A grandmother's story about her daughter's abortion

I share this because I didn't see any grandparents' stories, although I might have missed one.

My children were brought-up to believe that they should wait until they got married before making love.

However, we weren't naive, and knew that peer pressure, the media, etc., were working against us, and so I told my daughters that if they were ever to get accidentally pregnant, they should always tell us and keep the baby.

I told them never, ever to consider abortion. I felt it had the potential to ruin their life as I am a medical professional and I have seen how past abortions can screw women up emotionally even if there are no physical sequelae.

A surgical abortion at 10 weeks

One of our daughters became pregnant at university when she was 19, but didn't tell us.

She had a vacuum aspiration at around ten weeks of pregnancy at a private abortion clinic, but through the NHS. She had told her boyfriend, but he left the decision to her.

She told us later of how she'd vascillated for several weeks, and a friend had been very supportive, but in the end she decided to go through with it.

That summer, when she came home, she developed an allergy which she had never had before, but we put it down to living in a new place (we had moved house). She was also very 'off' with us and we had some major rows.

Our daughter continued in the same relationship, and about a year after her abortion, she became pregnant again. She was very upset and when she told her boyfriend, he basically told her she had to get rid of the baby, or it was the end of their relationship.

Mercifully, our daughter decided to keep the baby as she felt she could not go through with another abortion, and she told us she was pregnant when she was about 8 weeks.

She came home to discuss things, and it was then she told us she had had an abortion the previous year.

She broke down and said she'd suffered a great deal psychologically, since once the initial mental numbness wore-off, she began to suffer incredible guilt over what she had done. This also drove her into promiscuous behaviour because she felt so worthless and her academic work also suffered.

Our grief over abortion

My husband and I were incredibly upset and shocked. We went through a gamut of emotions, from feeling desperately, desperately sorry for our daughter, to feeling like screaming at her, to feeling violent towards our daughter's ex-boyfriend.

Our grief over the abortion far outweighed our upset over the current pregnancy. We felt we had failed this particular child.

We shared our story with friends which has enabled us to see that in the end, even though we had made mistakes as parents, all parents make mistakes. Our daughter had made choices and had chosen not to consult us, and we could not be held responsible.

There is a happy ending to our daughter's story, in that she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who has brought us endless joy and she met a wonderful young man who accepted her son as his own and they are now married and have had a baby together.

Our daughter has had counselling, which has helped her to deal with the guilt and sorrow she felt and gets tremendous pleasure out of mothering her little family.

There is no fairytale ending, in that we know sorrow, as well as joy, lies ahead because that is what parenting is all about, but things have worked out better than we could ever have thought possible in those first early days when we heard our daughter's devastating news.

This story was sent in on 02/06/2010 and it's been viewed 1,317 times.

Editor's comment

Thank you for giving us a grandparent's perspective.

It must have been very painful for you to find out what your daughter had been through and have not been there to support her or talk through her decision with her. Perhaps she found that difficult knowing your views on abortion but it was obviously a difficult decision for her to make and one that affected her life afterwards.

The pregnancy choices centres found on this website are there to support women when they face an unplanned pregnancy as well as offering post-abortion help for unresolved emotions. Every individual has to reach their decision without feeling pressured, but accurate information can help women to think through the emotional effects each option may have on them.

Trained advisors are available at centres - follow the link to find a centre for crisis pregnancy support in your area.

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