After he read the result I went numb. Not one bit of me felt unhappy about being pregnant. Sure I was absolutely gutted to be in the situation but to not want my baby? Never.
I'm single, in my late 20's. After being in several long term relationships where it was decided contraception wasn't a necessity, following no pregnancies or even hints of, in the back of my mind I resigned myself to not being able to have children. Now being single, I was having a casual 'physical' affair with a single guy (X) for over a year. It was during this time that I decided to put my mind at rest and go to the doctor. After several blood tests over six months, she confirmed that I wasn't ovulating. I continued to see X. We knew it wouldn't go anywhere and I told him of the information the doctor had given. We were both happy with things as they were. He then got back together with his ex and we ended things. Which didn't quite happen.
After 18 months of seeing each other in total and then ending things, ironically we found ourselves sat in my room holding a pregnancy test. I was usually always on time but also prone to the odd obscurity and with the knowledge of this and what the doctor had said, I was more than happy to do the test to put his and my friend's minds at rest and prove myself right. Wow, was I wrong.
After he read the result I went numb. Not one bit of me felt unhappy about being pregnant. Sure I was absolutely gutted to be in the situation but to not want my baby? Never. Of course, he has his life back together and this, me, a baby, was never part of his plan. Even before. That wasn't a shock, I’d always known that. We were friends, I’d always told him I would never stand in the way of his happiness. This was different though. This isn't about my feelings, this is a baby, a life. This child wouldn't be born in to a miserable existence. No matter what, it would be cared for and loved by both of us.
I went through hell and back for two weeks. The right thing for me as a single woman with no support network and rubbish finances; the right thing for him and doing something he doesn't want; the right thing morally for the baby. What the hell is the right thing? He told me he knew he couldn't force me to do anything and it was ultimately my decision and he would support me either way. I'm not a horrible person; I can't deliberately ruin someone's life. Whilst I was going through emotional torture, I was also feeling and enjoying every part of my pregnancy, experiencing every symptom other than vomiting (which I put down to having strong guts as I did have the sickness feeling), I decided to at least give myself the options so went for a hospital appointment to discuss abortion options. After researching online I knew there was a medical or surgical option. Both horrifying thoughts.
The surgical, meaning I would have to be put out but at least I wouldn't be aware; the medical meaning I know exactly what was going on but it could be done sooner. The nurse scanned my belly, 8 weeks 5 days. The medical option was out of the question, my heart sank. My baby was developed more than I’d expected. The decision would be harder. I booked an appointment for a surgical procedure. I still didn't know what I wanted to do but I had to know the option was there. If X had given me the slightest positive indication that he knew I was desperate to hear, I would have made a different decision.
One month ago, 14th August 2009 at 12 weeks pregnant, he drove me to the clinic. I was absolutely petrified of what I was about to do. The fact that I had let the influence of others put me here. I desperately want the nurse to ask me, are you sure? To tell me I didn't have to do it. Not one bone in my body wanted to be there. I woke up a short while later. I went through the post op motions. The entire clinic experience was non invasive and all the staff were very friendly and accommodating. I wasn't particularly upset, truth be told, I wasn't really with it.
X came to collect me and I went home. It wasn't until the following day after the exhaustion had subsided that the tears and depression of the cold reality hit. I cannot begin to tell you how much I regret the decision to listen to others instead of myself. To put someone else's feelings in front of mine. Why didn't I plead with him before I went in. Show him the emotional pain I was in before it was too late. I will never, never forgive myself for killing my baby. My baby that had every organ and limb already formed. I've not eaten more than half a meal a day for three weeks. I cry myself to sleep every night if I sleep at all. My doctor wanted to sign me off work but I can't sit alone at home. So instead she has given me some pills to keep me calm at work and to stop me breaking down so frequently. X has been true to his word and has been nothing but supportive.
The doctor wants me to go to counselling. One of the hardest things is having people tell me it will get better and I will get over it. I don't want to get over it. I don't want to feel better. I have done a truly horrible thing that I didn't want to do and now I can't tell any one why I’m miserable. Now I have to keep it a dirty little secret. I deserve to be punished for it. If I’m not sad it means I’m happy. I don't deserve to be happy. I don't want to eat. I destroyed my beautiful loved baby and now I want to destroy myself.
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself trying to make a decision, please please please think long and hard about everything. Don't just confide in friends and family, talk to doctors and local authorities. Find out exactly what support you could get if you need it and make the right decision for you and your baby. Not others. Don't have a regret that will live with you forever like me.
Editor’s note…Thanks for sharing your story…You already knew in your heart what you wanted, didn’t you? But you were under pressure from someone else’s wishes – even if it was your own internal pressure to please someone else. This was enough to override your natural instinct that wanted to protect, nurture and enjoy your pregnancy. As with many others, you had to make the choice between your own wishes and those of your partner, and possibly other people.
Now you are feeling the pain of regret, guilt, shame, grief and loss. Many of us, when faced with guilt and shame, try to cope with it by paying back furiously, often in the form of self-punishment. Somehow, you feel you can make it all better by suffering, don’t you? But this is a dead-end sorrow and will lead you only to hopelessness and despair. However comforting it is to stay in pain, self-punishment is a bottomless black hole.
Whilst the attachment to pain is understandable, it would help you to visit your nearest centre and begin to share the truth of your story with someone who understands and who will not judge. Just telling your story to someone who listens can be a helpful release and bring you the comfort of acceptance, care and hope – even if it’s someone else’s hope. Please get in touch and begin a journey that will help you find healthy ways to relate to what’s happened, ways that will respect your loss and your need to stay with your experience until you yourself are ready to let go of it and live life as the person you’re meant to be. We’ll be thinking of you.