Breaking the silence - information, hope and healing after abortion

  Counselling Services 

A. Face to face Counselling

P.A.T.H.S. provides trained, empathetic, non-judgemental counselling-support for women and men who have lost a preborn through a recent or past abortion. Counselling is also available for grandparents, other family members and friends who may be struggling with a relative or friend's abortion.

We are in the process of developing a national network of counsellors associated with P.A.T.H.S. so in time we hope to be able to refer people from various areas around the country to someone in their vicinity. Currently we have PCPs (P.A.T.H.S. Counselling Partners) in Auckland, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin.

Cost: Until 2010 we had provided free counselling through P.A.T.H.S. This has become untenable. Your counsellor will negotiate a fee (up to $40) with you, you may be eligible for Disability Allowance, or a koha may be given. Talk this through with your counsellor.

10 Step Programme: For those who would like to work through issues of loss and trauma we use a proven 10 Step Programme. The programme is based on former USA Victims of Choice's Abortion Recovery Programme and is suited to both those of a Christian faith or philosophy and those not.

I was so angry

I had become so angry with and at everyone. I had two abortions. They weren't my choice really. The first one was when I was 17. He said he would leave me and he did, after I had the abortion. And then at 24 I became pregnant and again he would not support me. I went ahead again with an abortion. Then it hit me what I had done. My grief is unending and I hate him now for all I've been through. The P.A.T.H.S. programme gave me a way to understand myself more and move on past the anger. It felt like my life was over and now I can see things more clearly and feel more positive about the future. I have reclaimed my babies and named them. No-one can take them from me again. It was so helpful to have someone to talk to who didn't judge me or my situation. It felt scary coming at first, but my counsellor was warm and listened and helped me to come to terms with what happened. (M - 20003)

Outline of the Programme

  1. The Pre-pregnant woman: here we look at who you are in the context of your family and early years, childhood experiences and relationships, and in particular any losses or traumas.

  2. The Pregnancy: here we explore the relationship with the man with whom you became pregnant, your situation at the time and how you felt about becoming pregnant, your initial reaction, who you told and who not (and why) and their reactions.

  3. The Abortion Decision: here we map out all the influences and pressures that contributed to your abortion decision, the people involved, what was said and how you felt throughout, and we identify what your specific reasons were for opting for an abortion or termination.

  4. The Abortion: here we go through the abortion day in detail.

  5. The Accommodation Stage: here we look at how you coped after the abortion, in the short term and until you came for help, and what the changes were in different aspects of yourself and your life.

  6. Hurts: here we take a look at hurt, and learn about how we receive hurts or not; and we unpack all the hurts relating to the contributes surrounding your abortion, who caused hurt, what was said, not said, done or not done that caused hurt.

  7. Anger: here we look at anger as an emotion, and work out healthy ways of dealing with anger associated with our hurts.

  8. Forgiveness: here we look at a process of forgiveness, and work to forgive each person involved who hurt us and whom we hurt - it may be partner, family members, friends, God, your baby, ourselves.

  9. Relationship with baby: by now the reality of the baby is embraced and we look at ways of remembering and memorialising, and what the ongoing relationship with baby will look like.

  10. Moving on with life: here we reflect over what has happened through the healing journey, and what new directions or goals you might want to make.

The important thing is the process of unpacking what happened, and what that has meant for you. Counselling after an abortion is about discovering what is most significant in the experience for you. It is about confronting the reality of the loss(es). It is about seeing the bigger picture of who was involved and how it came about. Self awareness and tuning into feelings is necessary to journey through the grief. Feeling supported to deal with aspects of trauma is vital. This may seem daunting. However, all that is needed is finding the courage to take the first step.

Reaching out for help is not easy and opening up to someone about such a personal experience can be painful. Some people just need to share their story and feel heard, others want to go through the in-depth programme of healing. P.A.T.H.S. counsellors aim to respond to your individual needs.

Reaching out for help - hard but good.

Making the first step to speak to someone was not an easy one as it meant to me that I was no longer in control of myself as I needed to seek help. Despite this I knew what needed to be done. My GP gave me the contact details for The Family Life Pregnancy Centre where I met a counsellor from P.A.T.H.S., and I am so glad that she did. My counsellor taught me that its ok to feel the way that I did, she helped me to look back at the last 5 years and to see my life as on outsider would. She helped me to put everything into perspective and to create a sense of ownership in that the story that I had just told was in fact my story, and that it is what has helped to make me the person that I am. She helped me to grieve which was something that I had never done and most importantly she encouraged me to acknowledge my babies (for I had aborted twins), to allow thoughts of them through and to think of them as part of me and not something to hide away from myself and others. (L 2007)

Making Contact for Counselling Help

If you would like to have some counselling for an abortion experience or termination of pregnancy

phone us or email Maree at maree@postabortionpaths.org.nz.

B. Email Support

P.A.T.H.S. also offers email support. Some people find it easier to make contact or share their stories by writing them. We aim to protect people's privacy and email support is confidential. (Confidentiality applies as with any counselling - except for counsellor supervision where identifying details are omitted, and in cases where there is risk of harm to self or others)

No one to talk to

I can't say what it was like. I felt so alone with my terrible secret. I didn't know what to do. This shadow followed me wherever I went. It was such a relief to be able to tell someone about it. Sharing it was painful and brought up lots of feelings. But the woman from P.A.T.H.S. listened to my story and I could finally share my grief. I wasn't alone. I will never forget my poor wee baby. (E - 2008)

If you would like to seek help by email write to Maree at maree@postabortionpaths.org.nz

 Back To Top
About P.A.T.H.S. | Services | Impacts for Women | Men & Abortion | Talks & Training | Articles | Links | Blog | Contact Us
Copyright P.A.T.H.S. NZ - April 2002