Structured Recovery Support Groups
The SRG's are limited to 15 women per group. You sign up by posting in the SRG waiting list board,in the message board system - you will be emailed when the next group is ready to start. The waiting list is first-come first-served based on when you posted on the waiting list board. You must be 45 days past your abortion date to participate. You must read all the posted SRG guidelines and info below and on the SRG info board on the message boards before starting an SRG.
What are the groups, and how do they work?
The Structured Recovery Support Groups are private 'self-help' groups that do an on-line non-religion based, non-political healing program for women recovering after an abortion. We use the Recovery Steps that I created, on a private message board here at the site, and private chats. This is different from the other message boards at the site, which are public and have unstructured conversations.
Are the groups right for me?
The group is helpful for women who feel a lingering sense of guilt and grief after their abortion. It is especially helpful if you feel a sense of loss related to the 'potential baby'. The first half of the steps works on helping with anger, guilt and blame, and the second half works on dealing with and expressing your feelings of loss as related to the potential baby. Even if you don't feel any sense of loss at all towards the potential baby from the pregnancy, the group will still be helpful and you can just skip the steps that don't apply to you, or you can process the loss of 'yourself' - perhaps the loss of innocence, or the loss of your future as you had seen it before the abortion.
The basic outline for the groups is this:
- Telling Your Story - everyone gets a chance to tell the group their story
- Responsibility and Blame - discussing what or whom you feel was partly responsible for you choosing the path you did.
- Anger - reviewing where you have anger, and who or what it is directed towards, in regards to your experiemce
- Forgiveness - working on feelings of forgiveness, and strategies for letting go of anger
- Loss of the Potential Baby - discussing if you feel any feelings of loss towards the potential baby. If not the baby, then maybe feelings of loss towards yourself - loss of innocence,, ect,
- Communicating with the Loss - working on communicating with the entity you feel the loss for, whether it is the potential baby or yourself
- Remembrance Activities - Doing remembrance activities to remember your losses
- Moving Forward - reviewing your healing journey, and discussing strategies fro dealing with triggers and other issues that may still be bothering you.
The "groups" go for about 17 weeks. A new group starts each time the max of 15 participants has been filled. If you feel like you can't wait for a group to start, then try the individual recovery steps. We have a special message board you can use for help and assistance, if you are doing the individual recovery steps, at our message board system. Even just the regular message boards can be a big help in validating your feelings and helping you recover from your experience.
The Structured Recovery Groups are private, and guide women through healing steps each week. A group is led by women who have 'graduated' from a group, and are now interested in helping guide other women through the same process. We are not licensed therapists or doctors, and the support and healing provided is 'peer support' group therapy. On our private message board, we talk with each other, discuss our situations, and have a weekly 'healing step' that we talk about, think about, and post up 'work' posts in response to. Through progression of healing steps, peer support and emotional exploration, we work through our guilt, our anger, our blame, our fear, our sadness, our grief and loss and any other issues or feelings we are experiencing in regards to the abortion. The message board format allows us to communicate and work as a group, regardless of when your free time is available. It doesn't matter what time zone you are in, or what schedule you work. You go to the message board at your spare time, and read, and reply to posts. If you want to heal from your abortion, but don't think you can do it in a 'virtual group' situation, or don't think you can make the time commitment, or don't have the emotional energy to be in a group right now, then please try the Individual Recovery Steps. You can do the Individual Recovery Steps on your own, at your own pace. This is a more private way for individuals who would prefer to just work on healing by themselves.
Note:If you are feeling suicidal, or having problems with depression, panic or anxiety attacks, it's important that you seek professional support either before joining a group or in conjunction with the group. The group is "self-help" support, and peer-support, and is not a substitute for professional support with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist.
Are there "In Person" support groups I can go to? I don't want to do an online group...
Right now, there are no neutral 'in person'
support groups anywhere that we are aware of for PASS. The only neutral support groups
are the ones run online, here at this website. If you locate resources in your area for post abortion support groups, you can share them with us and we will add them to our resources page. There are also
Individual Recovery steps you can use at this site, for healing on
your own. There are "in person" religious PASS support groups, such
as "Project Rachel" run by the Catholic Church, and some crisis
pregnancy centers have religious post-abortion counseling available.
To find a Project Rachel group near you, or a pregnancy center that offers post-abortion counseling, check your local phone book.
How much does it cost?
There is no 'required' cost, but we ask for a
support donation of $10.00 per group member. Please wait until
*after* you have completed the group to make the donation, so if you
change your mind or need to drop out for any reason, we don't need
to worry about refunds.
If you cannot afford the donation, we understand, and you are welcome to join the group at no cost or obligation. If you can afford to make a donation, this helps to support this site, and helps us to update and improve the services we offer. You can make the donation via credit card, using the paypal link below, or you can send a check or money order - see the donation page for additional help and donation details.
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How do you know if you are ready for this program?
If your abortion is fairly recent, like within the last 1-3 months, you may not be ready for this program. This group is helpful for women who are having problems with sadness, anger, grief, guilt and loss, and who have not managed to return their lives back to 'normal' after an abortion. It's also helpful if you are suffering from PASS problems like the ones in the "Do I have PASS?" Quiz. For the first few weeks after an abortion it is normal to feel stressed, upset, have some crying times and be sad. You have to recover physically and emotionally, and it is not always as easy as clinics portray it. The best help for recovery in the beginning is simply 'peer support' recovery, and you can have that by talking about your feelings and emotions at the messages boards, specifically the Women's Support Board, the Seriously Grieving Support Board or the Teen Support Board. You can also find peer support at the chats. Talking with other women who understand, and sharing your feelings and your emotions is a big help in recovery. If you feel like you need more help, or a more thorough and structured type of recovery, you are welcome to participate in a Structured Recovery Group. It must be at least 45 days after your abortion to participate in this group - this is to ensure that your body has recovered from the physical issues enough so that you can concentrate on this program. The program will take you through some steps that review your experience, and guide you through exercises and visualizations to help you heal, recover, and find peace with your choice and your loss. This is especially helpful if you are having feelings of loss related to the potential baby. For this program to work you need to be able to think and communicate about your experience in detail, and you need to be able to commit to being 'part of the group', which basically involves you being able to listen and share non-judgementally with other women about their experiences. It's up to you to decide if you feel ready for this. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you tired of feeling angry, sad, guilty, depressed, upset, ashamed, alone, embarrassed ect ect ect?
- Are you tired of struggling with PASS problems? (for more details on PASS problems, see the PASS Quiz
- Are you willing to discuss and think about your experience in detail?
- Can you communicate (via the web) non-judgmentally and in a supportive way with other women about their experience, even if their situation and views are different from yours?
- Can you commit to three hours a week, for the next 10-12 weeks? (2 hours online, 1 hour offline - the two online hours can be broken up into smaller bits of time - does not have to be consecutive hours)
- Can you commit to being 'part of the group', which means communicating with the other women via the message boards and chats, and listening to their feelings and thoughts about their experiences?
- Are you ready to feel better, and find
If the answers to the above questions are "yes", then you are ready for this support group program.
This program can be emotionally challenging, as you will think and discuss your abortion in detail, and deal with the feelings and problems you are experiencing. It takes a time commitment of about 3 hours a week, (2 hours online, 1 hour offline) but most women will feel better afterwards, and will be well on their way to healing and finding peace! This group uses a non-religious, therapy based method for it's healing program. This personalized and unique method came out of my own experiences, and my conversations with the thousands of women who have visited this site. I can't guarantee it will work for 'everyone', but it is normally successful in helping you to feel better and recover. I provide the knowledge and guidance, but what really makes the program work is your own efforts and a willingness to work on healing. Also the group provides support and comfort for each other as they recover from their abortion, so each participant's interaction with the 'group' is also what helps, as the group 'recovers' together. If you want to do this group, it's important that you are able to give it your full attention. It's counter-productive to what we are doing in the group if you are involved in any other healing program, or trying books or other methods on your own.
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Can I do this program on my own?Sure, if you don't feel comfortable in a 'group' recovery program, and would prefer to just work on healing by yourself, here are some Individual Recovery Steps. These are the same steps we use in the group program, edited for individual private use.
Testimonials from Women who have completed the programs here
- "LL" - Jilly,
For 30 plus years, I had been nervous, stressed, depressed, tired, unconfident, unfocused, unhappy, all of which I blamed on my alcoholic ex-husband. Now divorced, blaming him was no longer effective. He was out of the picture, and I still was not happy. When I found afterabortion.com, I had an infection in my jaw that came from stress. Leaving my teaching job had not ended all the stress, obviously, since the infection had returned while I was not employed. The emotional connection to infection and jaw problems both were anger. I was baffled when the infection returned until a magazine article caught my attention. It was about Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome. I cried all day the next day.
through the net, looking for Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome brought me to Jilly's site. I immediately knew I wanted to be in a structured recovery group. Within a week I began a tumultuous self-discovery. I cried at each step, stayed depressed, but with no employment, I was determined to get myself to a better place. I put up with the depression, sadness and tears that went along with working through all the steps. At the end of the first group, I was out of my depression and back to working part time at a low-paying, stress-free job.
Now at the end of my second group, I find myself much better able to keep myself out of demeaning situations, more outspoken, not crying often, able to look forward instead of spending energy looking backward, not constantly looking back regretting the past.
My jaw infection has healed with no surgery or medical intervention except for minerals and vitamins. The group helped me to work through the all-pervasive anger and sadness that consumed me in the beginning. The nervousness and depression are gone. My energy has been increasing, and confidence is returning. Currently, I have returned to teaching part time.
- "LA" - It's hard to begin how much this site has meant to me. The night I found this site was a very down night for me, as I had had for the past 17 years. But, I was truly at a loss as to ever feeling any kind of relief from my pain and truly just wanted to die. I didn't even know that the abortion was still an issue with me because of the depression. I just assumed that the act of being depressed was what was effecting my life. So, as I cried sitting in the cold winter air I felt an overwhelming sense to look for help for my abortion online, which I had not considered before. I did, and immediately found this site. I couldn't believe my eyes as I felt I had finally found the cause of my depression and pain that I had suffered for 1/2 of my life! What an incredible feeling to see that my depression did have a cause and I really had a reason to feel it! I immediately began to feel better to see other women here feeling the same way. I, for the first time was not alone, and what a healing moment that was for me. I will never forget that!
I immediately sent Jilly an email to join a group, and in just a couple of days began the work in a group. The work for me seemed easy at first, but later it did get intense. I made close friendships with the women in the group and we all supported each other through the pain toward healing. They encouraged me to continue and gave advise from their point of view about how to deal with certain issues. I love my group members, and feel a connection with them that I will keep inside for the rest of my life as they helped me to heal, and I them.
As a result of my work, I healed from the torment of the pain I had crammed deep down inside me for years, and today I am happy to say that I am happy again, and love myself like I have not ever in my life. I also healed spiritually, as that was something that I truly needed inside. It was not a part of the group work, but was something that I got help from from the boards.
Today, I help to lead a group for Jilly as I have a need to help other women gain freedom from the pain and depression experienced from PASS. It is very rewarding and helps me still today with my abortion decision. I will never be able to thank Jilly enough for creating this site, she truly helped to give me a new life, as well as numerous others here!
- Also see http://www.afterabortion.com/testimonials.html
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