I am 52 years old and, when I was 19, a decision was made that would change my life forever - I had an abortion.

I am 52 years old and, when I was 19, a decision was made that would change my life forever - I had an abortion. I became pregnant by my first ever boyfriend, believing that you couldn't get pregnant the first time! How naive was I! My parents were devastated and decided that the only option was for me to have an abortion. They could not live with the shame of everyone knowing that I had a child out of wedlock. I can remember everything about that day, 13th October, 1976. It didn't occur to me to argue with my parents for my baby's life as I believed what the medical people told me about an abortion being a simple surgical procedure and that I would just be getting rid of a bunch of cells. They said it would take 15-20 minutes and then I could get on with the rest of my life. How I wish I'd had someone to talk to about the options but that never happened. Over 30 years on, I look back on my life and see it for the car crash it has been. Anxiety and depression have been the major forces along with a lot of very unsuitable lifestyle and relationship choices. I never believed I was good enough. But I want to give hope to those women who, like me bought into the myth of abortion. In 2005, I went on an Alpha Course and became a Christian. One Sunday morning a lady stood up and told about the work of a local pregnancy crisis and post-abortion counselling unit that she was involved with. I felt like I had been offered a lifeline. I completed The Journey and at the end of it I felt an amazing sense of relief. But I still felt isolated. After all, abortion is not the easiest of subjects to talk about openly. I decided that I wanted to help other people and so I did the pregnancy crisis counselling training. I began the Post Abortion counselling training but suffered a mental breakdown. It was obvious that I still had issues to deal with from the abortion. After much discussion it was felt that I would benefit from group support and so I embarked on The Journey again but with several other post-abortive women. What an absolute blessing this has been. I have finally been able to forgive myself which has been a big problem for me. I never realised that my mental health issues were directly related to my abortion. I am now able to talk about my abortion freely, have given talks to several groups and am working at bringing abortion into the light. I hope that my story will give hope to others in similar situations. There IS a way out of the pain and destruction of abortion and I pray that you will find the release that I have. Thank you for letting me share my story with you. Editor’s note: Thank you for telling us your story… It’s so good to hear that you have finally been able to forgive yourself and find healing. There are many layers to an experience like this which take time to work through and you seem to have come through them well. It’s surprising what a difference a group can make – sharing each other’s experience, pain and insights with support, acceptance and love. We are noticing more and more women coming for post-abortion support and groups are very effective – thank you for your contribution. We wish you well in your endeavours to help others come to terms with this experience.

This story was sent in on 31/03/2009

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