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Abortion and Mental Health

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I. Abortion Compared to Keeping the Baby

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Abortion as a form of expressing oneself and what is inside.

The process of procuring an abortion is a mentally challenging and draining process. The mental effects before and after are usually farther reaching than it appears. For women planning to procure an abortion or those who have done it already, there is usually a constant nagging feeling that keeps them aloof. Even then, in certain circumstances, the need for procuring an abortion and indeed the reasons are genuine. Such cases involve various circumstances in which the woman got pregnant and whether it was intentional or not. In addition, the woman’s economic status may dictate whether she should keep the baby or not. For women who are financially unstable and are dependent on parents, guardians or some other party, their situation may drive them into procuring an abortion. This is a way of proclaiming to the world that she is not capable of adequately taking care of herself, and it would be unfair to bring a baby into a murky and wretched life. In addition, by procuring an abortion, the woman also spells out her extent of mental preparation. Raising a baby is not only a walk in the park, as everyone must have heard. She, therefore, expresses to the world that she is not mentally prepared to bring a baby into the world and raise it. Procuring an abortion enables the woman to prevent the challenges that would come with catering for the baby.

Are there visible negative obstacles to the child once he/ she are born?

Research has demonstrated that procuring abortions continuously may subsequently affect the baby when the woman finally decides to keep the pregnancy to term. It has been shown that women who procure abortions are at a greater risk of giving birth to low birth weight babies. The normal weight for a newborn is about 3.5 kilograms (or 5.5 pounds). According to research, women who procure abortions are predisposed to having babies who are below the standard normal weight at birth. In addition, procuring an abortion could easily lead to premature birth. Babies born prematurely may come with a number of birth related problems. They may be predisposed to certain ailments at a tender age. In addition, babies born prematurely are likely to suffer from cerebral palsy.

II. IDENTIFYING WHAT IS BEST FOR THE MOTHER IN QUESTION

Is she in a stable state to take care of herself and the baby?

How was the baby conceived?

Abortion is a sensitive issue that requires a clear mind, sound approach and mental support to the woman intending to procure one. More often than not, society frowns upon women who procure abortions without giving them a listening ear. Indeed, if people take time to delve into the pros and cons and the reasons why a woman has decided to procure an abortion, they would most likely look at the situation from a different point of view. At the time of procuring an abortion, not just the mother’s interests should be taken into account but also the baby’s. One of the most important aspects to pay attention to is the stability of a woman. Stability in this context not only refers to the financial aspect but also the mental aspect. If the woman is not financially stable enough to raise the baby and has no other alternative source of getting aid, it is only logical that she saves the baby a lot of huddles and obstacles when it comes to the world. The woman should also be mentally sound. If she is retarded or has some other mental challenge, chances are high that she cannot take good care of herself, let alone a second party. The circumstances under which the baby was conceived also largely determine the decision on whether or not to procure an abortion. If the woman considers the circumstances under which she got pregnant are not worthy of keeping the pregnancy to term, she may opt for an abortion. For instance, if she conceived after being raped, she may decide to go for abortion rather than bring the baby into a world of shame and disgrace.

The whereabouts of the father and the mental, physical financial background and state.

It is only appropriate for a baby to be raised in the auspicious environment that includes the presence of both the mother and the father. In addition, the parents need to be stable, in terms of psychological preparedness and financial situation. If the father is not in the equation, the burden of taking care of the baby all alone may prove too demanding and overwhelming for the woman. The presence of the father provides the much-needed support in the face of difficulties. The support comes not only in monetary terms but also psychologically. Being present and sharing with the woman, the father does a lot to keep her mind at ease and to set up a favorable atmosphere. Even then, for the baby to get the basic and essential needs, the parents need to be financially capable. If the father is present and is supportive financially, the whole experience of raising a baby becomes smoother and easier. If the opposite is true, raising the baby could come with challenges especially as regards buying the baby the much-needed essential requirements.

Does the mother have a strong support system?

1 Considering the immediate family’s reaction

Raising a baby is a communal affair. The whole society contributes to how a baby is raised and its experiences in the journey of life, both directly and indirectly. Thus, the contribution of all and sundry takes effect in the development of the baby. One of the most important contributors to this course is the woman’s immediate family. When the news of the pregnancy is taken well by the woman’s close family, she will feel supported and a great deal of burden and pressure will be taken off her shoulder. However, if all she gets is rebuke and reprimand, she is likely to have a tougher time carrying the pregnancy to term and subsequently raising the baby. For this reason, the woman may decide to terminate the pregnancy altogether to avoid conflict and discomfort.

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2 Church Members’ standing

If the woman is a member of a group such as the church, the impact of the people around her may influence how she carries the pregnancy and whether she procures an abortion or not. Usually, most churches are associated with zero tolerance to abortion and pre-marital pregnancy. The congregation, on the other hand, may be supportive towards the woman. If she gets support, the woman may opt not to procure an abortion and carry the pregnancy to term. However, if the reaction of the church towards the pregnancy is hostile, the woman may most likely procure an abortion to avert being bundled out of the congregation or even to avoid being judged.

3 Community members’ perception

Just like the church and the family, the community members have a bearing on whether a woman carries a pregnancy to term or decides to procure an abortion. Women who hail from communities that look down upon abortion and pre-marital pregnancy are predisposed to procuring abortions to avoid being branded black sheep and outcasts. If they decide to keep the baby, the journey of raising the baby may not be as easy as it would have been with the support of the community.

4 Partner’s involvement: Is he around?

A woman would have an easier time bringing a new soul into the world if her partner is supportive of the issue. There are situations where the partner walks away on realizing that the woman is pregnant. In such cases, the woman may be left devastated and may decide to abort the baby. This highlights the importance of being supportive towards a pregnant woman.

III. GATHERING FACTS ON ABORTION

1 How does one get an abortion?

Before committing to procure an abortion, one has to get the raw facts as regards the aftermath and the consequences of the process. Abortion can be induced by the use of pills or medically done in the hospital through suction or physically dislodging the implanted embryo. Abortion can also result after a blow or injury to the woman, especially in the abdominal region.

2 Are there risks during and after abortion?

Abortion may be accompanied with risks to both the mother and the baby or subsequent pregnancies. It may cause excessive bleeding leading to complications that come with bleeding. After procuring an abortion, the woman may experience side effects such as nausea, abdominal pains and headache. In some instances, there have been reports of women who died after procuring an abortion due to excessive bleeding.

3 Will I be able to live with myself once I go ahead with the abortion process?

This is a common question asked by women who plan to procure an abortion. Due to the sensitivity and controversy, that accompanies the process; women often get into a long inner debate to determine the mental effects that procuring an abortion would result to.  This is only natural bearing in mind the seriousness that the society accords this topic.

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4 Is abortion even legal in my country or residence?

In many countries, abortion is prohibited. In others, it is allowed but under specific circumstances. The woman, therefore, has to know the stipulations of the law as regards abortion, lest she finds herself on the wrong side of the law.

IV. MAKING A FINAL DECISION

1 Am I making this decision in the right state of mind?

After collecting all the facts, the ultimate step would be to make a final decision. This involves asking a few more questions. When deciding, the woman needs to be sober and conscious in order to be able to weigh the pros and cons of undertaking the process. The woman has to be sure that the decision she has made is the best for her and the baby.

2 What happens inside of me during aborting; does it affect chances of                                                            conceiving later on?

The woman has to be aware of the whole process that occurs during abortion, the expected side effects and whether the procedure would still allow room for another conception. All these questions help in shaping the woman’s choice of what step to take.

3 What happens to the fetal tissue after abortion?

The answer to this question has to be made clear to the woman. Usually, the fetal tissue is released as blood especially if the abortion is procured in the first trimester. However, if it is the second or third trimester, a means of getting the tissue out of the uterus such as suction or surgery is necessary.

4 Does abortion change me?

The process of abortion definitely comes with changes to the woman’s body. However, the big question is, does the process change the woman’s personality and other aspects of her life? The answer to this question either may give the woman peace of mind or will forever haunt her in her subsequent pregnancies.

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