Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
My girlfriend had an abortion over a year ago, but still feels guilty about it. She has talked about suicide saying that she doesn't deserve to live after what she's done. I encouraged her to see a counselor, but after several weeks, not much happened, so we stopped going. She cries a lot, and I'm getting tired of her depressed state. I'm ready to leave the relationship as we're always fighting. What more can I do?
Any talk of suicide should be viewed as serious. Your support right now is crucial.
Abortion is a very personal choice and even if it was the right decision for someone, post-abortion sadness, guilt, and depression may occur. It would be very beneficial for both of you to seek guidance from a psychiatrist who will be able to provide therapy and prescribe medication for your girlfriend.
Afterabortion.com offers information and resources for women that have had abortions and states that they are, "non-judgmental, non-religion based, non-politically affiliated online support, information, help and healing."
Some of the ways to help support a woman recovering from post-abortion are (afterabortion.com, 2008):
1. Listen, be available, express concern and caring.
2. Allow her to mark anniversaries associated with the pregnancy and abortion if she wants.
3. Be willing to participate in any healing activities she requests.
4. Be alert for eating disorders or substance abuse.
5. Encourage positive healing things, like counseling, getting rest, eating well.
6. Notify a doctor if you notice signs or hints of suicide in words or actions.
7. Send a personal note or flowers.
8. Allow her the respect to grieve, be sad, express anger or regrets.
9. Respect her privacy, and to not tell anyone about the abortion unless she says it's okay first.
10. Get literature about depression and the grief process to help you understand.
For a complete list of Do's and Don'ts, go to http://www.afterabortion.com/do_dont.html