A phenomenological exploration of Afrikaans women who have experienced an induced abortion.
MetadataShow full item record
This study focuses on the lived experience of four women who have undergone induced abortions. The women are white, Afrikaans speaking and from a middle to upper class background. Their ages range from 38 to 45 years. It was expected that these women would reflect and articulate their experiences in their own ways. This study was therefore of a qualitative nature. More specifically, the methodology used was a phenomenological exploration of the lived experience of each woman. The primary aim of this study was, therefore, to understand the experiences of women who have undergone induced abortions, using a qualitative form of enquiry. The acknowledgement of abortion as a potentially ambivalent experience allows one to consider the abortion process as complex, and that different women in different contexts will have both unique and common reactions to abortion. This study utilized theories of motherhood, gender and reproduction to explore the various contexts. The themes of guilt, isolation and anger that emerged were experienced by all the women, but each one not only experienced them differently but also contextualized them differently. Some general suggestions for future research are offered: exploring the different ways in which women deal with this situation could be helpful in working with those who might present with psychological symptoms. This would be particularly helpful to the role which psychologists could play in dealing with women who have undergone an abortion. The importance of support and acceptance is highlighted in this study. With the change in legislation regarding abortion, it would be helpful to consider the attitudes of the health professionals who may encounter women having abortions. In addition it is important to consider post-abortion counselling. Post abortion feelings could be normalized by explaining to women that reactions are not uni-dimensional and that positive and negative reactions are to be expected. As stated, some women do experience negative symptoms post-abortion and more research is needed to examine in depth the experience of these women. Longitudinal studies and narrative research could be beneficial in this regard.