There it was......a tiny but perfectly formed baby.....making small movements....but very much alive....unlike how my mother had described the foetus at this stage - it was not a bunch of cells!!!
I found out I was pregnant when I was not long 17. I lived at home with my parents, had applied to University away from home to engage on my lifelong dream to be a Midwife (ironically). I was with a guy my sister hated which caused huge problems as she didn't speak to me when she found out we were dating. I come from a well-brought up background and teenage pregnancy was something I knew would humiliate my parents.
The very next day after discovering I was pregnant, I began having morning sickness, so much so that I sometimes slept in the bathroom upstairs cause I had no energy to travel between my room and the bathroom, all the while trying not to let my parents know. I was happy; I loved the thought of nurturing a tiny baby inside me. Eventually, two weeks later my mum knew something was up and I confessed. I asked her not to tell my Dad until I was ready. I came home from my fairly newish job to find my mum and dad waiting for me. My heart sank. This wasn't how I pictured my parents’ reaction to me getting pregnant (not that I imagined getting pregnant at 17).
They were very detached in the sense that they didn't speak to me about emotions, simply about what was the practical solution. A good word about the baby was never mentioned. No one called it a baby. I was given two options, have the baby and I would have to go to work and my mum would raise the baby which GUTTED me as I would always want to raise my own baby. Option 2 - abortion. I could barely hold my head up as I was so sick all the time. I once threw my dinner up on my plate as I was eating it.
My mum took me to the doctor - also a friend of the family which must have been rather humiliating for her. The doctor asked what the problem was - my mum piped up - she's pregnant. It was very coldly spoken, a dark tone. I was too ill to argue or speak up. I have no idea what got said really, other than he would refer me for an abortion. I was signed off work by this point. You can tell by this point my 'boyfriend' didn't have much to do with this - by his own choice. He was older but, still, I knew he was not who I wanted a baby with. It wasn't my plan at all, but I was prepared to accept that and give our relationship the best chance. My parents discussed how we wouldn't last and that I would be a single mum with no qualifications and would end up like all the other girls from my school. I would go to sleep, weakly stroking my stomach trying to muster a thought about how much I cared for the baby, my baby, but I was soo ill and exhausted I fell asleep not long after sparing a thought for my baby.
I had an appointment with a Midwife - a non sympathetic midwife. She was everything in a midwife I didn't want to be. It was a tick box procedure. She basically told me what to write on the form in order for the abortion to go ahead. 'I feel having a baby would significantly impact on my mental and physical health and that I am not ready to be a mother at this point in my life'! I went into the dark room for a scan to see how far along I was. I'd already worked it out and I was spot on, 10 weeks 5 days. I knew she could see the baby but the screen was faced away. I asked to see it, she said no but I insisted.....................there it was......a tiny but perfectly formed baby.....making small movements....but very much alive....unlike how my mother had described the foetus at this stage - it was not a bunch of cells!!! I asked if my mum would come in with me - I think I did this in an attempt to soften her but she refused to look at the screen which crushed me.
On April 28th, my mum drove me into the hospital, in and out on the same day I was told. My younger 16 year old sister who lived at home didn't know about this so I wasn't allowed to be emotional on front of her or sick for that matter. I arrived at the hospital, the nurses were horrible. It was like signing for a postal delivery 'so you’re in for a termination, yes?' Sign here please. My mum was in my room at the time. She didn't leave. About 30 minutes later the nurse came in and told me to undress and get into a gown. She came back in and told me to take my pants off as well as she needed to insert pills into my vagina to open the cervix. No one told me about this, I felt sick, violated, disgusted, and invaded. I went numb and blocked as much as I could out.
Another 20 minutes later I got wheeled through in my bed to the theatre. The anaesthetist looked down on me, told me I'd feel a scratch on my hand. I felt her touch me and I screamed. She told me to stop being silly as she hadn't put the needle in yet. I hated her. I fell asleep.......... My eyes opened and I can recall seeing some other people in beds in the same room as me. I must have been in recovery. I instantly began to cry but I had an oxygen mask over my face and couldn't even muster a cry which just made me sadder.... Back in my room my mum was there. I can't remember if my boyfriend was (that's how significant he was). I wanted a big visible aching scar that everyone would see. I wanted to be in the worst imaginable pain but I felt nothing, numb. I actually felt better because the morning sickness had instantly disappeared, just like my baby...... I was left alone for an hour or so; I don't know where my mum went. I was bleeding quite a lot and was soaked lying in the horrible bed so I decided to get up and clean myself, as I got up I collapsed on the floor as I was still weak. The nurse ran in, didn't knock, just told me off for getting up. She then wheeled through this despicable toilet on wheels, if you can even call it that and told me to use that. I told her to get out the room as I wanted privacy. She stood outside the door. I crawled to the proper toilet and locked the door.
I was finally able to cry in peace but not in peace, in complete regret and mourning. I wanted to die but the nurse wouldn't let me and knocked on the bathroom door and told me to unlock it. She insisted on helping me into bed if you could call it help. I didn't speak to my mum on the car journey home. I got home, my dad wasn't there, but my sister was, though she still had no idea. I crawled into bed and longed to be dead and wake up still pregnant. But I didn't, I woke up and for about three seconds it didn't hit me. Those three seconds each morning are the only time I can honestly say I don't feel like I deserve to die. Then it hits me. What I did.
I went to University the following September, to start midwifery. I was still with my boyfriend. After three months of Uni I met new people and was living in a new city where no one knew my horrible dirty secret. It took me a while to realise that the only reason I was with my boyfriend was because I tried to prove to my parents I could have tried to make it work between us for the baby. But there was no baby. So we split. University went okay for a while, then the buzz disappeared and everything began reminding me of everything I lost. Pregnant women, women who were having miscarriages, I even delivered a few babies.
I'd met someone new; he didn't know my secret. We fell for each other and months later one weekend I confessed my dark secret to him as we'd fallen in love. He was so nice about it. He told me about someone in his family who'd died, we clicked, and both of us had sad secrets which we finally felt we could tell each other. With my secret being ou,t I thought about it just as much but my boyfriend could tell why I was down now. Uni got worse as my feelings came to the surface and I soon couldn't deal with it. I went into a dark depression, crying most nights, unable to sleep, panic attacks, heart palpitations. I chocked out the words abortion to my GP who prescribed me antidepressants. I began counselling via an organisation called ironically 'choices'. I was horrible. I didn't like the lady. She kept trying to force religion and God on the situation when I had told her I wanted counselling with absolutely no mention of the word GOD! She couldn't help herself though and I began to hate her. So I didn't go back. Not long after I left Uni, I couldn't cope anymore.
It's now five months after I left Uni. I'm off my antidepressants which I didn't even want to go on in the first instance. They just masked the pain; they by no means fixed it. I have an appointment on Wednesday with a Private Psychiatrist. I'm so scared to tell yet another person. If this doesn't work I don't know what will. I'm bringing my boyfriend - now fiancé - down with me; he doesn't know how to help me which is understandable. I don't know how to help myself.
Aside from the abortion, one of the things that makes me really angry is the Midwife who scanned me wouldn't give me the picture of the baby. She told me she needed to keep it for records. So there is a picture, just one piece of proof that my little baby existed and it's stapled to the inside of a paper file in a drawer somewhere in a queue to be disposed of in 15 years or so.....
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…You sound very sad, with feelings of anger and regret, guilt and shame, grief and loss all mixed in. You obviously felt quite powerless in the face of your parents’ response to your pregnancy, didn’t you? I would suggest that some recovery support is needed and I hope you find what you need with your psychiatrist. Do get back to us if you find yourself struggling to come to terms with your experience in the future.
This story was sent in on 08/07/2009 and it's been viewed 1,455 times.