Healing after Abortion
Abortions can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually traumatic. Besides the physical stress that the body undergoes, a flood of feelings and emotions can show up both before and after an abortion and last for months, if not years. In healing, it’s important to support yourself not just physically but mentally and spiritually, and to allow space for difficult emotions. The path to recovery requires a compassionate, gentle, and holistic approach to healing that incorporates all aspects of your well-being.
Make space for healing
For many, the decision to abort may have been a difficult one and it may leave feelings of loss, sadness, and guilt. Make space for these feelings. Forgive yourself and allow yourself to experience whatever emotions you’re feeling. Only by accepting and embracing your emotional experience can you work through your feelings and take steps to move forward. Trust that you made the right intuitive decision, and that there is peace and gratitude on the other side of your pain.
In making space, think of how you can best nourish your soul. Create a space where you can be yourself - where you can release your feelings and practice self-healing and self-love. You may find this peaceful space to be vulnerable in meditation, self-care rituals, or quiet time alone. You may also want support through this time; it’s ok to ask for help. Seek out support or counseling from a therapist, nutritionist, or spiritual advisor.
Meditation is a powerful tool to ease the mind and train it to release any negative or unuseful thoughts. Deep breathing is also beneficial, as it can help to reduce anxiety and release any tension in the body. Focusing on the present moment allows you to clearly hear, identify, and then release your emotions as you’re ready. Be compassionate with yourself and accept where you’re at and how you’re feeling. Treat yourself with love and understanding. Send your body love in each moment.
Try energetic healing and bodywork
Energy healers are holistic practitioners of various disciplines who can help remove energetic blocks in the body to encourage healing. This may not be something you are ready for right away, but in the months to come, practices like Reiki, acupuncture, and reflexology are great ways to rebalance and rebuild the body.
Massage is another effective tool to relax the mind and body. It allows for the release of deep tension and stimulates lymphatic flow. A massage from a practioner is amazing, but one given by a friend or lover can be deeply relaxing too. Self-massage, termed Abhyanga in Ayurveda and practiced with warm oil, is another nourishing and invigorating practice that will help you soothe and reconnect with yourself. This also calms the nerves and encourages lymphatic movement, which helps with detoxification.
Other effective bodywork forms to try include yoga, breathwork, and somatic experiencing.
Drinking enough fluids is crucial to ensuring proper body functions. Due to the physical and mental shock of abortion, the body has an increased need of regular water intake. This will also help to flush the body of any medications or chemicals used during the process. Include plenty of filtered water throughout the day as well as nourishing herbal teas and infusions, soups, stews, and broths.
Eat a plant-based diet
As the body goes through mental and physical changes, it’s more important than ever to support it with nourishing and energizing foods. Eat a balanced diet full of colorful plant foods, organic meats or protein, quality fats, and fiber to keep your energy levels up and your nutrient levels high.
Iron-rich foods are particularly important because of the increased blood loss that occurs during surgery. Iron-rich foods to include in the diet are spinach and other leafy greens, chicken, eggs, red meat, bison, liver, wild-caught salmon, oysters, pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, beans, asparagus, and oatmeal. Sipping Nettle tea daily will help to rebuild iron levels as well. It’s also important to get plenty of fiber and healthy fats (avocados, olive oil) to aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Nourish yourself with warm, comforting foods, such as soups and stews as well as childhood favorites, remade with fresh and organic ingredients. Bone broths are very healing in times of stress, such as post-surgery. Bone broth contains tons of minerals as well as collagen and gelatin, which help the body repair damaged tissues, and glycine and glutamine, both of which help digestion and heal the gut. Homemade bone broth is medicinal and incredibly nourishing. Try drinking a cup a day in the morning or in the afternoon with some added ginger or turmeric root.
For now, avoid stimulants that can deplete iron levels by interfering with absorption: caffeine, sodas, and chocolate.
Support your gut health and immune system by taking a daily probiotic supplement, and by including natural probiotic foods in your diet such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha. Raw apple cider vinegar is beneficial: try a tablespoon added to a glass of water. Although acidic, the ACV has an alkalizing effect on your body and is rich in probiotics and digestive enzymes. This will give your body overall support and help you to heal.
There are numerous herbs that can help the body cope with stressors and support the adrenal glands.
Nettle: To remineralize and rebuild the body and reduce bleeding.
Drink Daily Infusions. Simply add 4-5 tbsp to a quart mason jar - cover with cold water & steep for 8 hours. Then strain & drink.
Raspberry Leaf: Uterine tonic that helps to relax and tone the uterus. It can help reduce pain and heavy bleeding.
Drink Daily in tea or infusion form. Simply add 4-5 tbsp to a quart mason jar - cover with boiling water & steep for 8 hours. Then strain & drink.
Ashwagandha: An adaptogenic herb that helps the body to manage stress and reduces anxiety.
Best in tincture form - take 3 x per day
Holy Basil: Overall protective and adaptogenic herb that boosts and rebuilds immunity.
Drink as a tea daily.
Oatstraw: Rich in minerals and trace nutrients. Calming to the nervous system.
Drink as an infusion as desired. Drink Daily in tea or infusion form. Simply add 4-5 tbsp to a quart mason jar - cover with boiling water & steep for 8 hours. Then strain & drink.
Use stress management tools
As abortion puts the body under a great deal of physical and emotional stress, it’s important to manage this stress and support the body in every way possible. Some great techniques include walking, spending time with loved ones, and deep breathing.
Don’t suffer alone - ask for emotional support or reach out to a counselor for help.
Rest, take it easy, and be gentle with yourself - both physically and mentally. Allow yourself space to feel, to heal, and to come back into a sense of comfort and self-trust in your being. Take as much time as you need. Healing is your own intimate process.
It’s best to avoid exercise post-procedure, especially high-intensity workouts. Take easy walks outside to soothe your nervous system and get lymphatic fluid moving. Avoid swimming pools and baths for at least 2 weeks after the procedure.
A holistic approach to healing is the surest way to full healing and recovery - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.