Abortion Anguish

8 Aug

Dear LetterBalm: I’m 17 years old, and several months ago I had an abortion. It’s been a horrible time for me. It would have been impossible for me to raise the baby alone because I don’t get along with my family. (I’m pretty much the family outcast.) I paid for the abortion from part of the money I’ve saved from a job after school. My boyfriend said he’d support my decision not to have the baby, but he broke up with me soon after. I feel so alone and want to talk with somebody, but I’m afraid to tell any of my friends because I don’t want this to end up on Facebook. I’ve confided in my aunt sometimes – she’s been pretty supportive in the past. But what can I say to her so she won’t freak out or judge me?

–By Myself and In Pain

You are, indeed, alone and aching, and you must take steps to help yourself. Abortion affects everyone differently and can cause deep feelings of sadness. Keep remembering that you did what was best for you at the time. Ms. L.B. says you need to talk with your aunt, not only to confide in her and seek her support but also to enlist her help in finding a good therapist for you. It sounds like you’re grappling with grief, low self-esteem and profound loneliness:

Aunt Bess, you have always been there when I’ve wanted to talk. And, this time it’s pretty serious. I can’t tell anybody in the family or any of my friends, so this has to be just between us. Please don’t judge me. I had an abortion a few months ago. My old boyfriend Ron was the father of the baby, but he didn’t help me and broke up with me. I think I need to talk about all this with a therapist because I’m having a hard time. I’m feeling very alone and sad, and you know I can’t go to my parents. Can you help me work out a plan, maybe help me contact Planned Parenthood or some agency that has counseling I can afford? I really need your help, and you’re the only person I can talk to.

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