- Read the handout she was given for post-abortion care. This will help you know more about how she needs to take care of herself, what she needs to watch for, and when she might need to seek further medical attention.
- She may want support to plan for her time at home to rest and recover. Some of us may want special food, some sort of entertainment like movies or a good book, painkillers like Ibuprofen, a heating pad and so on. She also may want time alone or to have someone with her – it is always best to ask.
- After an abortion the body changes from being pregnant to not being pregnant again. Pregnancy hormones drop as part of this, which can cause some people’s moods and emotions to go through changes or to seem intensified. This usually lasts no longer than two to three weeks. Some of us may need extra support or extra space during this time.
- If you are her partner and are not doing so already, consider ways in which you can take your share of responsibility for birth control. By doing so, you are showing concretely that you care and do not want to take chances with her body or wellbeing.
- Most of us do not regret our decision to have an abortion but it is very natural to look back and wonder if we made the best choice. If she is feeling unsure in this way, you can help by reminding her of all the things she considered when she was making the decision and the reasons she had for making the choice she did. Help her to remember that she made the best decision she could under the circumstances. If needed, let her know that she is not a bad person because she had an abortion. Reflect her goodness and the strength in her decision back to her. Let her know that you accept and respect her. Encourage her to have self-compassion and to be gentle with herself.
- Although you may want her to move on and feel better, give her time and space to integrate and recover from what has happened. For some of us this can take time. Try to allow her to process the experience in whatever way she needs to. If she is experiencing negative feelings that she finds unmanageable, encourage her to see a counselor that specializes in post-abortion care. Ask the clinic for resources and referrals. Please note: beware of Crisis Pregnancy Centers that claim to specialize in this area, but are actually anti-abortion organizations that may provide misinformation or encourage rather than help resolve difficult emotions.
- If you are the partner of someone having an abortion, it is still healthy for you to talk about how you feel regarding the pregnancy and abortion, as long as it is not in a way that makes things more difficult for her. Being willing to talk about a hard or intense situation can make a tremendous difference in both of your experiences and strengthen your relationship. If you feel guilty or sad and she doesn’t, it’s OK for you to tell her how you feel but do not expect her to feel the same way. If you are having a lot of difficult feelings, it may be better for you to talk to a friend or counsellor before you talk to her. If needed, ask the clinic for resources or referrals. You can have as many as or more feelings about the abortion than your partner. Your feelings are valid and need to be acknowledged so that you can move forward in your own healing.
Please note: we use the pronouns she/her/hers here because that is what the majority of our clients use, but recognize that trans and non-binary people also have abortions. If you would like a gender neutral version of this resource, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org