I didn't feel strong enough to leave him, but I knew I couldn't have his child.
I realised I was pregnant before I could confirm it with a pregnancy test as I was on holiday with my ex and his parents.
I spent the holiday absolutely terrified and unsure of whether to keep it or not. I thought I would spend the rest of my life with my partner, but subconsciously I knew he was manipulative and abusive. There was evidence he had been unfaithful before, he earned a lot more than me but still managed to make me feel bad and pay for things all the time (unfair share of bills, nights out, and expensive presents). Since I am proud and didn't want it to ever look like I was taking advantage of his money, I ironically let him take advantage of me.
Early on in our relationship, he gave me an STD. He was the first person I slept with and the whole thing was humiliating, the doctor at the clinic clearly thought I was lying about having one sexual partner and it was extremely painful.
Even though all this had happened I still didn't know what to do: I genuinely loved him, we lived together and he managed to turn everything back round on me so I was in complete denial about his indiscretions.
A few days before the end of the holiday I found a credit card receipt in his wallet for 15 minutes in a private booth in a strip club costing £175. At the time this had happened, I had been scraping together enough money to pay the bills on our flat whilst he was out on business trips doing who knows what. I knew then that I would abort. When I confronted him about it he went ballistic, tried to turn it round on me and threatened me with physical violence if I didn't give him the receipt back. When I refused he tried to rip my bag off my arm and left bruises on me.
Looking back I can’t believe I stayed. When we got home I took several pregnancy tests and all turned positive within seconds. I went into survival mode I called him and told him I was pregnant and I had already made up my mind. A large part of me wanted to not tell him and just split up with him and have the abortion in secret. But he had told me that his ex had an abortion when they split up and that it upset him. I felt incredibly guilty about what I was doing and felt like I had to stay with him. I think if I had not been pregnant I would have left him then.
I didn’t want anyone there when it happened, and I picked the medical abortion because I felt it was safer. I think subconsciously I also felt like I didn’t deserve the less painful option.
By the time I managed to get an abortion I was almost three months gone. I was terrified people would realise. When I went to the clinic for the first tablet (the second part took place at a hospital) the doctor told me that she had written me up for morphine to help with the pain for the second part.
I got to the hospital and took my medication. After about an hour I started to feel sick. I threw up and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Then the pain started and I called a nurse and asked for pain medication. She was completely indifferent said she would bring some and didn’t come back. I was in too much pain and I was too weak to buzz them again. After a while I dragged myself to the toilet and the foetus and placenta was passed at the same time. I remember staring at it and thinking that the umbilical cord looked like a tampon string, and how absurd a thought that was to be having. I went back to bed and slept. When I woke up I buzzed the nurse again told her it had happened and asked about my pain relief. They took it away to inspect and someone else brought me two paracetamol. I was too drained to point out that I had been written up for morphine for before the whole thing started and I thought the nurses, like me, felt I didn’t deserve pain relief. They were also meant to make sure I had someone come pick me up but let me walk out of the ward without this.
All my close friend were supportive and none of them thought I had made a mistake but I felt awful. I have always been pro-choice but I felt like the worst human being alive because I aborted my partner’s child. I quickly fell into a deep depression and became paranoid about people finding out and judging me. My ex ended up leaving me for another woman and although my course leader was absolutely wonderful about everything that had happened and supportive, my education suffered and I dropped out on the day of the exam.
My ex’s family all cut me off completely and I started to worry that he told them we split up because I was a baby murderer. I started panicking that I would see them in public, imagining scenarios where they shout names at me in my work and everyone finds out about what I did. The logical side of my brain knows I did the right thing and that I could never have bound myself to my ex for the rest of our lives like that.
I still completely loathe myself though.I should never have been with him in the first place, and as a feminist I can’t believe I put myself in the role of victim for so long. I am with a wonderful, supportive partner now and I am back college trying to train to become an engineer but the whole thing still affects me:
I saw my ex’s parents in my work a few months ago and had a panic attack. To get a bursary from college I would have had to appeal and write an appeal letter explaining why I had been at college previously and why I had come back, the idea of trying to explain I had suffered depression and a mental breakdown nearly sent me back and I didn’t apply so I now have to get by on a part time wage, which also means I have to work more.
I have lots of little triggers that I encounter every day and all of this makes me extremely angry at myself for being so affected and negative all the time. The fear of failure means I barely sleep and I have decided to go back on antidepressants again. It has been over three years and I am annoyed I am not over it yet.
I hope that if this is close to what anyone is going through right now, that they get help. Get a counsellor (which I refused) before the abortion and be honest about what happens in your relationship with them so that they can tell you it’s not normal.
Editor's CommentBeing in an abusive relationship is very tough and once you realise it you are often emotionally involved. It is easy to see the solution from the outside or in retrospect, but at the time if you also have strong feelings for someone it is very hard to just turn your back on a relationship.
The difficult emotions you were feeling made the abortion hard to cope with, and in a loving committed relationship you might have made a different decision. I think that post abortion counselling would still help you even 3 years after the event. Sometimes you do just need someone to help you process these events so that you can release them and move on. There is help available.for post abortion support. or call the national helpline 0300 4000 999
This story was sent in on 24/02/2014