I had an abortion 18 years ago, which caused me years of pain and regret.

I had an abortion 18 years ago, which caused me years of pain and regret. I had newly qualified as a nurse at age 22, and had been in post for three months when I found out. I had been seeing the father on and off for a period of three years and loved him very much. We had recently finished when I found out and because the relationship had always been a volatile one, I decided not to let him know. I did not want a baby to be born into a dysfunctional relationship, nor did I want to be labelled with having 'trapped' him. He was doing well making a career for himself in the Air Force and so I decided that, as much as I desperately wanted the baby, I would not. I found I was treated badly during my first hospital visit where a male consultant spoke to me condescendingly and unsympathetically. I was taken into hospital for a surgical procedure which entailed having a pessary and suppositories, which started excruciating contractions which I endured for five hours through the night. I was crawling around on my hands and knees in the corridor with pain and was told I could have paracetomol which I instantly vomited. I was terrified to be told that I'd most probably pass the foetus in a bed pan at some point before the morning. Not one of the nurses was sympathetic and treated me, I felt, like a piece of rubbish. As a result, I spent the next ten years crying and hating myself, drinking and getting drunk to temporarily blot out the feelings of hate and loathing I developed about myself. Fourteen years on, I went on to have a beautiful baby boy and have been in a lovely supportive relationship for the past seven years, and we are trying for another baby. I wanted to write in to try to discourage even one young girl from having unprotected sex. You think it can never happen to you, but it did happen to me and, as a result, a large part of my 20's and early 30's were severely blighted because of my decision way back then. I have since come to terms with what I did and have been able to forgive myself. I now only think of my lost baby from time to time instead of every minute of every day. I hope the medical profession’s attitude has moved on somewhat as all I needed then was for someone to show some understanding towards a decision which should never be made lightly of as a means of contraception. Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…The fact that you spent ten years struggling with your experience reveals how profound an abortion experience can be. Looking at your circumstances alone, it could be said you made the right decision, but from the heart’s point of view, it was devastating for you. It sounds as if you may have experienced a lot of healing; forgiving oneself is often the hardest thing to do, but one of the most necessary steps in recovery. Being able to think about the experience, and hear someone else mention abortion without your stomach lurching is a sign that a good degree of recovery has taken place. In our post-abortion recovery programme – The Journey – there is an assessment questionnaire at the beginning and the end which shows where the difficulties lie, where the support needs to be focused and what progress has been made by the end. You may feel that would be helpful for you even now - if so, please get in touch. Thanks for encouraging others to believe that healing is possible.
This story was sent in on 12/04/2009

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