A woman’s choice to have an abortion forces a couple to reevaluate their relationship and ask themselves some difficult questions. Do we both feel the same about each other? Is this relationship serious? Where is this relationship going? Keeping the lines of com­munication open during this time is very important. Some studies claim that abortion causes couples to break up, but there is also evidence that if couples can communicate about their thoughts, feelings, and fears while facing an unplanned pregnancy, an abor­tion may actually bring them closer. The male partner’s involvement makes the abortion experience less traumatic for the woman; in fact, women whose partners support them and help them through the abortion show more positive responses after abortion (Adler et al., 1990; Moseley et al., 1981). Women who have no support from their partners or who make the decision themselves often experience greater emotional distress. In some cases, women have been found to conceal abortion decisions from their partners, and rates of domestic violence have been found to be high in this group (Woo, Fine, & Goetzl, 2005).

Some people believe that abortion is a difficult decision only for the woman because she is the one who carries the pregnancy. However, men also have a difficult time with the decision to abort, and they often experience sadness, a sense of loss, and fear for their

Personal Voices

 

Searching for Comfort

 

Men’s ReactionsMen’s Reactions

Men’s ReactionsMen’s Reactions

his poem was written by a male college stu­dent whose girlfriend was undergoing an abortion procedure. His pain and suffering is something that professionals often do not help men with.

Here the poor boy lies in wait, Knowledge uncertain, only fear, Demons torment through the silence, Pain his beloved shall endure. Searching for comfort in a sea of fire,

Finding only shame and sorrow.

Darkness captures another soul,

Leaving hatred in its wake.

Relief found only in departure,

Quickly subsiding to misconceptions, Desire to prolong this union,

We have left only ourselves to heal.

Source: Author’s files.

partner’s well-being. Many men feel isolated and angry at both themselves and their partners. What makes it even more difficult for most men is that they often do not dis­cuss the pregnancy with anyone other than their partner. Their own feelings are buried under the desire to help their partner get through it. Oftentimes they will become very rational, intellectual, and claim “the best thing to do is. . .” These are emotional de­fenses used to cover their underlying anxiety.

The frequent lack of counseling services for men at abortion facilities is further ev­idence to the men that they should be able to deal with their feelings on their own. Attending counseling, either with their partners or alone, can be very helpful for these men. The accompanying Personal Voices, “Searching for Comfort,” includes a poem that was given to one of the authors by a male student whose girlfriend was undergoing an abortion, written while he was in the waiting room.

Question: My friend had an abortion 2 months ago, but she still seems very depressed. How long does this last?

It is hard to say how long the psychological reactions to abortion will last; it depends on the person. Some women feel sad for a few days, whereas others may feel sad for much longer. It would be helpful for your friend to talk things over with either a school coun­selor or healthcare provider.