This year is the 21st anniversary of my abortion.

I had sex a few times with my boyfriend without any protection. I did not know that birth control was free. I was saving up the price of a prescription. Eventually I had enough cash and went to see the doctor. The doctor did not even tell me it was free when I asked if I had to pay for my prescription as I had just turned 16! Unfortunately, it was too late. I was pregnant. I had an abortion at 16. It was totally my decision. I was not pressured into it by anyone. Then again, no-one tried to talk me out of it. I remember breaking down at school when all the kids were talking about a classmate who was about to have her baby. I had already told my parents of my pregnancy and how I intended to have an abortion. I ended my relationship with the father and quickly found a replacement boyfriend. I told the father that I was going to abort the baby but I did not tell him when. He tried to contact me to talk to me but I just cut him out. I needed to distance myself from him in order to cope with my decision. I carried on as normal, slipping into my normal routine the day after the operation. Life just went on and I did all the things a 16 year old does. I lived through years of little guilt or grief. This year is the 21st anniversary of my abortion. For the last three years, I have thought about my 'baby' almost daily. I sometimes find it difficult to appreciate and fully live my life because I keep thinking - what if? I think about what he/she would be like, who they would be. I would like to contact the baby's father and tell him I'm sorry for cutting him out, for not allowing him to be involved in the decision, for not giving him support to grieve or allowing him to support me. I know I cannot do this. I have not seen him for twenty years and he has his own life now, maybe a family. I will not risk the consequences of what may happen to our families. Some days are hard. My way of coping is to try and focus on what I have now. I try to take time out for myself and give myself some space. I have a wonderful family now and I know that had I kept my baby I probably wouldn't have them - I value them highest in my life. I believe in them and their love for me. This is what eventually pulls me from my dark days when all I can think of is my baby. Editor’s note: Thank you for sharing your story with us…As I read it, I want to ask you what happened three years ago. Perhaps it was something to do with your baby's 18th year, or maybe another major loss occurred in your life in some way. Whatever it was, it sounds as if something triggered your sense of grief and loss after all these years and now you seem stuck in it. A part of you wants to go back and put something right and you can’t get out of the orbit of this way of thinking very easily. But it’s not about going back and changing the past; it’s more a case of changing how you relate to it now. It seems your life revolves around this one event in your past and you’ve forgotten how to be you. I think you would benefit from talking this through with a trained advisor at your nearest centre, to help you find a place of well-being, acceptance and hope. We’ll be thinking of you.

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