an After abortion

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CALL 1-888-510-BABY or click on the picture on the left, if you gave birth or are about to and can't care for your baby, to give your baby to a worker at a nearby hospital (some states also include police stations or fire stations), NO QUESTIONS ASKED. YOU WON'T GET IN ANY TROUBLE or even have to tell your name; Safehaven people will help the baby be adopted and cared for.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Exhale is a post-abortion hotline founded a few years ago in San Francisco. Exhale is partly funded by activist pro-choice organizations such as the California Abortion Rights Action League.

Part of Exhale's mission is to encourage the creation of similar hotlines elsewhere. Epilogue is a new group in New York City based on the Exhale model, although Epilogue seems to be more explicitly political, since it includes pro-choice advocacy as an explicit part of its agenda. Epilogue recently added some content to their website, including this story:

"About a year and a half ago, I had an abortion. I've always considered myself a feminist and I've always supported the work of the pro-choice movement. I found though that my feminist ideals actually somewhat conflicted with what I was experiencing after my abortion.

I was sad, I felt like nobody in the world understood me, I felt alone, and most of all I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Was I reretting my decision? Absolutely not. I just wanted to talk to somebody who had some sense of what I was feeling. I became extremely depressed, I cried everyday, and when I finally found the sterength to seek help, there was no organization that offered support. Friends tried to help by referring me to organizations such as Project Rachel and similar organizations, but I didn't feel that my grief was a result of regret. And I most certainly didn't believe I had to ask for forgiveness. I spent a long time in a very dark place with just my grief.

It wasn't until this past October (the first anniversary of the abortion) that I found the help I needed. Finally, my primary doctor referred me to a therapist who has been able to help me cope with the sadness and isolation I've felt for over a year now.

It sounds like her abortion really hurt on an emotional level, but that she didn't feel safe contacting Project Rachel, even though her (probably) pro-choice friends were concerned enough about her to give her this referral. It's interesting that this woman feels that it would only be appropriate to contact Project Rachel if you wanted to work through regret, as opposed to depression and grief. That hasn't been my experience, and it wasn't my image of Project Rachel prior to making contact.

This woman says that her therapist has "helped me cope" with the sadness and isolation. Therapists can help us cope with conditions that can't be changed, but therapists who understand and can tolerate working with grief (many therapists aren't that great with grief) can also help us heal. I'm concerned from the wording here that coping is happening, but healing isn't.

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