When I was 19, I met my first boyfriend. He was 24 and just out of a relationship.
When we got back to his flat, he played on the computer, and I opened a bottle of wine. I had one glass for Dutch courage, and went to the bathroom to do the test. After the waiting time, the test didn’t seem too clear. I wasn’t sure whether I was or wasn’t pregnant, so I took it to him and told him what I had done. He looked at me and said, without emotion or worry, 'We will get it sorted'. I knew what he meant. He had already fathered a child that he never saw; he didn’t want another one.
The next day on my lunch break I got another test to confirm it. This again was unclear, so I booked a doctor’s appointment. The next day I was asked to give the doctor a urine sample, and was told the results would be a few days. When the doctor called a few days later, with the positive result, I was confused. I knew that my boyfriend didn’t want the baby, and if I had it he would leave me, but I wasn’t sure if I could go through with killing my baby. My love for him was so strong, that I didn’t know what to do.
I asked so many of my friends for advice; they were all giving me mixed advice. They didn’t really know what to say. The day after my 20th birthday I went for my scan at the hospital; the maternity wing of the hospital was full of happy expecting parents, and young babies. I was still confused about what to do. I knew I didn’t want to lose him, but I didn’t want to lose my baby either. I had become so protective of it. (I always thought of it as a he.) I just felt numb, and found myself going for the scan, and trying not to cry. My boyfriend sat on the chair, not looking at me or the screen.
That night I confided in a friend of mine with whom I had become close since his split from his girlfriend. He was such a great support to me throughout. When my boyfriend and I were arguing, he would listen, and I would tell him everything Lee didn’t want to hear.
On the day of the abortion, I had told my mum and dad, who knew nothing about what was happening, that I was going to Brighton with my boyfriend. He picked me up early, and I couldn’t eat anything as I was going under anaesthetic. Before we got to the hospital, he stopped off at the petrol station to get himself some food. Although he knew I couldn’t eat anything and I would be starving, he gloated about how tasty his food was. When my name was called, I gave my boyfriend a hug, and a kiss, and that was the first time he looked emotional. He saw how scared I was. He stayed in the waiting room with the partners of the other girls that were having an abortion at the same time as me.
I was saying to myself, ‘It isn’t an abortion, it’s just an operation. Try and block out the reality’. I changed into the gown that was provided and just waited. With my boyfriend not there, I was terrified. When my name was called to go, I put on a brave face and thought about it being over, and how happy we would be when it was over. The last thing I remember was telling the doctor I felt 'pissed'. The next thing I knew, a nurse was standing over me bringing me round. When I tried to speak she told me to stop - I still had the tube in my throat, and that had to be taken out. The first thing I said was, 'Where’s my boyfriend? I need to see him.' I was told I couldn’t see him for an hour while I was in recovery. That hour dragged. I was given a cup of tea and a biscuit and was seen by several nurses to check up on me. Because of the operation I had just had, I was wearing an over-sized sanitary towel. It felt like a nappy.
When I finally was allowed to see Lee, I was relieved, but there were no hugs or kisses. We just left, and we didn’t say much on the way home. I was still numb emotionally. When I got in the car, I checked my phone. There was a message from my friend, checking to see if I was ok. He had been worried about me all day and I was on his mind. The first chance I got away from my boyfriend, I had to call him, but as I was in my boyfriend’s care for 24 hours, it was going to be hard.
The days following the abortion were hard. I felt a mix of emotion, anger, sadness, relief, my mood swings and tummy pains were unbearable. My boyfriend and I were arguing so much, and I was beginning to hate him for what he did. I was spending more and more time with my other friend. He was so kind and he continued to listen. In return I helped him get through the tough break up with his ex.
Two weeks after the abortion my boyfriend and I split up! It was too much for us; the strain of what had happened had torn us apart. I was hurting, and lonely and a feeling of emptiness inside of me wouldn’t go away. I sunk into depression, I was arguing with my family, crying all the time. I had no job, so I stayed in bed all the time. I didn’t feel the need to do anything, I was still getting the pains from the abortion which was normal, but I felt like I deserved much more for killing my baby. I ended up losing the people close to me; they had had enough of my moods and self pity. I was truly on my own, my parents were concerned but I just shut them out. I would walk out at any time of the day, so I could smoke. I was self harming; they were so worried about me.
One night I had a huge row with them, they locked me in and I wanted to get out. They knew something was wrong, and it all came out. They were devastated, and we were all crying, but from that moment on, I was relieved that they knew. I knew things would improve from now on.
Four and a bit years on, I still have the feelings of sadness, hurt, anger, guilt that I did what I did. My ex-boyfriend is getting on with his life happily, and I am still having the same feelings. I have learned to cope with them. My family and people around me have been so supportive. I lost some friends through that time, but have come out a stronger person. There are days that I still think I can’t cope and the feelings get too much for me, but I think I have to learn to live with those days. If I could go back and do one thing differently, I would tell my parents. I don’t know if things would have been different, but I would have had all the love and support I needed, without my boyfriend.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It seems you had a very clear idea in your conscience and instinct how you felt about an abortion before you had one, and only agreed to it in order to preserve your relationship. Unfortunately for many women who do this, this attempt to keep the relationship is then undermined by the experience of the abortion itself and the ensuing negative feelings towards the partner. From what you say, I feel it would be helpful for you to visit your nearest pregnancy centre and ask to be checked up with regard to your post-abortion health. This is done using a questionnaire and an help you see if there is more that can be done to improve how you relate to your experience. Time to address lingering feelings of guilt, sadness and regret can only be good, leaving you in a much better place than when you started. Give it some thought and get in touch.