At first I wanted to have an abortion but he seemed quite happy and excited about having a baby. Then our feelings swapped!
I had an abortion three weeks ago, at seven weeks pregnant. It was six days after my 18th birthday. I have been with my boyfriend for just over a year and a half. I had been taking the Pill but something must have happened - I wasn't the best at taking it. I found out I was pregnant by taking two tests, on my own, whilst he was at work. He finished work at midnight and I told him when I met him. I didn't know how I was going to break it to him, but when I started crying, he guessed.
At first I wanted to have an abortion but he seemed quite happy and excited about having a baby. Then our feelings swapped! I wanted it and he decided it would be a bad idea. Yet again we changed our minds. It was then that I made the final decision to have an abortion. At first I could tell he was upset even though he was very supportive. Although I made the decision to terminate, I desperately wanted it to be the right time to continue the pregnancy. I already felt 'attached' to the baby but decided that it was the least selfish thing to do, to terminate. I was 18 and my boyfriend 19, neither of us is yet qualified, and although I feel our relationship is very stable, I don't quite think 18 months is enough to commit to having a child together!
I also ended up losing my job. A colleague, who I told, then told my employer. She was very unhelpful and dismissive, telling me "get rid of it because your boyfriend will never stick around". Her behaviour made me dread going back to work the day after. It was almost a relief when she rang my mum and passed on the message that I wasn't to bother coming in the next day. I know she found it very hard to conceive her child, taking seven years, so I don't know whether this reaction was, for want of a better word, jealousy, or resentment.
My mum took me to Birmingham for an early medical termination. She paid for it to be carried out privately so that it would be quicker and not appear on my medical records. Half of the anxiety and the depression I felt prior to the termination was simply waiting, being 'in limbo' if you like. I felt much better afterwards. Happy would not be the right word to describe it, as I didn't feel happy, but I did feel more settled. I began to accept what had happened. When I left the clinic, I was confronted by anti-abortion protestors. A few of them held images, one poster was of a foetus and that image will stick in my mind forever. Although at seven weeks pregnant it was only a bunch of cells, that image of a pretty much developed foetus made me burst into tears at the thought of what I'd done. I know what I had gotten rid of looked nothing like that but when you've just done something like that and you're all full of guilt, you don't think rationally seeing a picture like that.
Three weeks on and I have my ups and downs. The past few days have been hard but I am getting support from my boyfriend and my mum, alongside the one friend I have told. I fear other people knowing in case I get a reaction like the one outside the clinic. My boyfriend told people at work and a few days ago found a newspaper clipping titled "Stop Abortion Now" pinned to his things. I can't believe in this day and age people still try to tell others it is morally wrong. Please, anybody who is reading this, never let anybody else tell you that you are wrong for doing this. I honestly believe everybody going into an abortion does it for the right reasons - it is too hard to do for any other reasons. Your body is YOURS, nobody else’s. Do not feel guilt for other people’s intolerance.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story…It sounds as if you were both ambivalent about abortion and keeping the baby at first, swinging between the two, feeling attached but also feeling under pressure from circumstances. It sounds as if you felt relief after your abortion, perhaps because the pressure was now off you.
The protestors must have caused you some distress, facing you with the reality of an unborn child in the way they did, even if the picture they showed you was not of the same gestation. That’s why, at some point in pre-abortion counselling, you are asked if you would like information about foetal development. Some women feel that knowing when the heart starts beating is important, as we know that our hearts stop when we die, but not many realise that the heart starts beating at 21 days after conception. This is important, if sensitive, information that needs to be shared carefully with a woman considering abortion, so that she can make a decision based on accurate information and not on what she imagines to be true.
Abortion is an emotive issue and there are many strong and differing opinions about it. Your defensive feelings suggest that you may not be entirely comfortable with what you have done, despite the rightness of your circumstances. It’s common for women to make this decision for apparently good reasons yet suffer with problems such as guilt, shame, anger, sadness, loss and grief as a result. I think the first two may be affecting you in particular. Why don’t you think about visiting your nearest centre and asking for a post-abortion check up – not a physical check, an emotional one – so that you can see how you’re doing? It’s confidential, sensitive and caring. Just give us a call to find out your nearest centre.
This story was sent in on 20/06/2009
I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with this but occasionally I have been getting an immense wave of despair, the ‘no going back’ feeling and, ‘Oh God, did I do the right thing?’