I found out I was pregnant a few weeks before I was about to start a university course.
I phoned my boyfriend who was away at the time to tell him and we agreed that an abortion was the best option and I waited for his return. As the days went by, I started to have second thoughts. I had started to think about the baby and started to bond with my unborn child. When I told my boyfriend I was having doubts he frantically started to paint a bleak future if I decided to have the baby. He told me that we would have no money, he couldn't support me despite having a well paid job and I would have to live at home with my mother and forego my university course. He refused to discuss any other option but abortion and never told me he would support me if I had the baby.
During this time I had found out that I was 19 weeks pregnant and the thought of having an abortion at such a late stage horrified me. Still my boyfriend was not supportive and I was too scared to go ahead with the pregnancy on my own. I was booked an appointment at a BPAS clinic by the NHS and had to wait about a week, which was the worst week of my life. I stopped thinking about it and pretended it wasn't happening.
On the day of my appointment, my boyfriend drove me to the clinic and for the whole journey I was deathly calm. I was so completely detached from the situation and didn't fully comprehend what was going to happen to me. My boyfriend did not ask me if I wanted to change my mind or tell me that I didn't have to go through with it. An abortion clinic is the most depressing place I have ever been to. Confused and scared women waiting patiently for their turn, nobody spoke, nobody smiled.
I had to have a surgical abortion which meant that I had some small dilators placed in the vagina to widen the cervix which I was told would prepare my body for an abortion. The staff were very understanding and sensitive for which I will always be grateful. I remember my waters breaking and not knowing what was happening and lying on the bathroom floor of the clinic in a complete state of shock, not crying or moving. I was eventually found by nurses and taken to be put under general anaesthetic and have the foetus removed.
I remember being wheeled into the operating room knowing that I couldn't go back. I also remember fighting the anaesthetic but finally falling to sleep. I later awoke on my own in another room lying on a trolley. I felt empty inside out and devoid of emotion. I was then taken to a recovery room where I got washed and dressed in a functional manner and signed the release forms. The drive back was almost silent and uncomfortable and I fell straight into bed at my boyfriend's house. It was then that the floodgates opened. I cannot describe the utter misery I felt, I have never felt so lost and so devastated. Rationally, I knew it was the right decision but emotionally I was heart-broken. Worse stil, as I had told no one else I had to pretend everything was fine as I had not told my parents, so I had to act as normal and start a university course. When I was on my own, however, I had the darkest moments I will ever have. I had no one to talk to and my boyfriend had suggested that I shouldn't mention it again.
Six months on and the experience still haunts me. I have the most realistic upsetting dreams and am prone to stress and anxiety. Family and friends still don't know so I currently exist in two worlds. By day I am a normal student; by night I am plagued by nightmares and consumed by tears. I am still with my boyfriend as my confidence is shattered. In my heart though I can't forgive him for pushing me into something I didn't want to do. Though I try and pretend everything is normal, it isn't and can't be. I know deep down I should leave him as I thought he would have been someone who would have supported me. His behaviour has changed him in my eyes. I have also changed. I am not who I was and don't know if I will ever feel the same. They say time is a healer and, slowly and patiently, I am counting the minutes.
Editor’s note: Thank you for telling us your story…I really feel for you as you are in a great deal of emotional pain. You have worked out for yourself that your head was saying one thing and your heart another. You tried very hard to cope with the abortion by dissociating as much as possible from the whole experience in the clinic. Now you carry a heavy secret burden and are not permitted to talk with anyone about it. On top of all that, your boyfriend has effectively closed you down on the issue.
This cannot go on. Your health will begin to be affected – never mind your coursework - if you try and maintain this silence and contain your pain. Whether you are at home or at uni, please find your nearest centre from this website and make an appointment to see an advisor. I think a face-to-face service will be most beneficial for you. The service is confidential, caring and compassionate. You can talk about your experience knowing the person who is listening understands you and can support you in finding a way through. There is hope. We’ll be thinking of you.