Other Information

Expertise Understanding Discretion

Pregnancy

How do I know if I am pregnant?
How far Pregnant am I?
What are my Options?

The most common sign of pregnancy is a missed period, although this may not necessarily mean you are pregnant. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, lethargy and a desire to urinate more frequently. Some women may experience some of these symptoms or none at all.

The best way to make sure is to perform a pregnancy test. These can be purchased at any pharmacy and some supermarkets and if used according to the instructions, are accurate as early as 10 days following conception.

Or you can see your doctor for a blood test to determine whether you are pregnant.

Conventionally, a pregnancy is said to have started on the first day of your last menstrual period, not from the day you think you may have conceived. Determine the first day of your last period and calculate the number of weeks that have elapsed since then. This will tell you how many weeks pregnant you are.

If your cycle is irregular or you are unable to remember when your last period began, your doctor will be able to refer you for an ultrasound. If you are unsure of when your last period began or are unable to obtain a referral for an ultrasound, telephone the clinic to make an appointment for a consultation and ultrasound.

Pregnancy blood tests aren’t always accurate in determining pregnancy dates.

There are three options available to women who find that they have an unplanned pregnancy. 



1. Continue with the pregnancy and become a parent

2. Continue with the pregnancy and choose adoption

3. Terminate the pregnancy

If you are unsure of what to do we can help you to come to a decision.

The counselling session is an opportunity for you to raise any issues or concerns and to discuss your options and get all the abortion information that you need.

The pregnancy termination procedure will also be explained and there will be opportunity to discuss contraception.

Counselling

The counselling session is an opportunity for you to raise any issues or concerns and to discuss your options with all the information that you need.

The pregnancy termination procedure will be explained and there will be opportunity to discuss contraception. If appropriate, your partner is welcome to attend this consultation.

Counselling at Blue Water Medical clinics is objective, non-judgemental and unbiased. You will not be coerced into making a decision. If you have already made an appointment for a termination, this counselling session will form part of the time you spend at the clinic.

If you would like counselling without a termination appointment, this can be arranged. We can also refer you to other support services that may be able to assist.

Please telephone the clinic in your area for an appointment.

Other resources for counselling

Your own local GP

Wilma ( Campbelltown) 4627 2955

Women’s Health Centre Liverpool 9601 3555

Women’s Health Centre Bankstown 9790 1378

Women’s Health Centre Penrith 4721 8749

Community Mental Health Campbelltown 1300669663

Traxside Campbelltown 46252525

Relationships Australia 1300 364 2777

LifeCare Counselling and Family Services Centres 1300130225

Bigge Parke Centre Liverpool 98278022

Family Planning Assoc Fairfield 9754 1322

Family Planning Assoc Penrith 4721 8330

Lifeline Counselling 131114

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

 

SUPPORT

This is information which will be given to the person who is supporting you while you are at the clinic.

PLEASE PHONE THE CLINIC 1 HOUR AFTER ARRIVAL TO BE GIVEN AN APPROXIMATE PICK UP TIME

During your visit here, there will be areas where you will be unable to accompany your partner, friend or relative. The privacy of our other patients must be respected.

After the termination most women are a little sleepy and may have mild cramps. Bleeding should not be heavy. It’s best to take the patient home, let them relax and maybe fall asleep. They can eat or drink anything they feel like, however, eating a large amount at once could cause vomiting, and absolutely no alcohol or recreational drugs.

Patients shouldn’t drive for 12 hours after the operation and even cooking, boiling water, or chopping with knives could be a problem. They are sleepy after the anaesthetic with poor reflexes. If you could cook dinner or get take away, take care of the children, (or getting a friend or relative to mind them) can help the patient to relax and recover.

It is rare to have complications after a termination. Each patient is given a post-operative leaflet which explains the normal physical symptoms and possible problems to look out for.

There are some important precautions a woman should take after a termination:
  • Take the antibiotics prescribed
  • No strenuous physical activity for one week
  • Sex can resume after one week but contraception should be used as this is a very fertile time.
Women can experience a range of emotions
  • Relief
  • Gratitude
  • Increased confidence
  • Renewed energy
  • Sadness, anger, guilt, regret and depression.

A few days after the operation there can be a hormone drop and some women, who may be feeling positive about their decision, can get depressed and weepy. This usually passes in a few days.

The support person can help the patient by listening and supporting them in a non-judgemental
 way. Some women need time to grieve and to express their feelings of loss. Sometimes a girlfriend or relative can be a better shoulder to cry on than the father of the pregnancy. He may also be feeling guilty or depressed, and be trying to deal with his own feelings. It can be important that he too find a trustworthy shoulder to lean on such as a best mate, brother or father.

There are some serious but rare psychological problems to look out for:
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Eating and sleeping disturbances
  • Uncontrollable crying and withdrawal.

A termination of pregnancy can also be an emotional time for a patient’s support person. This can be especially so for the father of the pregnancy who can feel regret, loss, anger, depression, guilt etc. The decision to have a termination can bring a couple closer together or can bring up areas of conflict and a reassessment of the relationship.

On the day of the termination, Macquarie Fields Women’s Clinic will concentrate on the wellbeing, both physical and psychological, of the patient. However, the support person or father of the pregnancy is welcome to book in for a counselling session on another day.

For the Men

The decision to have a Pregnancy Termination
can be a difficult time for the male partner.
Counselling is available to
Male Partners upon request.

Ideally the decision should be a mutual one. However, because it is ultimately the woman’s choice, many men feel powerless and isolated.

Not only can they feel ‘left out’ but also ‘abandoned’ by their partner who may be so caught up with dealing with her own feelings that she may not see how the situation is affecting them.

A man may also experience feelings of relief, regret, sadness, anger or guilt. 

It is important to seek help if you are having difficulty coming to terms with the situation.

Should you require further help, we can refer you to organisations that provide ongoing counseling care. It’s important to bear in mind that it is quite normal to experience a range of feelings. You will not be judged or thought less of because you have decided to seek help.

Please phone the clinic nearest you for an appointment if you would like counselling.

Coping after your Termination

COUNSELLING

Who Needs It and How To Find It

Most of the time all we need is a friend we can confide in. But there are times when a friend, partner, or family member is too close to us to know how to help. You need guaranteed confidentiality and can’t afford someone revealing your confidences to someone else.

How often have you heard, “Don’t tell so-and-so I told you this, but… .” 
This is when talking to a counsellor is a smart choice. When you see a counsellor, they will listen to your feelings with undivided attention and provide emotional support, they will shed new light on the situation, point out what it is you’re doing that is helpful and what is not, and teach you better ways of coping. And you can trust that your confidentiality will be protected.

What a counsellor should not do is tell you what to do or sit in judgement of you. You are in charge of how many times you see the counsellor and what you get out of it. At any time you can choose to stop counselling or change counsellors. Just as you would switch doctors if you didn’t like them, you have the right to change counsellors.

Do I Have To See A Psychiatrist?

No. Unless you want to, or need hospitalisation or medication for anxiety, depression, or other severe emotional trouble, a psychiatrist is not necessary. Counsellers are usually someone who has a degree in social work, counselling psychology, counsellor education, or a degree in clinical psychology. Make sure you know your counsellor’s credentials.

We hope this has been some help. If you are still troubled or having difficulty finding a counsellor, please call us at the clinic. Remember that you are never alone, there is always someone who will help — you just have to ask.

Your GP can refer you to a psychologist and you can claim the payments back from Medicare.

LOCAL RESOURCES

MACQUARIE FIELDS

Your own local GP

Wilma ( Campbelltown) 4627 2955

Women’s Health Centre Liverpool 9601 3555

Women’s Health Centre Bankstown 9790 1378

Women’s Health Centre Penrith 4721 8749

Community Mental Health Campbelltown 1300669663

Traxside Campbelltown 46252525

Relationships Australia 1300 364 2777

LifeCare Counselling and Family Services Centres 1300130225

Bigge Parke Centre Liverpool 98278022

Family Planning Assoc Fairfield 9754 1322

Family Planning Assoc Penrith 4721 8330

Lifeline Counselling 131114

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

COFFS HARBOUR

Your own GP

Coffs Harbour Women’s Health Centre 6652 8111

Headspace (under 25’s) Mid North Coast 6652 1878

C H Women’s Resource & Information Centre 6652 9944

Lifeline Counselling 131114

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Relationships Australia 1300 364 277

Lifecare Counselling & Family Services Centres 1300 130 225

Family Planning Services:

Kyogle Hospital 6632 2598

Casino Hospital 6662 4444

Lismore Family Planning 6620 7660

Risks associated with a surgical abortion (STOP)

Retained Products of Conception

It happens in approximately one in 100 STOPs. The symptoms are usually abdominal (menstrual) pain, heavy or prolonged bleeding or passing blood clots. This happens when tissue remains in the uterus and may require a repeat curette or the use of medication. We will do this at no extra cost.

You should contact the clinic if you are bleeding heavily or bleeding for more than two weeks.

Infection

Some patients (1:200) may develop an infection in the fallopian tubes or the uterus. The symptoms are a temperature over 38C, sweats, pain and excessive or prolonged bleeding. If treated early with antibiotics, infection has no after effects. However, if treated too late, in rare cases, it can cause infertility.

There is a debate among doctors about the use of antibiotics. They can have side effects and dangerous allergic reactions. However, there is evidence that their use reduces the incidence of post STOP infection. At the end of the operation, while you are still asleep,a metronidazole suppository (flagyl) will be inserted in your rectum. (Patients having local anesthetic do not have this treament.) You will also be given a script for Azithromycin (Zithromax). Take these two tablets with dinner on the day of the operation. Azithromycin is a long lasting antibiotic. Both Flagyl and Zithromax are safe for breastfeeding. Contact the clinic if you are concerned that you may have an infection.

Perforation of the Uterus

During the operation, a small hole can be torn in the soft uterine wall (approx 1:1000). Usually, the uterus repairs itself and only needs observation at the clinic or a hospital. Occasionally, the tear will have to be surgically repaired. In very rare cases a hysterectomy is required.

 

Excessive Bleeding

Very heavy bleeding may occur during the STOP (approx1:5000) and you may be admitted to hospital for surgery or a blood transfusion. Very rarely, a condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation may stop your blood from clotting. If this happens you will be admitted to intensive care in the closest major hospital. This is more likely to occur in mid trimester patients and is a life threatening condition. It can also occur during pregnancy.

Clot Retention

Blood clots may remain in your uterus. The symptoms are increasing pain without bleeding. The treatment is repeat curette.

Cervical Stenosis

Some patients (1:500) may develop a small scar at the opening of the uterus which stops blood from passing. Usually, this is easy to treat at the clinic. A very rare condition called Aschermann’s Syndrome may occur where the scarring is more extensive and may cause untreatable infertility.

Continuing Pregnancy

If a pregnancy is very early the STOP may fail (1:1000). If pregnancy symptoms persist for more than one week after the STOP or if you don’t get your period after eight weeks, contact the Clinic. If you are still pregnant another STOP can be performed. A urine pregnency test can be positive up to four weeks after a succesful termination.

Ectopic Pregnancy

About 1:200 pregnancies develop in the tubes and not in the uterus. If you have an ectopic pregnancy you will be admitted to hospital for treatment. Ectopic pregnancies are very serious and may cause death. If we think you are at risk we have a special information sheet which you will be given.

Psychological Disturbances

Major emotional or psychological problems after a STOP are uncommon. They are more likely if you have a pre-existing problem or are pushed into a STOP against your will. The clinic can arrange a referral to appropriate counsellors if necessary.

Risks associated with Anaesthesia

Allergy

Allergic reactions to modern anaesthetics are rare; approx 1:50,000. If you have had a bad reaction in the past you must tell the doctor or anaesthetist before you have the operation.

Aspiration (Vomiting)

Under sedation the contents of your stomach may enter your air passages creating a lack of oxygen in your brain. Therefore, you must fast for a minimum of five hours prior to the procedure. Do not eat or drink anything including milk. You may drink water up to two hours beforehand. Tell the doctor if you have vomited recently or eaten during the fasting period.

Awareness

Intra venous sedation is a combination of a pain killer and a drug that affects the ability of the brain to store memory for about half an hour after it is administered. Almost all patients will forget the operation, however, amnesia cannot be guaranteed.
You cannot drive a motor vehicle, 
operate machinery, 
consume alcohol or recreational drugs, 
sign important documents 
or make important decisions until the next day.

Death

All surgical and anaesthetic procedures carry a risk of death. The risk associated with a STOP in the first trimester is less than 1:100,000. It is one of the safest operations and is much safer than pregnancy and childbirth.

These risks might sound scary but they are rare. Abortion is one of the safest operations and, up to twenty weeks, it is safer than having a baby.

Coping after your Termination

Deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy can result in many complex feelings. The suggestions here were compiled from interviews with 100 women for a research study entitled “Post-Abortion Emotions and How Women Cope” by Anne Baker.

Anne is the Director of Counselling at the Hope Clinic, an abortion provider in the USA. In this pamphlet Anne has also utilised suggestions from ministers, priests, counsellors, and doctors.

The women who coped successfully with their guilt and achieved self-forgiveness told themselves the following statements

“Just because I had an abortion doesn’t mean I’m a bad person.”

“Everyone makes mistakes.”

“Motherly women have abortions too.”

“I made the best decision I could at the time.”

“If I could have done any better, I would have.”

“When I look back and ask myself if I was being selfish, I know that caring for myself is as important as caring for others. If I don’t love myself, how can I love others?”

“Just because I’ve had more than one abortion doesn’t mean I’m a bad person.”


If you believe in God, it is important that you believe in God’s forgiveness.

Some people are afraid that God will not forgive them. They interpret any bad luck they have after the abortion as a sign of God’s punishment. But whether or not you had an abortion, you will experience both good and bad in your life. Blaming God and seeing punishment in misfortune is self-destructive and you should avoid it. Ask yourself, “Do I believe that God is all merciful?”

If you do, then have faith that you are forgiven and be open to receiving the forgiveness that is always there for you. Some women think that after their abortion God will cause a miscarriage when they want a baby, or make them sterile. These thoughts are not about the loving nature of God. God’s forgiveness is limitless and always there for us. 
A valuable lesson is learning to cope successfully with guilt. This means learning what to say and do for yourself to achieve self-forgiveness, learning what to avoid, believing in God’s mercy, and then using your energy to improve your life.

Women may experience any number of feelings after an abortion.

There is no “right” way to feel afterwards. You may feel relief, gratitude, sadness, anger, guilt, confidence, doubt, depression, renewed energy, remorse, “back to normal” or “no regrets at all”.

Some people, especially those who are opposed to abortion, believe that most women sink into a pit of depression, guilt and grief after an abortion. This is false. While some women report negative feelings and do experience guilt and depression afterwards, the majority of women do not report regrets or severe trauma. Many women report only positive feelings after their abortion and are at peace with themselves.

For many women, there is a mixture of both positive and troublesome feelings after an abortion. These feelings may include guilt, sadness, anger, and regret which can be hard if you can’t cope with them.

Guilt

Guilt is the feeling when you believe you have done something wrong. Feeling guilty about an abortion may mean feeling sad and disappointed, feeling angry with yourself, or feeling afraid of being found out and punished. Guilt can be useful if you use it to decide to take better care of yourself. Once you make this decision, continuing to feel guilty only drains, damages and defeats you.

The first step in coping with guilt is to ask yourself, “What exactly am I feeling guilty about?”

Some women say,

“I felt guilty because… I believed I ended a life…

I felt selfish…

I felt stupid to let myself get pregnant…

had premarital sex…

thought if I didn’t suffer, I wouldn’t be forgiven…

I normally feel guilty about everything and this was one more thing…

I felt guilty because I didn’t feel guilty about having an abortion.”

Two ways to discover the reasons for your guilt are:

1. Write “I am feeling guilty because…” and finish the sentence with all the answers that are true for you.

2. Talk to a good listener, like a family member, counsellor, or someone you trust. Take the first step now instead of waiting until your guilt gets worse.

The next step is to ask yourself, “Why did I do that?”

Write or talk about this question the same way you did with the first question. If you answer, “I did it because I was stupid,” think again. Stupid is a judgmental word that will trigger bad feelings about yourself. People do things for reasons, usually to satisfy a need. When you understand why you did something then you can avoid doing it again.

One woman discovered why she took the risk of having sex without thinking about birth control.

“I was feeling lonely and needy,” she said. “And an old boyfriend happened to be passing through town. He wanted to be with me and I sure needed to be wanted. I just wasn’t thinking,” she concluded sadly. She decided to be more protective of herself when she felt lonely, and instead of having sex, she’d get together with a female friend or family member. 
“That way I’m with someone who loves me, and I don’t get hurt by some thoughtless impulse.” 
She planned ahead instead of fooling herself that there would never be a next time.

The third step in coping with guilt is very important and can be very difficult.

Forgive yourself. If you can’t, here is the key — forgiveness depends on what you say and do for yourself. If you tell yourself, “I don’t deserve forgiveness,” then you’ll be stuck in guilt. But, if you tell yourself, “I’m okay and I forgive myself,” you will be able to move past the guilt.

Knowing what to say and do for yourself to cope with guilt is important, but knowing what not to do is just as important. Some women cope poorly and suffer with guilt for years after their abortion.

Avoid Telling Yourself

1. “I’m stupid. I’m no good, I’m selfish. I should suffer for what I’ve done.” 
It just keeps the guilt going.

2. “I tried to block the abortion out of my mind completely by keeping busy. Because I wasn’t honest with myself and wouldn’t let myself express my true feelings, guilt came flooding over me later in life. The only way I found peace was talking with a counsellor. If I had done this sooner, I probably wouldn’t have had so much trouble.”

3. “I blamed my parents for the abortion. I guess I couldn’t face my own guilt at the time. But now with the help of my pastor, I’ve learned to deal with it.”

4. “I kept finding things to do that would make me suffer. I cut myself off from my friends and family. I didn’t eat. I always dwelled on the abortion. I let other people make me feel guilty, and I got involved with men who treated me mean. The only way I quit all that was by getting professional help. I wish I had got it sooner – maybe I wouldn’t have put myself through hell.”

5. Some women attempt to make up for their abortion by joining a Right-To-Life agency and focusing their energy on talking other women out of having an abortion. 
There is a drawback to this form of activity. Other women’s crises can prevent you from coming to grips with leftover anger, guilt and loss. As long as you continue this activity you can’t heal emotionally.

Anger

You may think it’s not “nice” to get angry. Some women won’t permit themselves to say they are angry. Instead, they often say they feel “hurt.” “Hurt” and “angry” are two labels commonly used for the same feeling. Remember, everyone gets mad at times. 
When people don’t acknowledge their anger, they can turn it on themselves and become depressed. It is better to admit you’re angry, discover what you’re angry about, and then cope with these feelings.

Reasons for Feeling Angry

“I felt mad at myself because I didn’t use birth control… I gave in to my boyfriend sexually…”

“I felt mad at my partner for getting me pregnant… he pressured me… I had to go through the abortion, and to him it was no big deal…”

“ I felt mad at my parents because they wouldn’t let me see my boyfriend again… they wouldn’t let me talk to anybody afterwards… they made me have the abortion.”

What To Do With Anger

Finding out why you’re angry can help you to take care of yourself. For instance, if you’re mad at yourself for not using reliable birth control, ask about how to protect yourself next time. It you’re mad at your boyfriend for getting you pregnant, ask yourself why you let him take risks with your body. What would you do differently next time?

 

Positive Ways Of Coping With Anger

“Talk to somebody who will listen. Get it off your chest.”

“If your mad at yourself, you need to forgive yourself.”

“I was mad at birth control that didn’t work. But any birth control can fail even if used perfectly. That’s the risk I have to take to have sex.”

“If you’re mad at your parents, you have to talk to somebody even if your parents say you can’t.”

You may want to tell the person you’re angry with. It is important to think what you will gain and what you may lose if you do so. If you decide it is too risky, then express it in a safer way. For example, tell someone else what you are angry about. Or pound your fist into a pillow or scream in a car with the windows rolled up. If you use a gym, have an extra hard workout or go for a longer run than usual. Physical activities like this can give a wonderful feeling of release.

Many women who are angry with their partners have difficulty knowing what to do. One way of coping is to write the coldest, angriest letter imaginable, telling your partner what you think of him and what you’d like him to do but do not send the letter. Not ever! 
Keep it to read and reread aloud.

Imagine him sitting in a corner on the floor. You are telling him everything you’d love to say. Have this fantasy whenever your anger comes back, or perform it dramatically for a trusted friend who will laugh with you. This allows you to release the anger safely. Then look at what you did and the risks you took with him. Then say, “We’re both human and capable of mistakes. We both should have taken better care, but we didn’t. He should have been responsible after the fact, but he wasn’t. I don’t have to have anything more to do with him.”

Focus your attention onto caring for yourself. People all too often hurt themselves when they are angry.

Destructive Acts To Avoid

“If you hold your anger inside and pretend it’s not there, you’ll get depressed or develop headaches or heartburn like I did.”

“I was so mad at my parents because they said things to hurt me and wouldn’t let me see my friends or boyfriend. It was like prison. I started drinking and doing stupid stuff to hurt myself to get back at them. I messed myself up bad.”

“I was mad at myself but blamed all my hurt on the fact that a legal abortion was available to me and on the abortion clinic. As long as I blamed ‘legal abortion’ or ‘the clinic’ for my abortion, I didn’t have to face my own part in it. It was easier to point the finger at them than to take responsibility for my own actions. Not facing facts kept me stuck in my anger. What a waste!”

“I called up that bastard and tried to make him feel guilty, but all he did was laugh and hang up on me. It your boyfriend doesn’t care, don’t think you can make him feel bad. You wind up hurt, not him!”

Some people can forgive the person who hurt them, and that is a good release from anger. But don’t criticise yourself if you can’t forgive. It is enough to let go of anger by expressing it safely and taking care of yourself. If you can’t let go of the anger, contact a counsellor.

Sadness

Some women have a sense of loss after an abortion. Some don’t at all. There are varying degrees of sadness — from a-little-sad to grief-stricken. Explore exactly what you are feeling sad about, so it isn’t just a vague, “blah” feeling. Then you are able to fix it.

“I really wanted a baby, but I just couldn’t provide for it… I saw the abortion as the death of my baby and my dreams… I felt empty… I felt alone because my boyfriend left me… I had wanted the baby, but my doctors advised against it due to my health.”

Positive Ways Of Coping With Sadness

“Go ahead and have a good cry. Then look at what you have gained instead of just dwelling on what you lost.”

“You can feel sad knowing it was for the best.”

“Don’t hide behind ‘being strong.’ The real courage is telling your true feelings to someone who will listen.”

“Beware of dreamy fantasies about how wonderful it would have been to have the baby, be realistic and imagine what it really would have been like for everyone involved.”

“Be ready for the possibility that you may feel a loss you never felt before. Then it won’t surprise you if it comes. If you feel sad, go ahead and grieve, but don’t let it run your life. Set aside a time of day for it, but the rest of the time, go about your business.”

“If you needed the abortion for your health, don’t say you were selfish. Your life counts too. My priest told me that God doesn’t want us to harm ourselves if the pregnancy is too risky.”

“If you had an abortion because the baby was deformed, think about this: How would you feel if you had the baby and it was severely deformed or retarded?”

Grieving a Loss

When you experience a loss, you need to grieve. Knowing about the stages of grieving can help you to understand what you are going through. The stages of grieving are

1. Denial — “This can’t be happening to me.” “I feel numb, like it’s not real.”
2. Depression and anger — “I feel sad, depressed, and tired.” “I’m angry that this is happening to me!”
3. Acceptance — “I accept that it happened and I am finding peace of mind.”

These stages of grief are painful but necessary to achieve peace of mind. Moving through grief can be like following a jagged line. You may move forward and backward. Don’t think you’re not doing well just because you have setbacks. They are normal.
If you have had other losses in your life and not grieved fully, then things can multiply. 
“I had a miscarriage, then my baby died of crib death a few years before I had my abortion. I never got over them because I had tried to put them out of my mind. It messed me up and after the abortion, all that pain came flooding over me.” 
If you don’t grieve each loss at the time it happens, it may return later, often at the time of another loss. It is better to grieve each loss as it comes than to bear multiple losses at once.

Destructive Behaviors to Avoid

“Don’t do what I did. I started doing drugs and alcohol to avoid feeling.”

“I stopped eating and starved myself.”

“I slept all the time so I didn’t have to feel.”

“I ate all the time and didn’t care how I looked or felt.”

“I cut myself off and just cried all the time.”

“After my boyfriend left me, I told myself I was bad and would never find another man to love me. That wasn’t true, but I made myself feel lousy by thinking it.”

“I pushed it out of my mind and refused to think about it. It didn’t go away. It exploded in my face later.”

If you find yourself thinking these kinds of things then see a counsellor. Some people think that having counselling is a weakness, but it takes strength to ask for help.

Regret

When you experience a loss, you need to grieve. Knowing about the stages of grieving can help you to understand what you are going through. The stages of grieving are

1. Denial — “This can’t be happening to me.” “I feel numb, like it’s not real.”
2. Depression and anger — “I feel sad, depressed, and tired.” “I’m angry that this is happening to me!”
3. Acceptance — “I accept that it happened and I am finding peace of mind.”

These stages of grief are painful but necessary to achieve peace of mind. Moving through grief can be like following a jagged line. You may move forward and backward. Don’t think you’re not doing well just because you have setbacks. They are normal.
If you have had other losses in your life and not grieved fully, then things can multiply. 
“I had a miscarriage, then my baby died of crib death a few years before I had my abortion. I never got over them because I had tried to put them out of my mind. It messed me up and after the abortion, all that pain came flooding over me.” 
If you don’t grieve each loss at the time it happens, it may return later, often at the time of another loss. It is better to grieve each loss as it comes than to bear multiple losses at once.

Reasons for Feeling Regret

Some women who feel regret think that they didn’t live up to their values. For example, they may criticise themselves for not having the child and then giving it up for adoption. They feel that they were “weak”.
There are women who feel ashamed because they believe abortion is unforgivable and can’t bear to admit they had one.

They say they “didn’t know what they were doing,” and can blame the doctor, legalised abortion, the clinic, or their partner or parents. They fool themselves to ward off feelings of self-hatred and self-destruction. This is understandable but there are better ways of coping.

What to Do

Talking to a counsellor is a better way to gain peace of mind. A counsellor can help you stop blaming others, accept responsibility for your actions, forgive yourself, regain your self-respect, and move on with your life. Regretting a decision you can’t undo is a waste.

Making peace with yourself can improve your whole life. 
Help yourself deal with regret by writing down exactly what your situation and feelings were at the time. The closer to the abortion you do this, the more useful it will be. Keep that paper where you can find it.

Whenever memory fades and you wonder why you didn’t have the baby, read it and remember. You made the best decision you could at the time. 
It is never fair to judge past decisions with present knowledge. We can’t see the future. There are endless regrets we could torture ourselves but it’s much better to create joy now and plan for a good future.

ABORTION
  • What Happens when I have an abortion?
  • How do I prepare?
  • What will I need to bring?
  • What else do I need to know?
  • What can I expect?
  • What happens next?
MEDICAL ABORTION
  • What is a Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTOP)?
  • How does it Work?
  • Conditions where you will not be able to have a MTOP
  • Other Considerations
  • How do I make an appointment for (MTOP)?
  • What to bring.
  • What Happens Afterwards
  • MTOP vs STOP Comparison
  • Risks Associated
CONTRACEPTION
  • Condoms
  • Diaphragm
  • Pills
  • The Nvaring
  • LARCS
  • The Injection
  • Sterilisation
WOMEN’S HEALTH
  • Women’s Checks
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