Celebrating Holidays in the Midst of Grief and Loss
As the holiday season approaches, families around the country are looking forward to gathering and celebrating. For many, holidays are filled with joy and peace while for others, it is a time of grieving or sorrow. Women who have abortion in their past may have a difficult time navigating their feelings during the holiday season, especially if they are celebrating with other family members and children.
Symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome can arise or worsen during the holiday season
The feelings of loss may not always arise immediately following the abortion and may arise years later. Regarding how the holidays affected her after having an abortion, Victoria said,
“The first few years, it actually didn’t affect me at all during the holidays because I buried the pain and made the conscious decision to never think about it. It wasn’t until years later when I came to the realization of what I’d done that the holidays became more painful.”
Often, women who have abortion as part of their story may find themselves struggling many years later; sometimes, for example, while hanging stockings and realizing that a stocking is missing. Even for women who try to remain positive during the holiday season, sorrow can seep in in the midst of joy.
Post abortion syndrome (PAS) can present as feelings of grief, guilt, and shame surrounding the holiday season. Holidays can hold many reminders of their loss for the women who struggle with PAS, especially as they gather with friends and family who have children of their own.
It is important for post-abortive women and men to know how to take care of themselves and navigate the holiday season in a healthy way.
For most people, the holidays are already hectic and exhausting as it is. For those struggling with loss and symptoms of PAS, it is important not to over-extend yourself as you go through the season. For some women, taking a break from holiday activities might be the best way to recharge and not feel overwhelmed. Taking a break during the holidays, or skipping holidays, isn’t something that other women feel they can do. For Victoria, that wasn’t an option:
“It wouldn’t have been fair to [my daughters] if I ruined their Christmas by cancelling the festivities or traditions. Abortion was the ultimate, most selfish act and decision I’d ever made. I couldn’t bear to make another selfish decision by taking the holidays away from the children I still had.”
The most important thing is to know and hold to your limits. Taking a break might be what some need while diving into holidays is what helps others. Whether you are able to find joy and dive into the holiday season or you find the holidays to be a time of loss and grief, finding post-abortion resources can help in the process of healing.
This holiday season, if you or someone you know is struggling with the heartbreak of abortion, help and hope can be found.
Save the Storks partners with over 60 pregnancy centers nationwide with nearly 60 mobile medical units operating around the country. In 2019, affiliate pregnancy centers reported over 2,100 positive pregnancy tests and over 1,800 choices for life aboard their mobile medical units.
To help find counseling resources near you, visit https://www.aacc.net/
To read stories of women who have found healing after an abortion, click here.
For crisis pregnancy resources near you, click here.