Many people don’t feel happy during the holidays. For some, lack of Christmas spirit goes deeper than just being a scrooge. There are all kinds of reasons for the holiday blues: money problems, sickness, the loss of a loved one, loneliness, and one that is often under reported and suffered in silence -abortion.
Women who’ve had abortions in their past can find it difficult to get through Christmas without thinking about their loss.
Amanda had an abortion in July; by September she was already dreading Christmas.When she came to Options for after abortion care, she shared that the thought of Christmas was “unbearable” for her. She felt terrible about seeing her relatives who had babies and young children. They reminded her of the baby she chose not to have.
Her future sister-in-law was pregnant and was due in January. Amanda wondered how different Christmas would be if she were still pregnant and looking forward to the birth of her own baby. Guilt, mingled with sadness because of her secret, made her want to hide from everyone she loved, especially during the holidays.
No one knew Amanda had an abortion except her boyfriend and he seemed fine with it. His ability to brush it off and move on made her feel all the more lonely and profoundly depressed at Christmastime, and even a little angry.
Amanda didn’t feel she could tell anyone in her family about the abortion nor did she feel she could confide in any of her friends. She thought they would judge her and think she was a horrible person. She just wanted someone to understand what she was going through but at the same time she felt burdened by a secret that was for her, too terrible to share.
As for Christmas, she wanted to skip the whole thing.
Amanda’s experience isn’t unique. Many women who have had abortions feel their loss more keenly at Christmas and during the holidays. Christmas is all about children, starting with the baby in the manger scene and continuing with Santa Claus and the mandate to surprise children with toys under the tree on Christmas morning. For women like Amanda who have abortion in their past, this child centered holiday can feel like a knife in the heart.
If you are someone who has had an abortion and are finding it hard to get through the holidays without a lump in your throught or tears welling up behind your eyes, you are not alone. There are people who understand and who want to help, especially at Christmas.
Here are some tips for finding post abortion help:
- Confide in a friend or family member whom you trust.
- Contact your faith community. Most religious communities have some kind of pastoral care. If they can’t help, they will point you to someone who can.
- Seek professional counseling if you are feeling depressed.
- Talk to your doctor or health care provider.
- Search the web for post abortion forums. Here are a few good places to start:
- Keep a journal to record your feelings. Journaling is a good way to unload what you are carrying around on the inside.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. National post abortion help-line: 888-456-HOPE (4673)
It’s important to remember that every women who experiences abortion is different. Some women report having no feelings of remorse or sadness connected with their abortion. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are not one of them.
If you are local, you can call Options or visit our center where you will find compassion and acceptance, and a safe place to be heard. We will deeply listen to you with the purpose of helping you empty your heart so you can be free to enjoy life once again. Finding the right person to talk to after your abortion to express your grief is the first step. It’s up to you to take it.