An abortion can be a life-changing experience for not only the person who had the abortion, but also those around them. There will often be a wealth of opinions and emotions within a person’s relationships after she has had an abortion. Because of this, having a friend to lean on will make all the difference. If your friend has had an abortion, there are ways you can help her regardless of your feelings or emotions regarding her decision. This will require putting your own emotions aside to help your friend process through the abortion and its lasting effects.
1. Be Present
One of the best ways to help a friend that has had an abortion is simply to be there. Be present. Let your friend know that you are by her side. Abortion can often make a person feel incredibly lonely. There may be people in her life who are unhappy with her decision and may therefore walk away from her. Your friend will need to know that she has someone in her corner. Even though “being there” is more inactive, your friend will appreciate just knowing she has someone to whom she can turn.
2. Listen More Than You Talk
When your friend decides that she would like to talk about what happened or how she is feeling, let her talk. If she asks for advice, you can certainly offer it; however, she has probably already heard many opinions and comments on her situation. In addition to being there for her, giving her someone to simply unload her feelings to can be quite therapeutic. Listen first then offer advice or encouragement only when necessary. A wise friend always taught me to “THINK” first. Before speaking, think to yourself:
- Is it True?
- Is it Helpful?
- Is it Important?
- Is it Necessary?
- Is it Kind?
3. Don’t Press
In trying to help your friend who has had an abortion, you may find that your offers to be there and listen may fall on deaf ears. Your friend may want time alone or to process her abortion with a significant other or family member. Your friend may also seem to be doing okay and choose not to reach out. If this is the case, don’t press your friend. Everyone handles things differently. Do check in on her but do not press her to confide in you if she is not ready. She has the knowledge that you are willing to be there for her and are willing to talk. If she needs that, she will come to you when she is ready. In the meantime, just be a good friend as you normally would.
4. Provide Resources
While it is fantastic that you are seeking ways to help your friend, she may need help that extends beyond what you can provide. Your friend will be dealing with a considerable amount of emotion. She may get to a point that she needs the aid of a counselor or medical professional to help cope with these new emotions. The emotions can be from the event or from the hormones left from the pregnancy. Post-abortion and postpartum depression can both occur in this situation. Encourage your friend to seek help and aid her in finding the necessary resources.
If you are unexpectedly pregnant, please consider adoption. Visit Adoption.com to view adoption profiles from hopeful adoptive parents. Visit Adoption.com/unplanned-pregnancy to find guidance with your unplanned pregnancy.