A surgical abortion at the age of 41

I had a surgical abortion a month ago at 9 weeks and 2 days of pregnancy, after becoming unexpectedly pregnant for the first time at the age of 41. I was confused and in shock, I felt anxious about the risks related to my age, and my situation is complex since I am currently doing a postgraduate course, have no income, and am living with my parents.

My partner could not fully support me

My partner felt he could not give me his full support because our relationship was still too new, and he was about to return to his own country to start a new job. My own shame about what other people might think meant I was unable to speak with family or friends about my situation.
I had no idea how I could take care of a child alone, complete my studies, and then embark on the new career I had been planning for so long. As a result of the stress and pressure I was under, I allowed myself to believe that abortion was the best and only option. My partner and I at first felt we should try to go forward and have it, but then we lost courage.

My Worst Decision

It was the worst decision I have ever made in my life. Not a day goes by when I don't regret what I did, and mourn the life I destroyed. I was completely unprepared for the burden of grief and guilt that I now feel. I'm so alone now; none of my family or friends knows what I did, and I'm too ashamed to say. My partner is now abroad, and hates to discuss it. Anyway, I had to arrange everything by myself, and go through the procedure alone, because my partner was working in another city at the time. On the day of the termination, I was in a daze and couldn't stop crying. I had to wait for hours for the procedure to be performed; it was exhausting and humiliating.

Flashbacks

Every day I have flashbacks and ask myself why I didn't just get up and leave, but I felt like I was trapped on a roller coaster and couldn't jump off. I kept hoping my partner would call and tell me not to go through with it, but he didn't. I love him dearly, and I think he did the best that he could at the time, but I felt so sad and abandoned. Now I have to live with what I have done - choosing to end the existence of my first and only child, for stupid and meaningless reasons. Somehow I now have to find a way of going forward with my life, of justifying this terrible choice. I struggle to find some kind of meaning in all of this, but as yet I find none.

Right to Choose

I fully believe in the right of every woman to choose to end a pregnancy if she feels that it is the best choice for her to make in her individual cirumstances or at that particular time in her life, and nobody has the right to judge her for that. But I also feel that there is a dangerous silence on the subject of the emotional aftermath that abortion can have on a woman. Why does nobody talk about this? I had no idea what to expect. I arranged my abortion privately, but at no point did anyone attempt to counsel or warn me about the terrible emotions I would suffer afterwards, and I was too stressed and confused to think the situation through properly by myself. With a little more time, the outcome may have been different. All those things which I felt were impossible problems to deal with now seem so silly and insignificant. I still cannot believe that I did what I did, and I feel I will suffer for it every day for the rest of my life. I feel bereaved, and the future feels empty and meaningless.

Information about Emotional and Psychological Effects

More effort needs to be made by health professionals working in the field of abortion to educate women about its psychological effects, and to sensitively make them aware that in reality, abortion may not be their only option, and that the alternatives may not actually be so very difficult to cope with after all. I would give anything now to be still pregnant, to be awaiting the birth of my child, who would have been born this July. With all my heart, I would urge other women in a similar situation to fully explore all the options before making their final decision, to be brave in whatever choice they make - even if they decide finally on termination - and to seek as much help, support and advice as they can. You don't need to be alone. And whatever choice you make, don't allow others to judge you, and please don't judge yourself.

Editor's Comment

What a tragedy that you hasve been left with such deep regret after your abortion. I can completely see how your age and situation made you axious and feel pressurised, but often the logical solution isn't enough to make the best decision for you.
I agree that there should be much more effort to fully counsel women and couples on physical, emotional and psychological risks that can affect women following abortion. After all, in any other medical proceedure and operation every conceivable risk is discussed.
It sounds as though you are in a dark tunnel that you feel you are trapped in for the rest of your life. I do hope that you will seek help and support. i know that you can't change what has happened, but you can change the way you think about it, and I believe there is a way through this darkness for you. Please be brave enough to contact one of our services. Helpline 0300 4000 999, for post abortion support. or follow the link to find a centre for post abortion support in your area.

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