistake not to have had the abortion and she wanted it done as soon as possible. My mum and I were the only ones who thought the abortion was a good idea. Everyone else in the family was dramatically opposed to abortion. So I advised my sister to call my mum. My mum took her to have the abortion, and I paid for it. On that morning, my sister changed her mind and begged my mum not to make her go, but my mum forced her to go saying she was wasting everyone’s time and money! The abortion happened. It has been the worst experience of my life and I wasn’t even the one having the baby pulled out of my womb. My sister was a moment away from killing herself three days after the abortion and I had to call her bf who had broken up with her and blocked her on social media, to go to her and be by her side just to keep her from taking her own life. Now, after this experience, I am vehemently opposed to abortion, and I cannot understand how it can be legal. How can it be legal in countries that call themselves Christian countries! Why are doctors not educated about the research on how abortion affects the woman? And how can we get sites like this popping up when women do google searches on, say, cytotec, Marie stopes, abortion clinic. If only I had educated about what abortion actually is, what it does to women, and if only I had put it to prayer. I am a Christian yet I had drifted away from God. I have come back to God through this, asking for forgiveness and healing. My grief is unbearable, and I fear my sister will never get over the loss of her baby.

    • EI says:

      Dear Janine,

      My heart goes out to you, your sister, you mum, and everyone involved. It’s so easy to get sucked into the idea . . . the hope . . . that abortion will simply unwind this problem or that one without bringing on new problems, perhaps worse ones.

      If you have not yet told her, tell your sister how sorry you are and how you wish you had known better. Encourage her to seek post-abortion counseling. You may benefit from post-abortion counseling yourself, too. You didn’t actually have the abortion, but you did participate in the decision and also lost a niece or nephew. You might also offer to go through a program with her to give each other support.

      You and your sister are in my prayers.

  24. Janine says:

    Thank you for your words, I feel a bit better just knowing that someone, somewhere, has heard my voice and can show me empathy and compassion. I have told my sister how I feel, how sorry I am and how I wish I could turn back time. I wish I could wake up and find that what’s happened isn’t true, and not to remember the horror of what I’ve done. I will look for counselling and therapy for both myself and my sister who is still in very dark place. Thank you for the work you are doing, thank you for caring. This website has been a great help to me. Thank you again for your reply and for hearing me. I am so grateful to you.

  25. Kay says:

    I just had an abortion yesterday and all I’m doing is crying wishing I never did it. Wishing I can have my baby back. My heart really hurts idk what to do ? I can’t talk to my mom because she doesn’t know I was pregnant and worst she doesn’t know I had an abortion. My partner is acting like nothing is wrong when I try to talk about it he quickly changes the subject. I feel so alone I regret it so much I just want my baby back inside of me.

    • EI says:

      Dear Kay,

      I understand and am sorry for all you are going through right now. The feeling of being alone can be so intense, especially when others don’t want to talk about it and when you are afraid of talking to those who might understand.

      While I hope your partner will open up and become understanding, I don’t want to give you false hope that he will. For many men, their own way of dealing with it compels them to avoid thinking and talking about it. It may be harder on him than you think . . . or he may subconsciously know that if he opens up to your pain he will be opening up his own feelings to regrets he doesn’t want to face.

      I don’t know if talking to your mom will help, but if you think she can handle it and be supportive, it may be very well worth it. Can you imagine ever telling her? Or to put it another way, are you really prepared to keep it a secret forever? Secrets between people can harm relationships, and can be very stressful. If you think you will eventually be able to tell her, then I’d suggest that you give strong consideration to telling her sooner rather than later . . . like within a few days, so you can share your grief with her now and receive whatever understanding and support she can give you. If you’re afraid of her being upset or disappointed with you . . . then try to accept that those negative feelings will quickly pass and be replaced with love, concern, support, and true understanding. Parents don’t always react to such news with immediate calm and grace . . . but most come around quickly to be supportive. Do you think your mother can pull it off?

      The other option, as you’ve on this page regarding post-abortion help and healing, is to call one of the post-abortion help hot lines to talk to someone who has been in your shoes, found healing, and is prepared to listen, support, and help you along the path to healing. Even if you tell your mother, and your partner becomes a wonderful support, you should still do this. You need the support not only of loved ones, who may often not know how to be truly helpful but can at least be loving, you need the support of someone trained in post-abortion healing.

      You are in my prayers.

  26. Ann says:

    I had to go thru it 4yrs back ,because of financial and unsupportive husband. We were very young , and my husband freaked out and we took a decision.
    Our struggle times ended
    Now I am blessed with a beautiful child last year . but I am unable to forget and forgive myself , I feel am angry on my husband all the time.

    How do I deal , pls reply ,this is the first time I am talking about it.

    • Amy at Elliot Institute says:

      Ann, I’m so sorry for what you have been through, and that you are still struggling. Thank you so much for commenting here with your story.

      I hope the information on this page is helpful. I would suggest contacting one of the organizations listed above in the “Organizations, resources and links” section and asking how they can help. As mentioned above, there are many different kinds of groups and kinds of help available. So feel free to ask lots of questions and try different organizations until you find one that you are comfortable with.

      Any information you share with them will be confidential. In most cases, the support is free. Some of the groups are run by women who struggled after abortion and want to help others; other groups are run by counselors or mental health professionals. All of them want to help and be there to support you.

      Please know that you are not alone and that help is available.

  27. Sharon says:

    I had 2 medical abortions within a year when I was a 16/17 year old. I was coerced into it by my mother and father and the babies father and I went along with what everyone else wanted and did not stand up for myself. I tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose and hid this too for years along with the horrendous feelings of guilt of having the terminations . I was put on a contraception injection before leaving the hospital, which I stayed on for 22 years so as to avoid ever getting pregnant again and feeling the same pain. I then came off the injection and had 3 miscarriages within a year and a half period at age 37/38. I am 41 now and know that I will never have a child and I feel horrific inside. I have abused substances ever since the first abortion and I have had 7 attempts at taking my own life, the most recent one being a year ago. I have been looking at Rachels vineyards online and am considering attending one although I do not expect it to take away the damage and self hatred which is ingrained in me. I do not believe in God and have never been comfortable with religion although I always thought when I was a young girl that “God would punish me” for what I had done and it became true as I had the miscarriages, I believe, as punishment. I cannot go on like this for the rest of my life. I cannot hold down proper relationships and cannot bear to be around my friends when they fall pregnant and I lose them due to this reaction. I am stone cold and empty inside and although the substance abuse seemed to fill this for years I have stopped taking drugs and self harming but the feelings are as raw as the day I first became a murderer. I don’t know what else I can do but I know I cannot live out the rest of my life as a bitter and lonely old woman. I don’t see how a weekend retreat can heal this – especially when I am of no religion. Can anyone advise me otherwise, has anyone on this site ever been to one of these retreats or know of anyone who healed from this? I have so many regrets and I wish to get rid of the constant turmoil inside. Thanks in advance – Sharon

    • Amy at Elliot Institute says:

      Sharon, I am so sorry about what you have been through. Have you called Rachel’s Vineyard to talk with them about your questions and concerns? I am sure they would be willing to answer any questions you might have and talk with you about the process. I don’t think you have to be religious or believe in God to attend the retreat — it’s open to everyone. Being “healed” will probably take longer than one weekend — like any grieving process, it happens over time. But having a chance to talk about your experiences in a supportive environment and getting some tools to help you work through the pain can be a beginning.

      If it would help, here is a link to a chapter in a book co-written by the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, which talks about the healing process: I hope this might be of help.

  28. patricia says:

    I had an abortion in June this year. it feels like its becoming an increasingly emotional disturbance. I am a single mom of two kids. I am an alcoholic. When I found out I was pregnant I was sleeping with one guy regularly and another guy once in awhile, and I really had no way of knowing which one of them was the father. That is the single most important factor that made me choose abortion. otherwise I was convinced I could be strong enough to carry the baby to term and give the baby up for adoption. BUT I was drinking heavily and working at a dental office where we routinely use nitrous, which is also not good for a pregnant woman to be around. I was devastated, I had never been a person to have more than one sexual partner but I was going through a promiscuous stage after finally leaving my kids dad and the long term abusive relationship of nine horrific years. It makes me sick to look back at my decisions and the way I have been acting. I feel angry all the time, my kids really annoy me, and I feel very guilty. I think its the alcoholism that’s making me depressed and I am going to a residential treatment program next month.
    The guy that paid for the abortion and drove me to the clinic and stood by me quit speaking to me a week later. I never heard from him again. I called and texted, no response. I don’t know if he realized somehow that I was sleeping with someone else, or if he was just so disgusted in my being so irresponsible that he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. That part really really hurts a lot. I told my sister, but she was and still is pregnant …and there is no one else that I really want to tell. So I feel like isolated and alone and I wish this guy would talk to me but i also feel guilty because he paid 500 for the abortion and it might not even have been his baby. I feel like a dishonest, immoral person. I cry literally all the time. i had to quit my job a couple months ago because i was crying so much and i don’t know why. i have just recently accepted that maybe the alcohol addiction is my main problem and is causing most of the emotional trauma but also that having an abortion was a really difficult thing to go through.

    • Amy at Elliot Institute says:

      Patricia, I’m so sorry for the loss, pain and trauma you have been through. Please know that no matter how hard things are right now, it can get better. You are not alone in your experiences and struggles. I hope you have read through this page and will contact one of the groups listed for support. It might be hard to do at first but they really want to be there for you. Many have been where you are and want to help other women who are struggling. At the very least they can provide a listening ear and some encouragement before you go into your treatment program, and be there for you afterward.

  29. andrea says:

    I feel desperate right now I have had my first abortion when I was 16, I did not want to disappoint my parents so I chose abortion, I ended the relationship with that boyfriend, I felt no regret and I felt relieve after I did it and I was able to move on after that I had 2 children with my current partner after that I became pregnant 3 more times in which I chose to have abortion on 2 of them and 1 miscarriage..after I did it I seem to do fine but after 4 years of the last one I now feel an overwhelming feeling of guilt, depression, anxiety and I don’t know what to do, I became a christian less than a year ago and I think that’s how the guilt started to come out of me, I really want to get better and heal to be able to take care of my children, they don’t deserve to have a mother that is crying and in bed most of the day..I feel like if there is no way out of my pain and I will always stay like this. I really love my current partner and I want to stay with him despite everything we have been going through. I have been feeling like this for a month now and I know it takes time to heal but I don’t want to feel like this anymore..I wonder if is still too early to go and look for help. I wonder if I’m always going to feel like this. Thank you!

    • Amy at Elliot Institute says:

      Andrea, it is never too early (or too late) to seek help if you are struggling. It’s fairly common for women not to experience emotional distress until later in life, such as after having a child. Healing can take time, but with the right support things can get better. Please consider contacting one of the organizations listed on this page and talking with them about what you are experiencing. Many of them have been where you are now and they want to help! Please know that you are not alone and that things can get better.

  30. Aleksandra says:

    I have read the commentaries on this website with great emotion.
    All my life I dreamt of having a child and I tried very hard to get pregnant which I finally did at age 40. The problem was however that I was sick – in a depression and the depression and anxiety got much, much worse with the pregnancy and I developed physical problems as well. I was hospitalized and given drugs but they didn’t help. I was more or less abadoned by the specialist doctors who provided no advice. I could not eat, drink or sleep for weeks. I felt suicidal- like throwing myself out the window because the anxiety was so bad – near psychotic. Also my digestive system was totally blocked (I didn’t have a BM for over six weeks – until after the abortion). Finally it seemed to me and to my family that I was dying and that I would be incapable of carrying the pregnancy through to term, so my GP organized for me to have an abortion at 10 weeks. It was totally horrible and I wished afterwards that I had just let myself die. My gynecologist said it was a question for me of life or death and friends to whom I have told my story have said that I shouldn’t feel guilty because I just physically couldn’t get through the pregnancy. But I am traumatized 9 years later, I can only think of how old my child would be even though I honestly believe I would not have survived the pregnancy (I am also anorexic…) I have continually looked for information on the web, but find nothing for people having gone through an abortion for MEDICAL reasons. Although initially my health improved after the abortion because I could take medication, I have been in a deep depression ever since, taking loads of drugs, being hospitalized and recently undergoing electro convulsive therapy. Seeing pregnant women and young mothers is terrible for me and I cannot bond with children. I just want to hide. I feel my abortion was inevitable given the state I was in (my doctor even thought that I was to weak to undergo the anesthesia needed for the surgical abortion), but at the same time I am utterly miserable. My only “consolation” is that both the Christian and Jewish religions believe that in case of danger to the mother’s and unborn child’s health, the mother must be saved first of all. But sometimes (often?) I just wish I’d let myself die rather that undergo the abortion.
    I live in the Czech Republic so I don’t have access to your help groups. Can you advise me? Thanks.

    • Amy at Elliot Institute says:

      Aleksandra, I am so sorry for this very difficult experience and the pain you must be feeling. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, and that God loves you and is close to you in your pain.

      I do not know anything about help groups in the Czech Republic, but I did some searching online and found found a list of pregnancy centers that likely also offer such help. The list is here: Also, is there anyone you can trust, such as a priest, pastor, family member or close friend to talk with you? Your local Roman Catholic diocese probably has someone who would be able to advise you (even if you are not Catholic).

  31. Joanne Clinton says:

    were to start I was forced into an abortion by my ex the day after it was done he confessed he had girlfriend all the time he was with me n the only reason he forced abortion cos he didn’t want her to find out he’s bin living a double life couldn’t believe it against everything I believed in I did the unthinkable n now I’m completely lost drink all the time sleep my days away am on tablets to pick me up but they don’t work the pain is so deep that weekend destroyed my life destroyed who I am I don’t know how to find myself I can’t stop seeing my baby its eyes how tiny it was I took the tablets one one day one the next God help me for what I’ve done I regret every minute so wish I could turn back time it’s been a year will the pain or images ever stop I really can’t take no more I hate myself what n who do I turn too when no body cares

    • Amy at Elliot Institute says:

      Joanne, I am so sorry for your pain. Please know that you are not alone. If you are visiting this page I hope you have read it through and found the information at the bottom to different organizations that offer support. Even if you are nervous about contacting them, please do so. I promise that they won’t judge and are there to listen and help. It may seem hopeless right now but things can get better. Please reach out for help.

    • EI says:

      Have you tried calling one of the hotlines yet? If not, please do. There are women who have been exactly where you are who want to help you. Try 1-866-469-7326, and/or 1-877-586-4621, and/or 1-877-467-3463 and/or 1-866-482-5433.

      There is a lot of understanding and support out there for you. Just have the patience and courage to find it.

      You are in our prayers. Do not give up hope. The whole message of this Easter season is that God’s mercy can transform our sins and suffering into an opportunity to receive His life transforming, healing grace.

      All is not lost. You will one day see your child in the arms of Christ. And in the meantime, God will use this experience of your broken heart to remake you into a better person, one who understands and has mercy on others and can reach out to help them, just as these other healed women want to help you. Remember, God loves a humble and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). Your sorrow is an invitation to receive God’s grace. Please accept it, and the help of those who have already been there and found it.

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