by Sydna Masse, Founder of Ramah International | Originally published at Ramah's Voice
“It’s my baby’s due date next week, Sydna,” the writer outlined. “How do I cope with this reminder each and every year for the rest of my life?”
Triggers of Abortion PTSD often arrive unexpectedly, activating a deep and forgotten pain. Since many post-abortive people work to forget this choice, the spark of these triggers can send them into a whirlwind of emotional anxiety.
My first after abortion trigger came 7 months after my abortion – on my child’s due date. I never connected the horrendous evening I spent locked in a dorm room crying as the night I should have been giving birth to my child. I thought I was losing my mind as there was no obvious reason for such an intense emotional reaction.
The next morning my eyes were swollen shut from crying. I went to the campus health center in a deeply demoralized state and discovered I had pink eye. It was clear that my poignant pain was not related to that infection. For many months I felt like I was on the verge of insanity.
When I read about Abortion PTSD eleven years later, I was relieved to discover the reason for my emotional angst. I could look back on the last eleven years of agony surrounding the third week in March when my child should have been celebrating a birthday. Embracing an abortion recovery program brought God’s peace back into my soul.
Once I realized this date was a trigger to my pain, I was able to tame that trigger and plan ways to cope. Here are eight methods to offset obvious triggers of Abortion PTSD:
- Document your trigger dates on a calendar – If you have had more than one abortion, or don’t remember exact dates, don’t worry. Record dates when you felt depression or experienced pain that seemed to have no source.
- Develop distraction strategies – Sitting in a dentist’s office, overhearing the drilling sound, can transport me back to that abortion clinic where I hear the sound of the machine that sucked my child out of my body. Realizing that truth, I now arrive at these appointments with a headset to listen to worship music to offset any triggering noises.
- Participate in positive life-affirming activities – Writing a tax-deductible donation check and/or helping out at a pregnancy center can aid your tender heart. Encouraging those continuing an unexpected pregnancy with thoughtful gifts or lunch or aiding a life affirming effort can also be beneficial.
- Sooth your heart with Scripture – The Bible is filled with redemptive stories of sinners that help us to understand God’s forgiving nature. David’s unexpected pregnancy with Bathsheba, found in 2 Samuel 11-12:25, outlines we are not alone in the taking of an innocent life. David walked with God at that time he had Bathsheba’s husband murdered. God sent Nathan to help show David his sin. After David repented, God gave him another son – Solomon – who would succeed him as King of Israel.
- Control your anger – Becoming irritable upon hearing individuals promote abortion as a “safe and legal” can trigger Abortion PTSD rage quickly. While the abortion outrage can appear like “righteous indignation,” we can certainly sin in our responses. Deep seated anger can result as our abortion wound erupts. Remember to emanate Godly behavior, as outlined in Psalm 86:15, But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
- Writing out your story – Recording the story of your life can help you realize what made you susceptible to an unexpected pregnancy and abortion. That can provide perspective that God can use in the healing process. Begin with the story of your family and include a full account of what led you to lose your virginity in the first place. Then document the dates of deep pain. The Ramah team would be happy to help you with this process.
- Pray to seek God’s help directly – The Creator of the Universe offers the best comfort. Seek Him with an open heart and a sincere, “Help me, God” prayer. Acts 17:27-28 outlines, God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
- Discover Supportive Friends – Ramah International exists to help connect abortion’s wounded heart to their local pregnancy center for direct ministry. If you haven’t completed an abortion recovery program, please prayerfully consider one.
Understand that many emotions can become stronger when they are ignored. Ramah International is a safe and confidential ministry that can help you begin to process this pain and find local support. Please feel free to contact us if we can help in any way. Please share this blog to help others struggling with Abortion PTSD.