How to help a friend through an abortion
WHEN MY FRIEND told me she was getting an abortion I felt it my duty to be as open and available as possible. I mean, this person just trusted me with one of the heaviest things someone can deal with; I had to make sure she didn’t regret it. Here’s what I learned:
Think before you speak
Don’t assume anything about her choice. Just listen to what she has to say and keep any and all judgments to yourself.
Don’t minimize the experience; even if your friend has already made the decision to have an abortion, it wasn’t an easy one to make and she is probably apprehensive about it.
Put together a care package
- A teddy bear for comfort
- A crossword book for distraction
- Some of the person’s favourite foods
Give her some space
When she is at or leaving the clinic, don’t bombard her with texts.
Don’t check in at her place or at the clinic without asking if she’s okay with it.
Make sure she knows you’re there for when she needs you and then back away until she approaches you.
After your friend has recovered physically there will be days when everything is emotionally difficult for her. There are a lot of post-abortion stressors in daily life and knowing what these are and how to deal with them is important. Women’s health clinics can give you very helpful literature and advice.
In my situation the biggest post-procedure support I could give was to let my friend lead. She wanted to get back to business as usual and so we did.
Every now and again we talk about what she went through, how she felt about it then, and how she feels about it now. It’s always somewhat sad, but the things she’s done since, and plans on doing in the future, reassure her that she made the right choice.