Shame can be rooted in negative societal messages you have received. Decision to terminate a pregnancy does not take place in a vacuum, but rather is a result of a set of often quite complex circumstances. Shame is usually related to the feelings of stigma around abortion, which is often an indicator of deep social inequalities. Shame can be there even if you were comfortable with the idea of abortion.

  • Identify Your Emotions

    Sometimes it can be difficult to describe or name your emotional states. Use both your reasoning and your feelings as guides, to help you learn how the decision to have an abortion may be affecting you. Understanding how your emotions can help you achieve self-acceptance, and healing.

    Steps to address Shame:

    1. Identify what triggers your shame.
    2. Usually when women feel shame about abortion, other factors are causing shame, too.
    3. If you are feeling embarrassed and ashamed of yourself, one way to work through that feeling is to challenge your assumptions about what is good and bad. Do you believe there is something bad about sex or being a woman? Are you blaming and judging yourself for actions and choices you would support and understand in a friend? Are you in the habit of judging yourself?
    4. Letting go of the notion that you are bad can be the first step in self-forgiveness and healing .
  • Self-Care Techniques

    Remember to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, after the procedure. Because abortion is complex, feelings about it are also complex. There are various activities that can to help you provide for your emotional wellbeing:

    • Journaling – Writing can be very therapeutic. The following questions are helpful to write about to remind oneself of your decision: What were your reasons for having an abortion? How would your life have been different if you had not had an abortion?
    • Health & Well-being – Do you like to exercise? What are your favourite healthy activities? Is there a hobby you already enjoy, or something new you wish to try? Go out and do those things.
    • Get outside – If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and sad, take a walk outside and get some fresh air.
    • Do something nice for yourself – Light a candle and enjoy a hot bath, re-read a favourite book, re-watch a favourite show or movie or get out for a walk.
    • Rest – Take time to listen to what your body needs. Turn off phones and gadgets and have a warm bath or a nap.
    • Be Creative – Being creative, in any way, can be helpful to release any emotions. Draw something, paint something, sing and dance, cook a favourite meal, or explore a favourite old activity in new way.
  • Meditation 101

    Many things in life are beyond our control. But, we can take responsibility for our own states of mind. Meditation is an evidence-based tool proven to improve quality of life, and our ability to cope with stress. All you need is a quiet place where you can sit comfortably. Here is a short meditation you can access anytime you need.


    To Learn more, visit Moment Meditation at

  • Reach Out to Others

    Having someone provide care and understanding before, during and after an abortion can be one of the most important factors in your ability to cope well.

    If you can’t think of anyone who you might trust to share your story with, you can reach out for free, anonymous support here:

    Exhale After Abortion Talkline 1-866-4-EXHALE (Mon to Fri 5 – 10 pm PST Sat – Sun 12 – 10pm PT) Service available in Spanish, English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese.

    Counselors will support you with pro-voice counselling.

    For more information visit

    All-Options Talkline – or 1-888-493-0092 for unconditional, judgment-free support for all your feelings, decisions and experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion and adoption. Mon-Fri 10am – 1am, Sat – Sun 10am – 6pm EST

  • Access to Counsellors

    Each woman will experience different feelings after an abortion and will deal with it in different ways. Many women don’t feel the need to talk after their abortion. For some women, it’s useful to talk through their grief. If you feel it might help you to talk, you can arrange counselling over the telephone at the clinic where you were treated. This service is free.