If you or someone you know is considering an abortion, one aspect of the decision you may feel unsure about is how or if making the decision to abort will affect your relationships with others in your life, such as your boyfriend, parents, friends, etc. What difference will it make, if any?
It’s easy to feel like such a personal decision couldn’t possibly have implications for anyone outside of “you.” If you’ve ever thrown a rock in a pond, you’ve seen the ripple effect. That initial impact is drastic, strong and quick and the rock sinks beneath the surface, seemingly hidden.
Yet, just as the rock hitting the water causes the surrounding water to ripple outward, whether seen or not, the choice for an abortion impacts more than you; it becomes part of your story, and, subsequently, part of the stories of those who care for you, be it your significant other, your parents, siblings or other children.
Here are some points to consider when deciding how or if this could impact those important relationships in your life:
Your Mental Health May Be Impacted
While there may be an initial sense of relief after an abortion, science and data show us that a decision of such magnitude could affect you beyond the procedure itself. The British Journal of Psychiatry (Vol 199, issue 3, Cambridge.org) reports there is a ”moderate to highly increased risk of mental health problems after an abortion”.
Such issues can include flashbacks, depression and in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts. This possible change in your own sense of self, whether now or later in life, can affect the way you interact with others, sometimes even without you realizing it. While it may not be the case for every woman, having a good support system is essential to your mental health and overall wellbeing after an abortion.
No matter what you decide to do, never be afraid to reach out for help.
Differing Opinions Can Cause Relationship Strain
You may be contemplating an abortion but find that your boyfriend, parents, or friends don’t support or agree with this option. Or, you may want to carry your pregnancy and be faced with pressure from those outside of you to consider or choose an abortion.
Either way, the bond created between you and others can be strained or weakened. Even if they may respect your choice, it can feel later as if the relationships have quietly changed. There is even a chance that anger, resentment and hurt feelings that occur as a result of your decision may break down those relationships, resulting in something that is more toxic than mutually supportive.
One real-life example is the experience of one of our own clients. She was a college student at the start of her life. She enjoyed playing a sport on scholarship, building her career and living the freedom of adult hood with the guy she loved. An unplanned pregnancy changed their plans; she wanted an abortion and he did not, but wanted to support her. “I thought I was helping my girlfriend”. After the abortion, she seemed more irritable and withdrawn when they were together. He felt his feelings and input didn’t matter to her. He tried to understand and be supportive but it never seemed to be the right thing. His family grieved the loss, making it uncomfortable for her to be around them – it wasn’t like before.
What About Future Relationships?
If you choose an abortion, there may be a very real sense of relief in the present moment, and life may progress from there. However, this decision is now part of your story and so part of your future as well.
Even years down the road, as new relationships form, you may find yourself facing questions such as “Do I share this part of my story with my new boyfriend, spouse or child?” “How will it impact this relationship if I share about this past decision” You may also find that a past decision to abort can affect your mindset in subsequent pregnancies.
Anytime a life changing decision is made, those around you are also impacted. Moving into a new residence, accepting a new job, starting school—all of these decisions have implications not only for you, but for those in relationship to you.
Making any of these commonplace decisions can impact the amount of time available to invest in a relationship and the level of interaction within the relationship is altered. In the case of a decision about a pregnancy, add the extra emotion that comes with along with it and you will find that relationships can definitely feel an impact.
Birthright St. Charles understands the magnitude of this decision and wants to help you sort through the options and potential impacts for both the present and future. We want to provide a safe, comfortable and judgement-free place for you to process so that you can create the plan that best fits with your life, now and later.
Ultimately, it is your choice, and your choice alone, to decide the result of your pregnancy.
Remember, we will never share your information with anyone without your explicit, written permission. Your safety and care is our priority.