I had an abortion just over two years ago. I found out in February that I was two months gone, and my mind simply went into autopilot.
I did not tell anyone apart from my boyfriend at the time, who came with me a month later to sit in a room full of girls waiting their turn. Girls came round crying and grieving, but I sat there waiting my turn simply trying to keep my mind blank and my heart cold. It may have been easier if I hadn't been last to go in so I had to watch all the other girls come in.
When I came back from the procedure in a wheel chair, I immediately got out to stand up, however I collapsed in a heap on the floor and the nurses had to pick me up. The following days were agony. I was on the toilet for hours, sanitary towels were pointless. This physical setback was horrible because I couldn't get on with my life straight away. I had to recover physically from what I had just done, and consequently it amplified the hurt and the guilt that I hadn't contemplated being so torturous.
A few months later I began having horrible dreams, where I would have babies and often I would hurt them, drop them, or have them taken off me. Or in a daydream I would imagine what my child would look like, based on how old they would be now. I felt haunted; I still do.
Pregnant women walking down the street would make me feel dizzy with guilt and hurt - I desperately missed being pregnant and I wanted my baby back. Having not told anyone about the abortion, whilst going through all these emotions I had no-one to talk to, so I told myself to move on and just pretend it never happened, like I had originally thought would be so easy. I was wrong, and by refusing to let myself get upset I gradually built a very large wall inside myself which at some point was going to tumble down. This was the case a year on after the abortion.
I stopped going out and I started drinking a lot to try and stop giving myself a chance to be upset. I was calling my mum and dad whenever I felt low and this was very often. They were getting frustrated and thought I should stop calling because they guessed I was homesick and cold turkey could do me good. (They still did not know the real reason I was so down.)
Eventually, due to the pressure and frustration I was causing other people by being constantly maudlin and miserable, I started going to see a counsellor at university. I did quite a lot of talking, however mostly for the month that I went, I spent several hours simply crying and crying, because I needed to let myself be upset - which is what my counsellor advised me I needed to do. She helped me believe that I had every right to be sad and grieve for my baby, whereas before I had felt that I didn't, because it was my own decision not to go on with the pregnancy. She also helped me gain the courage to tell my parents, so I would have support to turn to when I needed it, rather than to keep it all to myself. And thankfully they are really supportive. I was nervous to tell them because they are Christians and as a little girl I always said I would never have an abortion.
I feel a bit like I betrayed by own moral upbringing, and all the foundations on which I judge myself, which leaves me not knowing who I am anymore. I can't change what I did, and I can't say I would if I had that chance, because I believe everything happens for a reason and shapes us for who we are destined to become. I do however wish I had not gotten myself into that situation in the first place, and wait to find the reason I had to go through what I did, and do go through.
My baby would have been two years old around now, and I just hope that she is in heaven, and safe, and doesn't hate me for what I did, and that I will meet her some day.
Editor’s note: Thank you for writing in…it sounds as if you have at last been through a great deal of grieving for your baby and you are more in touch with your heart’s response to your loss, thanks to the counselling you’ve received. However, it seems you are still unsure of yourself at identity level, because you feel you have betrayed your upbringing. I think you may be wondering how to recover your sense of self – and your foundations – in the light of what you have done. The answer is simply this: abortion is not the unforgiveable sin. There is a way through. There is no hate in heaven; only love.
Perhaps you still need some more healing with regard to guilt, shame and forgiveness. Shame in particular attacks one’s sense of worth, one’s identity. There is probably more recovery available for you. You can visit your nearest centre, or use Online Advisor to speak to someone confidentially. I think it may do you good. We'll be thinking of you.