Just before my 20th birthday, I discovered I was pregnant.
Just before my 20th birthday, I discovered I was pregnant. I was terrified, I had just been accepted into university to study nursing and I had my whole life set out, and I certainly didn’t want children until I had finished my education and had a career. I was working full time but what with the recession I had a sneaking suspicion that I would be made redundant. (My suspicions were confirmed in January.)
I was currently having tests done privately as I hadn’t had a period in over a year. During these tests I discovered I was six weeks pregnant. I told my partner of three years and we both discussed our options. I went to the clinic at the hospital to discuss an abortion, but I decided I wasn’t ready to go through with the procedure. I needed more time.
Over the next month, it came to light that my boyfriend wanted to keep the baby, and if I was to have a termination he said he didn’t think that he could be with me (for it would mess with his head) . I thought this unfair as although he worked full time, he didn’t have career aspirations like myself. My head and body was completely confused. I suffered from fainting spells and was unable to eat barely more than a yoghurt each day. I felt like I detested the baby for making my body feel this way, for putting me in this predicament. I no longer felt like myself.
I went back to the clinic where a second scan showed I was eleven weeks pregnant, so a surgical termination was arranged the following week (21st December), one week after my birthday and just a few days before Christmas. I lied to my partner, and said that the scan showed no foetal heartbeat and so I required a d&c. He was distraught at this, but I felt I had no other option.
On the day of the procedure I was petrified, and I cried for hours. I felt like the worst person in the world. I couldn’t understand how I was about to murder my own child? I loved children dearly and had previously worked as a nanny. I just didn’t know where all my emotions were coming from. After the procedure (which may I add was not that bad. The pain after is not unbearable and is easily manageable. If you choose to have a termination, try not to be too afraid of the pain as it honestly is just like bad period pain.) Anyway, after the procedure for the next three days, I felt a great sense of relief, like the burden had been lifted and I had a chance to start living my life again. Sadly this lasted no longer than about a week. It is now the 15th April and I think about it everyday. I think about how selfish I am. I have nightmares of giving birth, of looking for my lost child. I fear that this has been made worse by the lie to my partner, and the guilt I feel as he too is struggling with the situation.
I feel abortion provides us with the chance to be successful in life, and every woman has the right to choose and I fully support that decision. Given the chance to change my decision, I do not know what I would have chosen. Yes, I have my whole life ahead of me now. I can have children when I am emotionally and financially ready, but the guilt will live with me forever.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story…You were really shocked by the pregnancy, weren’t you? Your natural response was to begin rationalising a decision for abortion to protect your plans, even to the point of keeping a secret from your partner, which has fractured your relationship, even though he doesn’t know about it. You were unaware – and may still be - that your rationalising also meant you were suppressing your deeper responses. At the hospital, your deeper self may have been alerting you to the real meaning of this decision, asking you serious questions, but it sounds as if you were out of touch with your deeper self, with your conscience, instinct and beliefs.
Now your heart’s pain has kicked in but, because your head hasn’t quite caught up with or understood your heart, it has to let you know how it feels through bad dreams. Your dreams are your heart’s way of expressing your deeper feelings about what has happened - loss, guilt, grief. Your story seems to alternate between your head and your heart responses - the rational part of you on one hand, and the part that feels the pain of the truth and reality of abortion on the other. Sadly, rationalising isn’t enough to heal pain, only disguise it.
Now is the time to have courage and be honest with yourself about what this has really done to you and to your relationship. Contact your nearest centre for some post-abortion support. There may be some painful truths to face, but I want to encourage you that there is also compassion and kindness to help you find healing for your heart, and with that, hope for a future that is whole and free of this heavy burden. Be brave and get in touch. We’ll be thinking of you.
This story was sent in on 16/04/2009
I am 21 years old and in my final year at university.