I'm 29 and had a private surgical abortion last week (I was 7 and a half weeks pregnant).

By anonymous on 29/11/2008
I'm 29 and had a private surgical abortion last week (I was 7 and a half weeks pregnant). I have always desperately wanted children, and for that reason never really believed it would happen to me (though I was using protection to please my partner). When I found out I was pregnant, I was initially delighted, but I had just left a job, and my career direction was (still is) uncertain to say the least. My partner, with whom I do not live, is 21 years older than me and already has 3 teenage kids from his first marriage. He had always said he didn't want any more, because of his age and financial circumstances (he is self-employed and at risk of bankruptcy). He didn't share my initial enthusiasm about the pregnancy but made it clear that he would stand by me and work hard to make it work regardless, though suggested that he might start to resent me in some way, that he feared he would feel trapped and that he wasn't looking for a great love affair and a new family, though all his friends think he's crazy for not marrying me as soon as we met (none of them know about the pregnancy).

Hearing all that, despite him saying that he loved kids and that a new baby would be amazing, I couldn't be sure that he would love ME in the way I want to be loved, and that it would be unfair to force a child into the relationship, and unfair on the child. The difficulty is that I've always known I should leave him because I want kids and he doesn't, but have never been able to because I love him. I felt I had to have an abortion, and developed a twisted logic that doing so would give me the strength that I've always lacked to walk away from this relationship. I had so wanted to keep our baby, but felt it would have been wrong when my partner wasn't 100% behind it.

When it came to the day of my appointment, I got as far as the operating room when I backed out in floods of tears. Afterwards, my mother (who felt my reasons for terminating were valid and that it was the right choice) warned me to examine my feelings, not just the logic, but I convinced myself that I'd backed out only because I was terrified of the unknown procedure, not because I was having doubts. How wrong I was. I made a second appointment for a week and a half later, and felt much calmer on the morning, though I had cried and cried the night before.

The whole of the rest of the day after the procedure I just felt really relieved and jubilant that it was over, but the following day and every day since I have felt an overwhelming sense of grief, loss and regret. I am paralysed by depression - I can't work, I can't go out. No one seems to understand how I feel. It's already causing problems between my partner and me. He hates seeing me so unhappy, and thinks it's all hormonal, but I don't think so. He finds it difficult to cope with my emotions and still thinks I made the right decision, and keeps saying that I will have children, whether it's with him or someone else. But I don't want to wait indefinitely - I want to reverse this decision as swiftly as possible.

My friends don't know how to respond to me. People treat you with the awkwardness of bereavement, but there's always a sense of "well, you brought this on yourself", so there are limits to their patience and empathy. My mum, who still thinks I made the right choice, thinks I've just got a form of the 'baby blues'. All I can think about is getting pregnant again as soon as possible, but my boyfriend won't discuss the possibility of trying again while I'm still "full of hormones". I'm terrified that he'll refuse because he's never wanted more kids, and I'll have lost my baby for nothing. Needless to say I can't leave him because surprise, surprise, I still love him, just as I always did. I was, and still am, completely pro-choice, but no one warns you about this. It was never going to be an easy option, but I had no idea it would be this hard. I just wish I could turn back the clock.

Editor’s note: Thanks for writing in…You had a real battle between your head and your heart, didn’t you? Sometimes, it’s not easy to recognise and acknowledge what is going on deep down with regard to a pregnancy when circumstances exert so much pressure. It’s as if ‘the heart has its reasons about which the mind knows nothing’. Your heart is now in pain, with grief and regret, and the full force of your loss is hitting you very hard. Depression is something we do to try and cope, or protect ourselves from the pain of what has happened, but what’s needed now is to give some kind and compassionate attention to the part of you that is suffering. That part of you is giving you a message that something has damaged and hurt you and it needs some care. It’s early days for you, but it would help you to contact your nearest centre and make an appointment to see someone. You can begin to talk it through, acknowledge what’s happening and begin a journey of recovery. It will take time, but healing is available and, therefore, hope. We’ll be thinking of you.

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