Although it is sometimes the best option, abortion is not always the easy choice to make. For many women, determining the right next step after becoming pregnant unexpectedly is a complicated process that takes a mental, emotional, and sometimes even physical toll. Even once you’ve decided that abortion is right for your situation, it’s normal to experience some anxiety and uncertainty leading up to the procedure.
The best way to cope with your emotions ahead of an abortion is to trust in your decision and do what you can to help yourself feel prepared. Work your way through the steps below to help prepare yourself, physically and mentally, for your upcoming abortion.
1) Research your options.
When you choose to have an abortion, there are a few different ways to go about the procedure. Educating yourself about what each option entails will not only help you make the right choice for your situation, but can also help ease your anxieties by demystifying the process. There are two types of elective abortion to choose from:
The first option, which many qualifying women prefer, is medical abortion. When you have a medical abortion, you’re given a series of pills to terminate your pregnancy. The first dosage is usually taken in your doctor’s office, while the second can be taken at home. Medical abortion is an early solution designed for women who are within the first 9 weeks of their unwanted pregnancy.
Your second option is surgical abortion. If you’re too far along in your pregnancy for medical abortion, your doctor can terminate your pregnancy surgically using one of a few methods. The type of surgical method used for your abortion will depend on how far along you are and possibly other contributing health factors. Both medical and surgical abortion are safe and effective solutions for pregnancy termination.
2) Discuss any questions or concerns about abortion with your doctor.
As part of your research, you should address any questions and concerns about your upcoming procedure with your doctor. They can help you weigh the best options for your circumstances and will give you any specific instructions you need to follow in preparation. Come up with a list of questions before your appointment, so you don’t forget to ask any when you’re there. Here are a few examples of what you might want to ask:
- What are the risks to this abortion procedure? Can it interfere with any of my existing conditions or medications?
- What will happen during my procedure? What do I need to bring to prepare? What does the aftercare entail?
- What does abortion cost at your facility? Will my insurance cover any of the expenses? Are there follow up costs? Do you have financial resources if I need help?
- What are the laws regarding abortion in my state? Is there a mandatory ultrasound, waiting period, mental health consultation, etc.? Are you required to share any information with me that may not be medically accurate? (This can happen in states where abortion is more heavily restricted.)
3) Confide in someone you trust.
Whether or not to tell anyone about your decision to have an abortion is completely up to you. However, if you have a partner, friend, or family member you feel comfortable confiding in, it may help you greatly. Abortion is often an emotionally-complicated experience. Having a companion by your side throughout the process can be very comforting. You don’t have to ask for any advice or opinions, merely their support.
Even just talking to someone about everything you’re feeling can help you process your emotions and let go of some guilt and anxiety. If you feel comfortable, you might even ask your trusted companion to accompany you to your procedure, drive you home, or be with you afterwards.
4) Set aside time and supplies for post-abortion self-care.
Take the day after your abortion (or the next two) off of work to give yourself the time you need to rest and recoup. Before your procedure, stock up on the essential comfort items you’ll likely need and want when you get home.
A few things you’ll want to help with any physical discomfort include over-the-counter pain relief (your doctor may prescribe something as well), a heating pad for cramps, maxi pads to manage bleeding, and plenty of water and fluids to keep you hydrated. You should also grab a few items to help you relax and feel better mentally, such as your favorite snacks, a good book, movies, candles, blankets, pillows, etc.
5) Remember that this is YOUR body and YOUR choice.
As you get closer to your procedure, try to let go of the idea that there’s any “right” way to feel about your decision. Let yourself feel the emotions you need to, so you can work on accepting them and moving on. It may help to journal, talk to a friend or partner, or even see a mental health counselor before your abortion.
At South Avenue Women’s Services, we provide every woman with the information and support she needs and deserves before, during, and after her abortion.
Our women’s healthcare specialists are compassionate and committed to meeting your needs with great care and discretion. We perform medical and surgical elective abortions at our facility, as well as the other essential procedures and wellness services every woman needs for her reproductive health.
For more information about abortion and the other services we offer, give us a call at 585-271-3850 today. When you turn to South Avenue Women’s Services, you are not alone.