I realised quite how much I already cared about the baby inside me.
My first reaction was to panic. I knew I wanted children, and I had been feeling very broody, but when it actually became a reality, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for such a huge step. I was living in a shared house, and only worked part time. I also knew that my boyfriend would be devastated. I even contemplated terminating the pregnancy and never telling him it had happened.
I was going through a very stressful and worrying time with my family, my Dad was terminally ill, and we didn’t know how long he had left to live, so I felt unable to talk to anyone. I felt very alone.
It took me three days to build up the courage to tell my boyfriend. I built it up so much, and I was so scared to tell him. In the end, I just blurted it out. I watched the colour drain from his face as he realised I wasn’t joking. I felt sick, because I knew that whatever decision we made, both of our lives were changed forever.
We decided that the first thing we needed to do, was to make a doctor's appointment, to confirm that I was actually pregnant. I called my surgery and they gave me an appointment in two days time. We then went for lunch, to try and get our heads round what was happening to us. I remember feeling really sick and not being able to eat a thing.
All I could think about was “I can’t do this on my own”.My boyfriend had always dreamt of film school, and I was proud of his ambition. My pregnancy just seemed to something standing in his way.
For the next two days, all we talked about was what we were going to do. I almost convinced myself that we were going to get to the doctors, they would do another pregnancy test, and would tell me it was all ok, that I wasn’t actually pregnant. Then it would have all been ok, and we’d have just been more careful in the future.
The day of my appointment came, and my boyfriend and I went to the doctor's, not really knowing what we were going to say or do. We hadn’t even discussed if he was going to come in with me. The doctor came out and called my name, and we both stood and went into her office. The doctor was very kind, and asked what we needed help with. I told her I was pregnant, and she asked me if that was good news or not. I told her we weren’t really sure, which is why we’d come to her. I asked if she was going to do another test, but she informed me that because I had had two positive results, I was 100% pregnant. She was the first person I had actually said the words to.
She asked when the first day of my last period was, to work out how far into the pregnancy I was. We established I was about 6 weeks, which gave us a few options. She was very helpful and went through each of the options with us, abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. She also advised us that the sooner we decided what we wanted to do, the better, both physically and emotionally, but that she was unable to influence our decision at all.
We went home, and had a very long discussion about what we both wanted to do. I had always wanted children, and always assumed I would have my first around the age of 25. My boyfriend had always maintained he wanted to be closer to 30. I was really struggling with the thought of terminating the pregnancy, but at the same time, I knew having a baby was going to really test our relationship. We talked and talked about what we were going to do, and there were lots of tears from both sides.
After a day or two we decided to go ahead and book the abortion.We thought it would be better to have it booked and not need to use it, than to not book it and leave it too late.
I didn’t want to tell anyone about what was happening, but my boyfriend felt he couldn’t make such a huge decision without talking to his family. His family were very keen for us to continue the pregnancy, and found it very hard to stay neutral. They suggested we spoke to someone, but I felt like I was already unsure about my feelings, so couldn’t face having to take anyone else’s opinions on board too.
We went back to the doctor and asked her to book the abortion. She said it would take a few days for the hospital appointment to come through.
Our appointment came through for a few weeks ahead, when I would have been just almost 12 weeks pregnant. I found it easier for us not to talk about it, once we’d made our decision. It helped me not think about what we were actually doing.
About a week before our appointment, we decided to seek help from an impartial source. My boyfriend's family attend a church, and they had business cards for the Yeovil pregnancy crisis centre. They had sent us one a few weeks before, and we decided to call the number. The lady we spoke to was very nice, she asked a few questions about our relationship and our situation. On finding out quite how short of time we were, she tried to arrange an session with a counsellor. She advised us to look on the care confidential website to try and find an organisation a little bit closer to us, as if we needed long term support, it would be easier for us if we didn’t have to travel so far.
That was how we came across the Beresford Centre.I called them, and luckily they had someone free who could see us. Our appointment at the hospital was first thing on a Friday morning, and we had our appointment at the centre on the Tuesday evening.
We drove to the centre together, not really knowing what to expect. My boyfriend has always been comfortable talking about problems, whereas I just ignore them and hope they’ll go away. I was worried I’d be forced to talk about things and made to feel uncomfortable. I also worried that we would be influenced either way.
When we arrived, it was almost like visiting someone’s house. It was very cosy and homely. We sat on a sofa in the reception/waiting area and waited to meet the person who was going to help us decide the most important decision of our lives.
Margaret came and introduced herself, and explained how the session would work. I would go through with her into another room, so we could talk, then I would go back into the reception area whilst she talked to my boyfriend, then she would talk to us both together. She asked a few questions about my background, and how I was feeling about the situation. We then made a diagram together, of my different thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy, and whether they came from my head, my heart or were a circumstance. The more we talked, the easier I found it to talk, and the more I realised quite how much emotion I had been holding inside.
It was with Margaret’s help I realised quite how much I already cared about the baby inside me.
When we spoke to Margaret together, it was a huge help to have her there, to help tell my boyfriend that I had changed my mind and wanted to keep the baby. I knew it wasn’t what he wanted, but I knew he would support me in my decision. We also knew that Margaret would be there for as long as we needed her to be. We left her with an appointment to go back and see her soon, to discuss how we were coping with the fact we were going to become parents.
The next few weeks were really tough. I needed to tell my family, and was worried they would be disappointed in me. Margaret talked through my worries with me, and made it seem much easier. Although her role was a pregnancy crisis counsellor, she helped us in so many different ways. No matter what problems we were facing in life, she helped us tackle them together. She helped us see that as long as we talked to each other, we would be ok. No matter what problems we were facing in life, Margaret was there to help us through it, without judging us.
She supported us through my boyfriend going travelling, through us looking for a house together, and through the death of my Dad. Whenever we needed her, she was there. Sometimes we went every week, other times it was once a month, but we knew we had the option to go more often if we needed to.
I never felt rushed, or judged, all I ever felt was support.
The last session we had with Margaret, we talked through our fears of labour, and actually dealing with giving birth. I had been offered a stretch and sweep later that week, but was nervous, as I was unsure what it actually involved. She was unable to advise us, but found another member of staff, who was also a trained midwife, who sat with us for about half an hour, and answered all our questions. She also offered to try and help me with my needle phobia, and try and do my blood tests somewhere I felt safe. They really went above and beyond their role as pregnancy crisis counsellors, and I really appreciate everything they did for us.
The very next day, I went into labour, but felt much less afraid after our session the day before.
After a relatively easy, and drug and needle free labour, our daughter was born. She is the best thing that ever happened to us, and I can’t imagine my life without her. I am so glad we had someone there for us, to help us make the right decision. I know, even now, if we had a problem, Margaret would be there for us in any way she could.
I want to help the Centre as much as I can, in any way I can, so they can continue to help those who truly need them. We owe Margaret everything. We wouldn’t be the happy family we are today without her.