My Girlfriend Has Become Depressed Following An Abortion
Depressed because of an abortion. So my girlfriend and I had unprotected sex, and she fell pregnant. Her parents essentially forced her to get an abortion, which she did, (I was there with her throughout the experience, and we are still together as I write this). After the operation, and for the last month or so, she has become increasingly depressed. She has become violent toward other people, I'd go so far as to call it sociopathic. She self harms, and I try my best to stop her, and keep her from doing anything too drastic (A.K.A., suicide). Recently she came up with the idea of falling pregnant again, on purpose, and this time refusing to give up the child, but I do not think this is a good idea, as it may alienate her from both her dwindling number of friends, and her parents. She pressures me for sex, which, as a guy, should be great! But it just makes me anxious and upset. Whenever we are alone she tries to get me to have sex with her so that she can fall pregnant again. It's like she's gone mad! What's worse is that I of course feel to blame, as I made her pregnant. I could have convinced her to keep the child, and seeing her decend into apparent madness, I wish I had, even though it may have caused her parents to essentially disown her. I'm at my wits end trying to look after my girlfriend. I love her and I hate seeing her like this. PLEASE HELP!!!
TeenHealthFX can appreciate how difficult this time is for you and your girlfriend. Your girlfriend is essentially mourning a loss. Terminating the pregnancy, especially if she felt forced by her parents, has put her in a place of grieving – and grief can involve many emotions, such as sadness, anger, and guilt. The intensity of her reaction may be a reflection of her feeling forced into this by her parents, emotional issues she may have been dealing with prior to the abortion, and how much she feels (or doesn’t feel) that she has had her parents support through all of this.
TeenHealthFX absolutely agrees that another pregnancy will not help the situation. A baby will not fix whatever emotional issues are going on for her. That said, if you do have sex with your girlfriend, make sure you use a condom each and every time to help prevent pregnancy from occurring.
FX also thinks it is very important that you encourage your girlfriend to seek out help from a reputable mental health professional, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist. It would be helpful for your girlfriend to have a safe, private place to process the feelings she is currently struggling with. It might also be helpful for her to meet with a reputable psychiatrist who can assess whether or not she would benefit from psychotropic medications, even if just for the short-term while she grieves this loss. She needs to get help and needs to hear from your that you want her to get help because you see how much she is suffering. If she resists help, consider speaking to her parents or anyone else who may have influence in getting her to go.
You can give your girlfriend the following information if needed: If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.
For more information on emotional reactions following an abortion, as well as information about an after-abortion talkline, read the following information presented by Planned Parenthood on If I Have An Abortion, How Will I Feel Afterwards?:
A range of emotions is normal after an abortion. There is not one "correct" way to feel. Some women feel anger, regret, guilt, or sadness for a little while. For some women, these feelings may be quite strong.
For some women, having an abortion can be a significant life event, like ending a relationship, starting or losing a job, or becoming a parent. It can be very stressful and difficult. Other women have an easier time after abortion.
Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are about as uncommon as they are after giving birth. They are more likely to happen for certain reasons — for instance, if a woman has a history of emotional problems before the abortion, if she doesn't have supportive people in her life, or if she has to terminate a wanted pregnancy because her health or the health of her fetus is in danger.
Ultimately, most women feel relief after an abortion. Women tend to feel better after abortion if they can talk with supportive people in their lives. Post-abortion counseling services are available. Contact Exhale, a free, after-abortion talkline, that provides confidential and nonjudgmental emotional support, information, and resources for women who have had abortions.