Until recently little attention has been given to men within an experience of abortion.
For every abortion there are two people; both equal parents and both affected by the experience and loss. Until recently little attention has been given to men within an experience of abortion and men are often left standing alone confused and silenced in a culture that considers abortion as only an issue for women. Men can often feel limited and inadequate, unable to openly express their feelings to their partner, their mates or the professionals they have sought for help. Men can become angry, bitter, depressed, resentful, untrusting and even reckless in their behaviours. Some men may not even be aware that their emotions are a direct result of an abortion experience; often through denial or an attempt to be ‘a man’ and hide emotions and distress or because they cannot make the connection between the abortion and where they are at now. It is hard enough for women to gain the information they need to connect their abortion to their reactions and even more so for men. Some men feel symptoms much the same as women but for men other symptoms of this unresolved grief can include:
Projecting feelings towards others in a negative way.
Withdrawal from social interactions and networks.
A deep need to intellectualise feelings.
Suppressing and ignoring intense emotions and thoughts.
Our culture has an expectation that men should be strong and courageous; Men are the protectors and providers and any show of emotion could expose them as being weak and not man enough. Men aren’t encouraged or supported to seek outside professional help, in fact men are routinely conditioned from boyhood to hide emotions and act as if everything is okay.
It’s this expectation that causes many men to hide their true emotions and pretend that everything is fine. Yet deep inside they’re hurting, causing their relationships, families, jobs and responsibilities to suffer.
If you are a man who has had an abortion experience, your experience was probably like one of the following:
- You and your partner agreed to the abortion. You may have supported her by taking her to the clinic and/or paying for the procedure.
- You pressured your partner to get the abortion. You may have threatened to leave her if she didn’t.
- You abandoned your partner to avoid the decision all together.
- You passively left the decision up to your partner. You may have been confused about what to do, or you felt it was entirely her choice.
- You wanted your child but were unsuccessful in preventing the abortion. You may have offered any means to support her and/or the child.
- You didn’t even know about the pregnancy and/or the abortion until after it was done.
Whatever your experience was, the end result is the same. Your role as a parent was prematurely cut short. For some men and this in turn can leave men feeling empty, powerless, defeated, helpless, confused and without purpose. Thoughts of what-could-have-been can haunt you constantly.
If this sounds like you or someone you know please contact us.