I found out just before Christmas that at the grand old age of 41, I was pregnant for the first time in my life.
Within five minutes of the pregnancy test being positive, I had told my boyfriend and made a call to the doctor’s for the next morning. To cut the long story short, I had an early medical abortion eleven days later. There was hardly any pain or bleeding - so little, in fact, I thought it hadn't worked and went back the next day. It had worked. I was enormously relieved and grateful that it was all over for Christmas.
After New Year, whilst wandering round the Eden Project in Cornwall, I saw all these little kids running around and I just burst into tears and kept on doing so for the entire afternoon. January was a disaster - I was all over the place. The relief had gone and was replaced with a huge amount of resentment towards my boyfriend who "ran for the hills" as far as my emotional turmoil was concerned. He just couldn't cope with it I suppose, and I really felt that our relationship was just not going to make it. I had this feeling that I'd lost everything - him and the chance for a family. Bearing in mind I'd never wanted a child, I now questioned what was so great about the way I live my life and what was the point of it. I found myself asking people I work with who have children what it was like and would they have regretted it if they hadn't had them.
My relationship did survive and I can only assume that January's crisis and turmoil was hormone fuelled. But I cannot stop thinking about whether I should have a child or not (assuming I still could get pregnant). We have spoken about trying properly, with me taking better care of myself (I smoke and drink heavily at the moment), but I still cannot understand how a mistake that was sorted out so quickly could turn my life upside down and make me question my life style and choices. Maybe it's the mythical biological clock! All the young women who have left their stories seem to have had kids already or are very young and have the rest of their lives in front of them to have others.
I don't know if I have left it too late or even if I really want to, but I know everything has changed. We both felt very foolish to make such a mistake, especially because of our ages, but I can't help feeling that I went into automatic pilot without really thinking about the consequences. There are.
Abortion if not like having a tooth out; I found it had messed with my head, my emotions and my life in general. I do not regret the abortion; it was the right thing to do at the time, but I do regret putting myself in that position in the first place and what it has done to me. I also wish I had not rushed into it - I think a little more time to think about things whilst not in a state of shock would have helped in the long term. Anyone reading this who has made the same decision as me, please know that no matter how sure you are and how much it is the right thing to do, it can be really hard to deal with. Take care of yourselves and good luck.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It sounds as if you’ve been hijacked by very unexpected emotions and are wondering where they’ve come from, knowing you didn’t want children. Your decision was made in shock, without really thinking through the meaning of a pregnancy or an abortion, without thinking through all the possibilities, without even considering a future with a child. You were set in a way of thinking that you hadn’t questioned for a very long time. It made perfect logical sense for you not to pursue this pregnancy; after all, that’s the decision you’d always stood by, but it’s all too easy to go along with our logic for our lives. Sometimes we suppress parts of ourselves unwittingly; and they can surprise us.
Relief is a very common emotion after abortion – at last, you can get back to ‘normal’. But that bubble can burst and I think it burst for you when you saw with new eyes the reality of a child. Something instinctive was probably released subconsciously. This is a part of you to which you’ve paid no attention for years, I suspect, but now it has awoken and is asking you to listen. Your map of the world has been torn up and you are looking around, not knowing quite where you are anymore – or even where you’ve been.
It might help you to talk this through with someone at your nearest centre, to look back over your experience but also to help you both decide about the future you want. You can both go together, if you wish. We’ll be thinking of you.