Emotions surrounding abortion vary greatly. Regret, relief, sadness, confusion, anger, hurt - even happiness. The list could go on and on, but the most important thing to remember is that every single one is valid. Maybe you feel one at a time. Maybe you feel relief first, and regret fifteen years later. Maybe you find peace after five years of sadness. Maybe you feel everything at once.
So what do you do? On one side, people are adamant about most people feeling relief. On the other, they drill regret and depression. Take a moment and forget the sides. Knock down that damn barrier that keeps you from fully wrapping your mind around your feelings. Forget the debates (no matter how polite they are), forget the fake sympathy that sounds so sticky sweet from those who pretend to care, and forget the cruel words that attack your personal decision. Focus on you and your needs.
Perhaps your needs include a nice cup of Irish breakfast tea (Mint? Earl Grey? Green?) and a hot bath. Or maybe you need a good book and a snuggle with your puppy. Maybe a good Lifetime movie and a long cry will help everything.
Or maybe your needs include a talk with your best friend. Your mother. Your sweet old horse that taught you to always get back in the saddle. Or even yourself - that long blog post lifted such a heavy weight from your shoulders!
But maybe you need more help. Maybe you need to speak with someone who doesn’t know you. Maybe you need spiritual healing. Maybe you just want to talk to someone - anyone - who will listen and leave their personal feelings behind.
So where do you go? And how do you know if a place is safe - how do you know they won’t judge you?
After some personal research, I’ve compiled a list of safe places and unsafe places. This list comes from looking at the websites and their wording and follower recommendations.
What is Safe:
- Exhale - (1-866-4-394253) - Available in multiple languages (English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese). Talkline is open Monday-Friday 5:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time, and Saturday-Sunday 12-10 PM Pacific Time. If you live outside the United States, you can call (510-446-7977)
- Connect and Breathe - (1-866-647-1764) - Listening Line is open Tuesdays 6pm-9pm EST, Thursdays 6pm-9pm EST, and Saturdays 10am-2pm EST
- Faith Aloud - (1-888-717-5010) - This is a nonjudgmental religious (Roman Catholic, Jewish, Unitarian-Universalist, Protestant Christian, and Buddhist) hotline. You will have to call ahead to set up an appointment. Tell the person who answers that you would like to set up an appointment with a counselor. They will take a little bit of information and then select a counselor who would be a good fit for you. They will have the counselor call you at the time of your choice. If you receive the voicemail when you call, just leave a first name and number and say that you want to speak with a counselor.
- Backline - (888.493.0092) - Offers pre- and post-decision counseling and resources.
What is Not Safe:
- Project Rachel - Many Project Rachel centers have websites, and almost all of them shame those who have had an abortion on the first page. (The one in Atlanta, for example, has the photo of a man with the sign “Abortion Kills Children” as their header). The main website also claims that they do not cater to those who felt relief after their abortion.
- Rachel’s Vineyard - This extremely rude and snarky answer in their FAQ raised red flags for me.This is not a safe place.
- Pro-Life America - Uses the fear tactic that there is a relation between abortion and breast cancer.
- Option Line - This name is extremely misleading! Very anti-abortion and a lot of shameful language on the website.
If you have additional information for this post, please let me know.