In the space provided, you can write the names of the people you're considering to be a part of your support system. This is an initial list that can be revised later. After you've listed some potential support system members, there are some questions you can ask yourself to help you reflect on each individual and their ability to support you.
Will this person protect my confidentiality?
Has this person ever shared confidential information that I’ve told him or her in the past?
If this person has shared other confidential information, it may be best to seek out a person who has shown that he or she can be trusted with personal information.
Is this person a good listener?
Does this person automatically offer his or her opinion or advice?
Does this person always seem busy or have a busy schedule?
A member of your support system should have the ability to listen well, ask questions if clarification is needed, and care for your overall well-being. Consider whether or not you’ve had difficulty with this person being a good listener in the past.
Will this person be honest with you if he or she doesn’t have the resources to be the support you need?
Will this person support you in finding other resources, such as support groups or professional resources, if he or she thinks this is in your best interest?
Sometimes a member of your support system may be aware that he or she is not equipped to adequately support you. This person needs to have honest and open communication skills and be willing to admit his or her limitations in helping you find the support you need.
Was this person involved in the abortion experience?
Keep in mind that some family members or friends may also be experiencing troubling emotions about the abortion. Until you’ve both dealt with the emotions and losses related to the abortion, it’s best to seek someone else to be a part of your support system.
Does this person have strong political beliefs about abortion?
Is this person an activist on either side of the issue?
A person’s political beliefs or activism neither qualifies nor disqualifies him or her from being a part of your support system. However, it’s important to consider whether a person will be able to look beyond his or her beliefs to respect your feelings and support you throughout your healing journey.
After reviewing these questions, you may want to remove some people from the list, and you may want to add others. When you're finished, you can print the list or save it to your computer. As a concrete step, you may want to contact at least one person from your list today, just to set up a time to get together for an initial conversation about the type of supportive relationship you seek. This step will take some courage, but you can do it.
Possible Reactions from Family Members or Friends
Keep in mind that when you reveal a past abortion, a person's initial reaction may not be what you'd hoped.
If the abortion was a secret, then the person may be shocked, hurt, or even upset.
If the person knew about the abortion, then he or she may be surprised to learn it's still affecting you.
Don't take their reaction - or lack of reaction - personally.
Because abortion is rarely talked about, it's normal for people to be confused about what to do or say. However, in most cases the person will overcome their initial awkwardness and support you throughout your journey.
You can help the members of your support system overcome their discomfort by sharing with them some specific ways that they can help you. If this subject is new to them, you may also want to refer them to this Web site.
In those cases where a person isn't able to offer you the support you need, don't give up! You may want to approach another family member or friend on your list, or you may choose to seek support and counsel from a spiritual counselor, a trained peer counselor, or a professional therapist instead.