When someone decides to terminate a pregnancy, they can face a lot of judgment and guilt from society and even people close to them. It can be an isolating experience that reveals who your true supporters and loved ones really are. Discussing abortion with your partner can be difficult if you choose to do so, and explaining your decision to friends and family can stir up heated debates and a whirlwind of emotions.
No matter the reasons for terminating a pregnancy, everyone needs people in their life who are willing to support them through their decision and comfort them in their time of need.
Here are a few ways you can support a loved one if they decide to go through with an abortion.
Listen without Judgment
If a friend or family member feels comfortable enough to talk to you about their decision or concerns about abortion, make sure you listen to them with judgment-free ears and allow them to speak freely. It takes a lot of inner strength and courage to open up about a big decision; many just need to be heard.
Women who are considering an abortion tend to keep this completely to themselves to avoid facing scrutiny or judgment from others. Holding all these emotions inside can be detrimental to their health and well-being. Allowing your loved one to express their struggles openly can give them some relief.
Avoid Giving Unsolicited Advice
Everyone’s journey to abortion is different. You want to avoid telling people how to think or what to feel about their situation and only offer advice if it is asked of you. Even if you have been through a similar experience, you truly cannot know exactly what someone else is going through, and what worked for you might not work for them.
Offer to Help Them Research Information
Deciding to commit to an abortion procedure is difficult enough, but then you must research and figure out your options, which can be stressful and all-consuming. Many women can feel so alone and overwhelmed if they don’t have a support system when planning to terminate a pregnancy.
Offer to do some research for your loved one to prepare for the abortion and determine their options after reviewing the rules and restrictions of your state. If they need to find an abortion provider, you can check the National Abortion Federation (NAF) database to find the closest location possible!
It is also a good idea to look up reputable mental health professionals specializing in pregnancy and abortion. Your loved one might need extra care and attention after making such a big decision in their life. Seeking mental health support is a great way to speak to someone who doesn’t know you personally but can offer resources and guidance without judgment.
Suggest Attending the Appointment with Them
For surgical abortion procedures, your loved one may require a driver to get them to and from the appointment. They will want someone they can trust to care for them and ensure they aren’t alone. Offer to drive them even if they don’t technically need a ride. Many women feel okay walking into the procedure but come out feeling emotional or very alone. They may wish they would have brought someone to drive them home or be there right after the procedure for moral support.
Check on Them After the Abortion
Check in on your loved one after the procedure and see how they are doing. Maybe you could offer to watch their kids, tidy their home, or just bring dinner over. It’s one thing to ask someone how they are doing but showing up and being helpful can take a lot of weight and extra stress off their shoulders when recovering from a potentially traumatizing event. They may not want to ask for help, assuming they might be a burden to you, so offering your assistance will make them feel like you truly don’t mind being there for them.
At South Avenue Women’s Services, we recognize that there are a lot of myths about abortion out there, which is why we take the time to inform our patients about their options, so they can determine which procedure is right for them and their unique situation. From medical to surgical abortion procedures, we are committed to caring for our patients through every step of both abortion processes with compassion and discretion.