I have read stories about people who regretted their abortions...

I have read stories about people who regretted their abortions, people who wish they had never had an abortion and people who feel guilty about the baby they never had. I've been struggling for eight years to come to terms with the abortion I had, but not for the reasons I see everywhere. Despite taking the Morning After Pill, I was certain I was pregnant and knew that I would have an abortion even before I took the test. I firmly believe in a woman's right to abortion. I have no moral issues with abortion and I don't believe that, at the early stages, the foetus is developed enough for it to be considered a baby. However, what I believe and what I feel are entirely different. My initial reaction to finding out I was pregnant was the same overwhelming excitement and happiness that I felt when I found out that I was expecting my son, and I still find it hard to reconcile the way I felt at first with my decision to have an abortion. I know that having an abortion was the right choice for me, my son, my partner and for the baby I was carrying, and for that reason I don't feel guilty about my decision, but I do feel incredibly sad and empty. It's a very difficult thing to talk about with friends. Although I made an informed choice, and a choice that I still believe in, I still feel as though I 'lost' my baby. My right to make decisions about my own body was fully supported, but my right to mourn the baby I had to give up is not. I don't feel any less unhappy than I did eight years ago and I have been fundamentally changed by my abortion. It frightens me to think that I might never get to 'ok' again. Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It’s as if there are two different people talking in this story; the woman who has made a cerebral, logical, principled decision about the rights surrounding a woman’s body and about foetal development in relation to abortion; and the woman who has a strong instinctive response to her unborn child, and who subsequently feels the pain of loss and grief, even after eight years. Yes, you are a bereaved mother. You want to grieve from your heart, but maybe you hear society say, ‘why should you grieve when you chose to do it?’ This is the dilemma of the post-abortive woman and it usually means she becomes isolated and silent in her suffering. You are no exception. Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that it may have been a decision that didn’t work for you at a deeper level; that it has caused you a great deal of pain that you didn’t expect, that it isn’t just about rights and principles and control, and then maybe your healing can begin. Abortion is a profound experience; far deeper than any of us imagine. The road to recovery begins with freeing yourself from untruths about what has happened, and working through those emotions that trouble you. It’s time for you to be free from this burden. Don’t be held back; contact your nearest centre for the support you need.

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