NO JUDGMENT

Professional aftercare crucial to avoid stigma

With the right help, many women who've aborted have recovered and gone back to their families with the hope of a better life

In Summary

• Professional help is the best because there is no judgment involved 

• Effects of abortion are emotional, social and cognitive 

Generic Photo of pregnant woman on Reducing Unsafe abortion topic.
REDUCING UNSAFE ABORTIONS: Generic Photo of pregnant woman on Reducing Unsafe abortion topic.
Image: FILE

Dr Silas Kirinya, a psychiatrist, advises young women who have undergone an abortion procedure to seek professional help. 

"Professional help is the best place to get support after abortion since one might be judged by spiritual leaders, friends or family members," he said. "A professional therapist is non-judgmental and should be able to support a survivor of abortion according to their unique particular needs."

He advises those who are believers to seek spiritual healing, which helps them deal with inner wounds caused by past painful emotional events. 

 
 
 

Kirinya, who has a counselling centre at Jkuat towers, says they have witnessed many women recover and go back to their families with the hope of a better life. 

"At Amazon, we have helped so many young women who have procured an abortion, and the healing process is oftentimes a beautiful thing," he said. 

According to the psychiatrist, the controversy behind abortion is majorly a question of morality because abortion involves loss of life which defies morality. 

However, whether it's wrong or right, legal or illegal, permissible or not, the aftermath of abortion is always experienced by its survivors. 

"Morality, as we know, has myriads of schools of thoughts, each trying to universalise their tenets. But all these arguments for or against abortion oftentimes do not consider its effects on the survivors," he said. 

Dr Silas Kirinya
Dr Silas Kirinya
Image: COURTESY
One of the key social issues we have noticed with survivors of abortion is that they do not what to hear the voice of a crying baby, or at times they hate to see a pregnant woman
Dr Silas Kirinya

REASONS AND EFFECTS 

Kirinya says the reasons for abortion are sometimes not dire. "At times the reason is as subtle as, 'I have found a new boyfriend who looks better, hence I cannot carry the baby of my ex,'" he said.

Once the process is over, however, an impact, usually negative, will be left with the woman or girl. 

 
 

"The aftermath of abortion does not only affect the emotional well-being of a survivor but also their social, cognitive, physical and spiritual well-beings," he said. 

For instance, emotionally, it can cause fear, anxiety, anger, irritability, mood swings, depressive episodes, panic attacks and anxiety attacks. 

Cognitive effects include excessive thoughts of guilt, intrusive thoughts, low concentration, loss of memory among others form of thoughts, thoughts of suicide or even at times succeeding in committing suicide.

"With such cognitive distortion, one can even easily cause injury or accident to oneself or others," he said. 

Socially, depression after an abortion may lead to isolation from other people, especially if they know about the abortion. 

"One of the key social issues we have noticed with survivors of abortion is that they do not what to hear the voice of a crying baby, or at times they hate to see a pregnant woman," he said. 

The psychiatrist adds social events, such as baby showers, will further isolate a woman who has aborted because of the sense of guilt. 

"They may not want to meet people because to them it feels like everyone knows what they have done and people are likely to condemn them," he said. 

Other impacts of abortion are low self-esteem and lack of confidence. 

Last month, the court ruled illegal the move by the director of medical services to withdraw the 2012 standards and guidelines and training curriculum for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion. 

The court said since the guidelines were public policy documents passed through a process involving public participation, the withdrawal should have followed the same procedure.