Dear Dr. Archer,
Last year my father forced me to get an abortion. I had horrible dreams after the procedure about saving babies, and sometimes I just couldn't get to them in time. I had dreams of me holding a baby, screaming and crying.
My father told me I didn't need to talk to anyone, but I can't take this anymore. I'm also envious and angry towards other girls who are pregnant. I want a baby so badly now!
I've been trying to remain strong for so long. I battled and finally overcame bulimia after five years. My dad said it was more important that I work, rather than seek help for my eating disorder.
Dad has recently run out on our family, and I'm the only child left in the house. I'm 19 and have been taking care of mom. I have a job and have been supporting the two of us the best I can.
I guess you can say my life is a little stressful. I need your help coping with these feelings I'm having. Please?
You have been through much more than the average 19 year old and you absolutely DO need to talk to someone. That you overcame bulimia, a potentially deadly eating disorder, is a feat in and of itself.
Actually, Shelby, that you are alive and taking care of your mom speaks volumes as to your strength, character and dedication. You are a survivor, but even survivors need help, at least every now and then.
Every state requires counseling before an abortion, and most require a 24 hour period between the counseling and the actual procedure. Most provide printed material which informs the woman of not only the procedure, but also the risks, fetal development, psychological aspects, as well as the health risks of continuing the pregnancy.
I don't know if you were given these things, but you were coerced into ending your pregnancy by your father. Those at high risk for post abortion trauma are woman who were pressured into the procedure, either because the child was not wanted by another or because of financial circumstances.
Your feelings of wanting a baby do not surprise me. Thirty percent of women who suffer post-abortion trauma develop a very strong desire to become pregnant again. Please do not give into these feelings, because you're not in the position to assume that kind of responsibility.
You do need to talk to a professional, Shelby. Post-abortion counseling can help you with depression, self esteem, self destructive behavior, anxiety, guilt and remorse, and more. You owe it to yourself to put this behind you.
Check out Hope After Abortion, an online help center for women suffering just like you are. Go to AfterAbortion.org for helpful information and resources and contact your local health center for more information.
It's time to forgive yourself, Shelby. You have suffered long enough. Find someone to talk to, and from this point on, make decisions that will have a positive effect for you and any future children you might have.
When the time comes, please practice safe sex and be a responsible adult. After you're married, then you can welcome any and all children into a loving world. I wish you nothing but the best from this moment on.