by Sara Littlefield, Life Launch Grant Specialist
With one in four women in the U.S. having an abortion by age forty-five,1 it is not uncommon for Heartbeat affiliates to be called upon to serve a post-abortive client. Walking with a client, a friend, or family member on their healing journey after an abortion can seem daunting but learning about resources that can serve as springboards to healing can offer encouragement. One such resource comes from Life Perspectives®. Life Perspectives provides education, research and expertise to health professionals and other care providers to offer support after reproductive loss including miscarriage and abortion. Life Perspectives also offers a safe place, without religious or political affiliation, for those impacted by abortion at AbortionChangesYou.com® and miscarriage at MiscarriageHurts.com®. As laborers in the pregnancy help movement, we all serve as that invitation to heal. Focusing on our post-abortive clients, friends, and family, we will take time to explore AbortionChangesYou.com – a web-based tool serving as an invitation to begin the after-abortion healing process.
Web-based healing resources are helpful for hurting individuals as they can help to reduce the feeling of social isolation, provide round the clock and meaningful activities to work through the grieving process, as well as empowering visitors to tap into their emotional resilience, encouraging a sense of control during a time when many may feel they have no control. Life Perspectives has developed Healing Pathways for those suffering after reproductive loss and those who want to support others in their loss. The Healing Pathways include spaces to tell your story, build support, explore emotions, identify losses, recognize unhealthy behaviors, and begin healing.
The flexibility of the healing website, also available in Spanish, offers people with the choice to work through healing concepts with a pregnancy help organization representative or in private. The Healing Pathways provide tangible tasks to work through which can provide the feeling of progress. They do not require a particular order, giving people permission to grieve in an authentic way. When visiting or introducing the healing website, advocates may find it helpful to first share the stories section, allowing the individual to see how others have shared their stories and quickly see that they are not alone. They may also read something that is relatable and start to think about their own story. Each healing pathway also includes prompts or tips to assist you, the care provider, to help you best describe the task.
Another feature included on the healing website is a list of life-affirming hotlines for immediate client care:
- Support After Abortion Hotline: 844-289-4673
- International Helpline for Abortion Recovery: 866-482-5433
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
The healing website also includes a resource finder, allowing online visitors to search for after-abortion support by zip code, address, or city. These referral sources include trained peer counselors, professional therapists, individual and group counselors, and weekend-retreat workshops. Individual care providers and organizations, clinics/centers, practices, and health institutions who have obtained the Reproductive Grief Care Certification from Life Perspectives and have attended Reproductive Grief Care training courses may be listed on the “Find Help” directory of AbortionChangesYou.com. Click Here to learn more about the Life Perspectives certifications and trainings. Life Perspectives offers all Heartbeat International affiliated organizations a $100 Certification Application Fee Waiver to be used toward the total cost of the organization certification program as well as discounts on available training courses! We encourage you to become acquainted with Life Perspectives’ Healing Pathways, consider opportunities for training and certification in your organization, and for qualified care providers to become a referral source on the “Find Help” directory of AbortionChangesYou.com.
AbortionChangesYou.com can mark the beginning of an individual’s healing journey. Keeping in mind that there is no fixed end point in grief, this web-based resource can help you to journey alongside individuals on the path that is right for them. The hope is that while moving forward through this process of healing, we can help individuals to create a connection that will prepare them to let go of the pain.
- Rachel K. Jones, Jenna Jerman, “Population Group Abortion Rates and Lifetime Incidence of Abortion: United States, 2008–2014”, American Journal of Public Health 107, no. 12 (December 1, 2017): pp. 1904-1909. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304042. PMID: 29048970