I had an abortion 09 October 2008. I was almost 19 weeks pregnant
I worked out my dates and assumed that we'd conceived whilst in Amsterdam on the 4th of June 2008. When the lad I had been seeing found out I was pregnant, he went all out to try to destroy my relationship with my partner. He was scorned that I had returned to my partner after four months of being with him. He contacted one of my partner's friends and told him that I had been sleeping with several other people, which was untrue. He also said a lot of other lies, only in order to turn my partner against me. He said that this was his baby and that I should have an abortion as he was too young to bring up a child and wouldn't want to see it being brought up by another man, or worse, by me!
I went to my parents for advice, completely distraught about the things that were being said. My partner demanded a DNA test, I swore to my parents that it was his baby and they believed me. I sincerely thought that I had got my dates right. How wrong could I be? There was only one way to find out. We contacted my consultant who advised that he would be able to carry out an amniocentesis, which is where a needle in inserted in the amino fluid that surrounds the baby, and a sample is taken. There is a 1 in 100 risk of miscarriage and the fluid is basically the unborn baby's DNA. This isn't usually a procedure used for DNA testing and is more commonly found when taking samples for chromosomal disorders such as Down’s syndrome. My consultant carried this out from his own private practice. The sample, along with my partner's blood samples and mine were sent away for testing.
That was on the Monday morning. The Friday evening I was walking home from the train station and I saw a single magpie. Being superstitious, I believed that I was about to have some bad luck (one for sorrow, as the saying goes). I hadn't been home more than 15 minutes when the phone rang. It was my consultant and he told me he had the test results back. My heart was thumping so hard I thought it was going to explode and my baby was wriggling around, must have known what I was going to hear. My consultant told me that my partner was not the true biological father of my baby. As soon as I heard that I threw the phone to the floor and collapsed wailing and crying and screaming. I don't remember much between that and waking up in the bathroom. My partner said I had started to be violently sick and he took me into the bathroom where I'd passed out.
The next day, I woke up praying that it was all a dream but I knew. I began to make arrangements. I knew what I had to do. I had to have an abortion. My partner told me that if I were to keep my baby he would have nothing more to do with me. I love him so much I wanted to please him and show how committed to him that I was. I decided to go through with the abortion. It was the worse thing I have ever done.
The day I walked through the doors I knew I didn't want to go through with it, that I had had my baby inside me for 18 weeks and 6 days. I had to go in for a consultation where they scanned the baby. I refused to look. The lady who carried it out was very understanding. I had discussed the reasons for the abortion and broke down in tears several times. I was encouraged to go ahead with some counselling prior to the abortion but I refused it. I knew if I was going to do it then it had to be right away. I returned to the clinic the next day, 08.15 on 09 October 2008. I was walked upstairs into this big room and made to sign some forms and then wait to be collected. I felt ashamed to be there. The nurse said to me, 'You won’t do that again, will you.' I have never felt so much anger boil up inside me. I stood up and screamed why I was going through with it and that she would never understand. I was soon collected and taken downstairs into a small room. I was told to put on a gown and wait to be collected.
After ten minutes, I was taken in the theatre and told to lie down, my legs were spread and before I could say anything they inserted something inside me to make me dilate and contract. I screamed in agony and pain. But I was looked at as though I was just being stupid. I was then taken back upstairs into the big room and left to dilate and contract over the next four hours. I have never felt pain like it before. I could not keep still; every contraction that came I wanted to scream. I was up on my knees and then walking around trying to control the pain. It didn't work. The nurse gave me some paracetomol and was about to get me some morphine when the call came through. I was to go into theatre to have the abortion carried out. I was taken back downstairs into the same small room where I was told to put on a gown previously. I needed the toilet but no one was around so I waited and waited whilst the radio played Mamma Mia and Summer of 69.
Finally I walked out and a nurse asked me where I was going, I was taken to the toilet as if I would run away had I been left to go of my own accord. Finally I was taken into theatre and told to lie on the bed. I laid there waiting like I was on death row. The nurses and surgeons busied their selves around me; it was as if they didn't want to make any eye contact with me. They had the radio playing and as the anaesthetic was injected into my arm, my head became fuzzy and aching as it took effect and as I lay there crying my eyes out wishing I hadn't gone through with it the song playing was 'If you’re not the one' by Daniel Bedingfield. That song will stay with me just like every other memory of that day will for the rest of my life.
When I eventually came around I woke up back in that same big room, I was crying and I was asking for my friend who had taken me to the clinic. After ten minutes I felt strong enough to get up, I just wanted to get dressed and get out of there. I was told I needed to eat and drink before I left, so I made myself a coffee and picked up a packet of biscuits, the sort you would find in a cheap café. I took a bite of a biscuit and threw them in the bin; I took a mouthful of coffee and poured the rest away. I was given various tablets for infections and also the contraceptive pill. Finally I was allowed to leave the clinic. It was approximately 4.20pm.
I had difficulty sleeping for weeks afterwards and was prescribed sleeping tablets. Three days after the abortion my breasts started to leak - my body thought that as I had gone through the labour that I was ready to produce milk. This was extremely upsetting. I asked my doctor to give me something to help it stop which she did. I was then referred to counselling which I attempted three or four times, but I could not get on with it at all. I felt like everything was being questioned instead of understood. Nothing seemed to get through and I felt no sense of release.
Three months on and I would be seven months pregnant by now. Still I don't forgive myself and still I regret it. Living with what I have done has been the most unbearable thing since the day. I won’t ever forget and I won’t ever forgive. I am not God; I have no right to choose to take life. No one has that right. The pain and guilt and shame I feel are all deserved and I truly believe that bad things will happen to me because of it. I haven't had much bad luck but my time will come. I believe in karma and my turn isn't far away. Not one day goes by where I do not shed a tear or pass a thought about what would or could have been. Would my baby have been a boy or a girl, what would their first word have been? What would they have grown up to be? I hope they wouldn't be anything like me. I cannot talk to anyone as I feel like I am bringing them down, that it is not their problem and they don’t want to hear about it. I have no one to really talk to; I keep quiet and grieve when no one is looking. It’s the only way. I wish that I had kept my baby; I wish I could turn back time.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It sounds as if you have been through an agonising experience emotionally and physically, having done something you didn’t really want to do. What I notice about your response to your experience is that you have decided to lock yourself into the consequences of guilt and shame. You have decided that you are going to suffer for this, that you will somehow punish yourself for what you have done for the rest of your life. If you didn’t punish yourself, life would anyway, you feel. You are angry; you are grieving your loss deeply, and you are feeling very isolated, locked into an emotional prison which, you believe, no one understands and no one can help you with without getting dragged down themselves.
The hardest thing for you to do will be to accept that your desire to punish yourself and suffer as a kind of penance for what you have done is as damaging as the abortion experience itself. It goes nowhere. It only keeps you locked up.
You see, the truth is that you are a precious person in your own right; there is nothing you could have done that is unforgiveable, and your heart understanding of this will come with some support from your nearest centre. Right now, I know it probably feels better to punish yourself, but there is real hope for you. I want to encourage you to be prepared to go on journey of recovery, to work hard at dealing with the emotions you are feeling, to really face the truth of what has happened to you and to find healing in due course. It won’t be easy; but you will be whole. Have courage; go for it.