I’m suffering from post-abortion stress...
I am 22. I am in a stable relationship of seven months. This is how I found out that I was pregnant: I realised that I was five days overdue. I picked up a pregnancy test at Boots in town with my partner. I was very anxious to find my result out so I went to a public loo to do my test, half expecting everything would be normal. It was positive. I had to go back out and tell my partner who was completely shocked. I remember sitting there, trying to drink my cup of tea and not make a scene in public, tears everywhere.
I waited a few days before ringing my parents. My Mum was not that shocked as strangely she said she had had a dream about me with a baby a few weeks earlier. Telling my Dad was harder. I think it really hits Dads hard when they realise that their daughter is no longer a little girl. I took a week off work to think things over. My partner came down from Uni in London, where he also lives, to be with me. I spent a week of flipping between wanting to keep him and wanting to be free of 'it'. I even told all my friends and dropped out of a part time course, I was that serious about keeping him. I say 'him' as a gut feeling, I never actually knew the sex.
We went to the Doctor to talk through the options. We were anxious not to let time drift and make the decision for us. She picked up on my feeling of urgency and offered to help arrange a termination for the same week. I was horrified and said NO. A little while later I decided to follow the termination route in order to get a dating scan. I went with my Mum to the hospital. My baby was six weeks at this point. The radiographer offered to show me the picture. I said yes. I wanted to have a full comprehension of what it would mean if I did have a termination. The baby was visible at six weeks, which the Radiographer said was more unusual. I saw my baby's heart beat. We left and on the way out my Mum started to cry. I gave her a hug and told her it would be alright.
You may wonder why my partner wasn't there through a lot of this. He is not unfeeling or unsupportive. I asked that I do this on my own. I didn't want to cause him any additional pain. With retrospect this was probably misguided. But at the time I felt it would frighten him to see me in the state that I was in. I was probably scared that he would talk me out of it too. And then I would have to grow up. I think as the youngest of five, it is taking me a long time to grow up. I took my scan picture home with me. I felt very frightened at the prospect of being a Mum. What if I resent the child as it grew up? Was I ready to do this full time, for real? It was this anxiety that led me to have a medical termination.
The procedure was not nice. The staff were friendly yet efficient. Nobody tried to talk me out of it. I think secretly I hoped that they would. I took that first little pill on the Wednesday 5th November. I blocked any feelings. I feel that my Mum, who was waiting with me, was half hoping I would come out and tell her I hadn't taken it. After all we had looked at Baby boy clothes the week before. I bled over the next few days. I went back to the hospital for the four pessary-type tablets. We decided to nip to the supermarket on the way home. I thought, Hey! I'm tough, I can deal with the pain. Unfortunately the contractions kicked in after 40 mins or so and I ended up laid out in the middle of the checkout on the floor, with a pack of frozen peas under my neck, feeling pretty out of it. I got wheeled out of the shop and got into the car, and threw up the painkillers on the drive home. I got home, sat on the loo for five hours, which actually felt like one, with a hot water bottle and everything. Mum left me to it but came and sat on a chair in the bedroom when it was over and I started the bleeding. I had a bath and passed a clot the size of my palm as I stood up.
During this time and now still, I wonder where my baby went. Only the size of a grain of rice, I was kidding myself when I thought I could save him and bury him in the garden under a tree. Does anyone else wonder that? The hard fact is that he ended up in the u-bend. Horrific. Evil really. The next day against my parent's advice I took the train up to London to visit my partner for the weekend. I went back to work and college on and off through November. I carried on bleeding for three weeks. In the end I couldn't even walk to the shops. I had a blood test and was given iron tablets. I still take them. I'm back to work and everything is supposed to be back to normal. Only it isn't.
I feel like I'm expected to 'get over it.' Everything seems pointless. The only time I am happy is when I am asleep, with my partner, or thinking how to escape. I fantasize about going to sleep and never waking up. I flip between hyper states to acute depression. I feel that I have done something truly against my moral code. I feel that this baby was supposed to be a blessing, a gift to show me what I am destined to do with my life. Be a Mum. My partner wanted to keep him. Everyone seemed to. Does that make me the baddie? It certainly makes me feel completely alone.
I'm angry at the hospital for not giving me some sort of counselling service, even a leaflet or something. It is only after researching on the Internet that I have found this website. Feelings such as resentment, emptiness and getting upset near anything child/baby related, are articulated on various guides here. I like the sound of post-abortion stress too. It makes me feel like my feelings are valid; that I'm not just being silly and sentimental.
I have asked for my local CareConfidential centre to email me back with an appointment. I am not prepared to bury this. I am prepared to face up to what I have done and hope to accept my decision, be mindful of it, yet put it in its rightful place so that I can breathe easy again. I'm ready. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Even if only one person listens, I'll feel that I've been heard. xXx
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It sounds as if you didn’t have time to think through your decision at both a head and a heart level. Having made that decision, it doesn’t make you a ‘baddie’. It was a choice that seemed logical on one level, and you did what you thought was best at the time based on what you knew, but you suppressed your deeper heart feelings about what the pregnancy meant and what being a mum meant in order to get back to where you were before. It’s from your heart that the pain is coming now - emptiness, anger, hopelessness. Your response is totally valid! I think you are acutely aware of having done something that cut across your values, and you are willing to own that. That’s healthy. There’s a journey of recovery for you to go on and you can come through this well if you are willing to engage with what has happened and learn more about yourself from it. Yes, this journey will be a time for that growing up you want to do…there is hope for the future. We'll be thinking of you.