Mood Changes and Depression
Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain.
- Kahlil Gibran
Mood changes related to hormones
After an abortion a woman may experience mood changes. This is not necessarily depression, but the changing hormones in a woman's body as it adjusts to not being pregnant any more.
Between 4 and 6 days after an abortion, a woman may experience feelings more intensely and can feel overwhelmed with emotion. For most women this feeling will only last a few hours to a few days.
A woman might feel:¬ ¬ very happy, then feel very sad lonely and cry easily ~ ¬ anger and irritable ~ have trouble sleeping.
These emotions can be very confusing, especially if a woman was very certain prior to the procedure. Remember that these emotions are normal and probably due to the changing hormones.
For more information about how to deal with these mood changes, see Coping After an Abortion and¬ Healthy ways of coping with abortion.
How is depression different?
Depression is similar to the mood changes described above, but more intense and long lasting. If you have very strong feelings, or the feelings last more than 2 weeks, you may be experiencing depression. Depression is considered an illness by some and can be treated with medication and therapy.
If you have depression you might: ~ lose interest in things you used to enjoy ~ feel very tired ~ have appetite or sleep changes ~ have problems concentrating or making decisions ~ feel worthless or guilty ~ feel like hurting yourself or others.
Depression does not go away by itself. It can keep you from taking care of yourself and others. Call your health professional if you think you might have depression. You can also call the clinic to get a referral to a health care professional or a counselor (780 484 1124).
Depression and Abortion
Those opposed to abortion claim there is a condition called post abortion stress syndrome (PASS) which they say is similar to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). PASS is not a real psychological condition and is not recognized by any psychological collages in North America. For more information about this see the website of the National Abortion Federation.
Having said this, some women may become depressed after abortion. Depression after abortion is usually caused by the many circumstances that surround abortion and not generally due to the abortion alone. These circumstances can include: a woman that feels she was forced/coerced into having an abortion by her partner or parents and has not made the choice on her own ~ a woman that considers herself anti-choice and sees abortion as a sin or even murder and goes against her core values ~ many other stressors in a woman's life (ex: addiction, homelessness, family violence, sexual assault, or pre-existing depression/psychological conditions).
If you feel that you are experiencing depression please call the clinic to talk with a counselor (780 484 1124) and review the other coping information provided on our website.