Over the next couple of weeks my head kept telling me it was okay, but my heart was hurting.
I, too, have three beautiful children and when I found out I was pregnant just after Christmas 2004, I was shell shocked. Because I had been so sick with my other three, I couldn't face the possibility of going through the severe sickness. At first I cried and said to my husband that I couldn't go through with it - he agreed. Our finances were not great and my youngest was one and definitely a handful. I worried my other children would suffer while I was sick.
Over the next couple of weeks my head kept telling me it was okay, but my heart was hurting. I told my husband that I didn't think we were doing the right thing. He was very adamant that we were and told me we should be happy with what we have. But that wasn't the point, was it? I was hurting and I couldn't tell him how much. I think, looking back, I just went on autopilot and did what I thought I had to do. I booked the appointment privately. Until the day of the abortion my husband was very distant and cold. I think he thought if he was too close and affectionate I would instantly push him to change his mind - so we hardly spoke. Because I loved him so much I think that was why I just accepted it. Looking back I should have fought for our unborn child. I replay that day in my mind every single day. It was awful and I felt all alone.
Not at anytime was I offered any counselling (I know if I had I would not have gone through with the abortion). Because I already had three children that seemed to be a good enough reason. I am so angry at that. Every second I was in there I remember thinking 'just another 5 minutes'. Afterwards when I came round I just cried. I felt devastated. I remember thinking 'what have I done?' That's when the impact hit me. A nurse passed me a tissue and patted my head saying 'It must be such a relief', but that’s not why I was crying. I was crying because I knew I had just made the biggest mistake of my life and from that day my life would never be the same. I would be a different person.
Two and a half years on after realising my pain, my husband too thinks it was a mistake, but says we can't go back and undo it. Whenever I look at my three beautiful children laughing and playing I know there should be another little one running around with them. That hurts so deeply and there is a little piece of me missing. If only I could go back.
I have had counselling - it doesn't take the pain away but does help you deal with it better. There is not a minute goes by that I don't think about what should have been. My husband and I still have a good marriage. If it wasn't, I don't think we'd be together today.
People don't realise how an abortion can change your life, especially if you already have children. I keep going for my children; they keep me busy. I cry all the time when I'm on my own - which frightens me. I've changed as a person. I was outgoing and loved meeting friends and going out. Now I use every excuse to stay indoors and only go out when I have to. If I could help any woman not go through the suffering I have and still am, at least something good has come from my experience.
Editor’s note: Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is a story flooded with regret and sadness, a sense of the ‘might have been’. It seems you were ambivalent about your decision; seeing with the eyes of your heart very clearly and quickly what the abortion meant. It's possible your husband may have left you alone at that time not only to ensure that you would go through with it, but also to dissociate from you, his pregnant wife, as someone who needed his care and protection.
I don’t know if you’ve had counselling from someone who specialises in post-abortion work or whether you have worked through ‘The Journey recovery programme, but I feel there may be more healing for you. It’s true that nothing can change the fact of what has happened, but I do believe that your tearfulness, your lack of desire to socialise and your increased introspection reveals unresolved aspects of your experience. To be left less than who you were before means that more recovery is available for you!
It seems to me that you would be an ideal person to attend the post-abortion weekend (see main page). I know it costs money and time, and means arranging child care, but I just have a feeling about it for you. If it’s not possible, then call the helpline, go to your nearest centre (again?) or use Online Advisor. Thanks for sharing your story. I know it will mean a lot to many women who read it.