Post-Abortion Distress in Men

The decision to have an abortion does not affect women only.  Although post-abortion distress in men isn’t talked about because abortion is seen as a “woman’s choice,” men can also be wounded. Men play an important role in the decision to abort. An abortion can be a life-changing experience for a man.

There are various roles a man may fill in the abortion decision:

  • Some men willingly participate by agreeing, transporting and/or paying for it.
  • Others coerce by pressuring, by being verbally abusive, or even by violence.
  • Men can avoid the decision by literally abandoning the woman.
  • He may passively leave the choice to her without offering her support of any kind.
  • Some men strongly yet unsuccessfully try to stop the abortion, their opposition ignored.
  • Other men are unaware until afterward about the pregnancy and/or abortion.
  • No doubt, some never know about either one.
  • Fathers, male friends, brothers, uncles, and grandfathers may have some degree of involvement.
  • A man may be married to a woman with an abortion secret causing them relationship difficulties. He may or may not know of the past abortion.

Post-abortion distress is the damaging emotional/psychological symptoms and destructive behavior changes associated with a past abortion.

The following is a list of the most common emotional/psychological symptoms and behavioral changes in men after an abortion. A man may experience one or more of these symptoms. The symptoms may surface immediately following the abortion or months, even years, later. Some men have spent decades living with symptoms of post-abortion distress. Men who are experiencing post-abortion distress need healing and support.

Emotional/Psychological Symptoms 

  • Anger/rage
  • Anxiety
  • Feels like and fears failure
  • Confusion
  • Selfish
  • Low self-esteem
  • Helplessness
  • Worrying
  • Feels he deserves punishment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Panic attacks
  • Feels irresponsible
  • Self-condemnation
  • Shame
  • Depression
  • Excessive guilt
  • Role confusion/emasculation
  • Grieves lost fatherhood
  • Powerlessness
  • Feels need for restitution
  • Self-loathing
  • Denial
  • Lack of resolve
  • Suicidal thoughts

Behavioral Changes

  • Frequent job changes
  • Lack of trust
  • Impotency
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Moody
  • Homosexual relationship
  • Risk taking
  • Attention deficit
  • Isolation/avoidance
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Displaced male aggression
  • Withdrawn
  • Overly nurturing father
  • Lifestyle of covering up
  • Damaged marriage/relationships
  • Pornography
  • Addictions
  • Workaholic
  • Problems with commitment
  • Serial sexual relationships
  • Changed view of God
  • Image management
  • Violence
  • Blaming/shifts responsibility
  • Involved in pro-life cause

Piedmont Women’s Center offers a post-abortion support group for men. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you are not alone. Many men who have participated in an abortion experience some level of post-abortion distress in their lifetime.

We can help. Please give us a call at 864-244-1434 or email us at ara4men@gmail.com . It is safe, confidential, and supportive.

My girlfriend’s pregnant. Now what?

My girlfriend’s pregnant. Now what?
Hearing the news that you’ve created your first child is bound to result in some powerful emotions. Some of them usually include:
1. Shock
2. Disbelief
3. Denial
4. Fear
5. Anger
6. My future is ruined
7. I’m too young
8. I just want to escape
If you think your emotions are crazy—just stop and think about what your girlfriend is feeling—probably the same very emotions.
Before either of you panics, gets angry, or lays the blame, just remember that it took both of you to create this pregnancy and it will take both of you being informed and thinking clearly to make a plan for what happens next.
Here are some things you should do:
1. Stay calm
2. Start to talk about and research all of your options together
3. Support your girlfriend emotionally
4. Pull together; don’t pull apart
5. Let her know you’ll work this out together
Here are some things you don’t want to do:
1. Get angry
2. Shout at your girlfriend
3. Say things like, “It’s not mine!”, “You’ve ruined my life”, “My parents will kill me!” “You’ll have to get an abortion!”, “It’s your decision, not mine!”
4. Pressure her to have an abortion.
Common fears about telling your parents:
1. They’ll be furious
2. They may kill me
3. I’ve got to finish school
4. They have such high hopes for me
5. They’ll be so disappointed
A gameplan for telling your parents
Before telling your parents, think for yourselves. Get the facts and have a plan. Your parents will likely have similar emotions you did when they first hear. It will be less traumatic for them and for you if you get your act together and present a united rational picture with your girlfriend.
We can help you prepare the facts and have a plan when it is time to tell your parents. Our confidential workers have given advice for years to couples that have found themselves in similar situations. We can help you stay calm, and support you through this emotional time in your life.

Parenting as an Alternative to Abortion

Becoming a parent is exciting and scary.

Parenting is a big responsibility, but it is one that comes with a lot of joy and satisfaction.

This pregnancy may not be planned, but that does not mean parenting isn’t the best option for you and your child.

A child needs love and stability, not perfection. Life may not be perfect right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be the “perfect” parent for your child.

We are here to help you sort through your concerns, fears, and hopes.

There are several parenting options for you to consider.

Marriage and parenting. You are ready to make a commitment to both your partner and the child, and choose to marry and raise the child together.
Things to consider: Have you been together for a while? Have you considered getting married? Do you have a good relationship? Are you committed to each other?

Joint parenting. Although not ready to make a marriage commitment, you and your partner choose to share responsibilities for raising the child in a joint custody arrangement.
Things to consider: Are you both committed to the child’s needs and best interests above your own? Are you able to work through scheduling, financial, commuting, and communication challenges?

Custodial parenting with visitation. One partner is fully committed to raising the child. The other partner is less than fully committed.
Things to consider: Is the custodial parent able to take on nearly all of the responsibilities for the child? Is the visiting parent able to provide financial child support and invest some time in the child? Do both parents have an additional support system of family and friends? Are you able to work through scheduling, financial, commuting, and communication challenges?

Custodial parenting. One partner is fully committed to raising the child. The other partner is either unable to participate in parenting, does not want to be a part of the child’s life, or has exited the relationship.
Things to consider: As custodial parent, do you understand that responsibility for the child will fall completely on you? Do you have an additional support system of family and friends? Are you prepared to have to petition for child support?

Things to think about when considering parenting
• Am I ready to accept responsibility for my baby’s needs?
• Will the other birth parent be supportive?
• Do I have family support?
• Am I too young? Am I too old?
• How will I support myself and my child? Do I have a job? Will I be able to finish school?
• Where will we live?
• Do I have access to affordable medical care?
• What kind of life can I offer my child?
• Do I have any physical, mental, or emotional health issues that could impact my parenting?
• Do I struggle with substance abuse?
• Am I in a safe situation?

As you consider the above questions, you may feel overwhelmed with options and which is the right way for you to proceed. We are here to help.

Parenting can be very rewarding, and our team is here to help you decide if this is the best path forward. We are confidential, and have years of experience helping those who have found themselves in the same situation that you are now in.

Abortion Safety Checklist

Before you visit a Greenville abortion clinic or provider, we strongly encourage you to ask yourself these important health and safety questions:

  1. Have you confirmed your pregnancy? It’s important to be sure that you are pregnant; it is possible to receive a false indication of pregnancy. We are happy to provide a free pregnancy test at any of our clinics.
  2. Do you understand the risks involved in an abortion procedure? Abortion is a medical procedure and does involve the risk of physical harm. You have the legal right to be informed of the type of procedure you will receive, as well as any potential complications. Ask as many questions as you need, to make sure you understand all that is involved, physically and emotionally. (Please see our Side Effects of an Abortion blog for further info)
  3. Did you investigate the qualifications of your potential abortion provider? Find out the name of the doctor who will perform your abortion procedure, and confirm that he or she is a licensed physician and a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist. Call and ask if the doctor has appropriate privileges to admit you to a hospital in the event that there is an emergency. Also, many states maintain public records about past medical malpractice judgments and settlements. Call your state medical licensing board or look at your state licensing board website (i.e. www.llronline.com for SC) to see if the doctor has been involved in any medical malpractice suits and where they have admitting privileges. Our team of experienced ladies are happy to assist you in this area to make sure you get the most qualified treatment.
  4. How are complications handled? Abortion providers may not provide any follow-up or emergency care, should complications arise. Our team may be able to help determine if your abortion doctor has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby should you require emergency care.
  5. Do you understand that it’s OK to change your mind? Abortion is your choice—meaning you can change your mind at any time. It’s OK to say, “I need more time to consider my decision,” if you are in the waiting room or even on the table prepped for your procedure. Don’t feel pressured to proceed just because you feel like you have to. It’s your body; you have the right to listen to your instincts.
  6. Do you understand that there are alternatives to abortion available? Parenting may sound overwhelming at first, but many women who have found themselves in your shoes have done it. Adoption is another alternative. We can help provide a network and support system whatever alternative you choose.

Men Start Recovery

The Healing a Father’s Heart Bible study is based on the premise that a genuine, permanent healing of post-abortion pain can only come when a man has come to grips with a more primary issue: his reconciliation to God.

One-on-one or in small, confidential groups men share their role in abortion experiences and explore Bible passages that show what God is really like and how He demonstrates compassion to men with abortion in their past. They also learn to apply Bible truths to symptoms such as emotional numbness, anger, depression, and grief.

If you are interested in speaking with someone about abortion recovery for men and the Healing a Father’s Heart Bible study, please call us at 864-244-1434 or email ara4men@gmail.com. It is safe, confidential, and supportive.

“Wonderful program. The study material is better than I would have ever imaged possible. Thank God for my facilitators!”

“I didn’t think I needed healing, but I did. God touched a part of me I didn’t realize was still broken and walled off. I’m changed.”