Prior to and after an abortion, a woman can expect to feel a spectrum of emotions, some simultaneously and others in a progression similar to the stages of grief. These feelings may persist for a short while after an abortion, however, many women are able to cope and move on with their lives. Exceptions may be due to a variety of pre-existing emotional issues that need resolving and may have resurfaced after the abortion procedure, which is certainly a difficult and all-consuming choice to be made. It has plenty of social stigmas that come with it and can sometimes challenge a woman's belief system, that of her family or may have come from a pregnancy-related circumstance she couldn't control.
Women can seek abortion counseling prior to the procedure as a means to discuss and solidify her decision by resolving any hesitations she may have about terminating the pregnancy. This can make it a little easier to handle the feelings of guilt, anger or regret that may set in afterward.
Women who did not seek abortion counseling prior to the abortion may have received some form of advising and consultation from their health care providers. This is, by no means, professional counseling but can put a woman's mind at ease and make her feel her decision was informed. Regardless of the precautions and motivation to have an abortion, women who feel emotionally unstable after an abortion, due to hormonal changes, social pressures, or those of her conscience, a woman may want to consult a support group, a counselor or therapist or even try calling an abortion hotline like Exhale (1-866-429-4253 or www.4exhale.org), which is free to call every day during its service hours.
Counseling before an abortion is meant to help a woman work through her ideological obstacles and goals before making a life-changing decision. In fact, many states have laws that make it mandatory to wait a specific amount of time between the consultation and the procedure. During this time, a woman can reflect on her choice and recognize any need she may have to further explore any inhibitions. The point of post-abortion counseling is to help a woman move on and cope with her decision if she begins to feel differently after the procedure.
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