There are many internal and external obstacles to working through this secret sorrow in order to move on and grieve it.
Often times an abortion is the hardest thing a woman has ever had to go through in her life. And because of that the feelings are sometimes too hard to bear. They become suppressed. But out of sight is not out of mind.
A woman may also tell herself that she wanted the abortion so there's no point crying over spilt milk. And because she made the decision, it was her choice, why cry over it.
Or she may decide that she can't move forward because she made the decision so she has to suffer. For how ever many years it takes. That she has no right to feel ok. But that can then become a way of life.
Denial can be a very strong factor for a lot of women. Staying in denial for years, not knowing that there is a process to go through in terms of healing the grief. But the feelings may be too hard to face in order to come out of denial.
Some women punish themselves somehow making up the other side of karma themselves, as if they need to be punished so if they do it themselves then perhaps "God" wont punish them in other ways.
Grief shared makes it easier to bear. When other acknowledge our grief it validates our feelings, this is why we have funerals. We don't feel alone.
But most people think an abortion is a relief, not something to be grieved, and because it's a woman's choice then it's seen as an event that happened and it's over. End of story. Or if it's shared with family and friends who aren't anti-abortion, then they are told that it wasn't a baby, just cells, that they made the only choice they could make under the circumstances, all of which don't seem to even touch on the grief that's felt.
There is no social norm around abortion as there is around death. There are no special cards or flowers. There is no ceremony.
As a society we still can't decide if Abortion is murder or if it's just the extraction of a few cells.
But for women who have had an abortion it in no way give permission or lifts the lid to deal with the underlying grief.