I just wanted an abortion immediately that wouldn't cost £700
I snatched up my telephone handset and hurriedly dialled the number on my computer screen. Rather quickly, and before I had time to contemplate what I was going to say, a timid voice answered, asking how they could help me.
I didn't realise I'd phoned an advice, counselling and support centre
Overwhelmed by the desire to regain control over my life, and end the turmoil I was drowning in, I asked:
“Can you tell me how much you charge for an abortion under general anaesthetic, please? I can't be awake.” I didn't realise I had been put through to an advice, counselling and support centre.
On the contrary, I just wanted to find somewhere that didn't charge in the realms of £700 for an abortion. And, more importantly, somewhere that wouldn't make me wait the three weeks that going the NHS route had resulted in.
I couldn't abide the idea of my baby growing, you see. It was consuming me, and though I hadn't concretely decided if I could go through with it, in that moment I had the strength. The truth was, though, I needed it. I just wanted the abortion all over and done with. That day, that minute, if possible.
I was asked a few simple questions
I found myself being asked a few simple questions; “How are you feeling?”, “Have you talked this through with anyone?”, “Do you feel you have any support?”, “Are you sure of your decision?”, “Would you like to come and talk to us?”.
I felt myself itch. No - I didn't want to talk to them. At that moment, I just needed to muster the strength to have a termination, and all that humanity was making me want to burst into tears.
The father didn't want to know, you see. He was a lightweight. Packed up, and naffed off a few days after finding out. He blamed me. After dumping me by text, he demanded DNA tests, so that he wouldn't have to talk to me, or see me face to face.
I was dehumanised, vilified, and destroyed, with utter contempt, humiliation and a complete disregard for everything we had shared. He was bullying me. He wanted a termination. He wanted his own way, but he didn't know what it felt like to have a little life growing inside of him. He didn't know the dark place he took me to by his suggestion, the misery I suffered with his insistence, and the despair engulfing me from his unrelenting wickedness. It was too much. He was winning.
I needed to have an abortion immediately
I couldn't bear the ugliness of it all. In the moment, I made my decision, but over the previous few weeks, I had made it a hundred times. My only mistake, as I saw it at that point, was that if I allowed myself too much time I couldn't go through with it, because I got too emotional.
I was sick of being stuck in a loop. I needed to have an abortion immediately, and hence I wished the voice would just stop asking me questions that crumbled my resolve. I didn't want to feel. I wanted to be able to make a decision - not out of emotion, but, tactically. In the words of my baby's father 'I need to do what is right for me'. Why was it he could, but I couldn't?
I wanted my power back
The voice got warmer, more compassionate. It began to identify my feelings. It understood. “You're in pregnancy crisis. What you're feeling is normal. If you'd like to come in, we could talk things over. Go through some exercises so that you find you can ask yourself the right questions to make a decision that you can stick to. A decision that you can live with - whatever way.”
I reluctantly agreed to an appointment
I wasn't being harangued, but I felt harangued. I wanted to go my own way. I was being self-abusive, impulsive and irrational. I reluctantly agreed an appointment, knowing I had to do something, and unable to blot out all of what had been said to me.
As I hung up the phone, I re-read a text from the father. “I do not want the child. I would prefer that it was terminated, but as I have stated the decision is with you to make as a single mum. If you do keep it, you will have to tell it I wanted no part of it. Please stop contacting me about something that is entirely your decision.”
I called back to cancel. I said I was too tired, and couldn't make the journey. The voice persisted: “Can I give you a call at 3'o'clock, and have a phone chat? I really feel it may be of benefit to you. You sound very distressed at the moment. Perhaps we can help. You don't have to come in. Under special circumstance, we can arrange some counselling over the phone. We can discuss it at 3 - would that be alright?”
I bet they're bloody pro-lifers
I couldn't mistake the genuine concern. I felt so awkward, though. I was in such a terrible place. I agreed to take the call. I couldn't do otherwise. The voice had been so soothing, so caring, but it was melting my resolve, and I was afraid. “Why are they bothering with me?” I thought. “I am trying to reject them and do my own thing. I bet they're bloody pro-lifers. I'll ask when they call back”.
Three'o'clock - the phone goes. They weren't pro-life. They were entirely impartial. The help and support was free. They didn't want anything from me. They just wanted to be given a chance to help me to a better place. I realised that only a genuine and caring person would have bothered to persist.
If I evidently didn't want the help, a lesser person would have let me go, but the voice didn't. It calmed me, melted me, and had me agreeing to a much-needed appointment the next day.
What followed was what you may discover yourself, but from that meeting it got better. It never got any worse than the moment I snatched up my telephone handset to book a cheap abortion. That was my rock-bottom, you see. I just thank my lucky stars I accidentally got put through to the Bridge, and someone recognised how I was feeling.
I was so lost, so beyond reach to all those in my life that cared, and yet the voice heard me, and reined me in, straightened me out and showed me how to think again.
Tea, biscuits, warmth & identification
Through tea, and biscuits, warmth, and identification I came to my decision, and I've kept my baby. Your decision may be different, but whatever way, it can be made in a peaceful and dedicated environment that is geared to assist you when you can't think for yourself.
When processing is beyond you; when decisions can't be made, short of panic and but for a fleeting moment; when your brain deceives you and riddles you with inconsistency, rendering you incapable of decisive action, The Bridge is there, and, I must say, I am so very grateful I found them.
I've been offered all the things the doctors don't offer you
My work is to continue. It shan't be easy, but I have been offered support, befriending, ongoing counselling - all the things the doctors don't offer you when you visit their offices in pain, and walk out with an appointment for termination that hangs over your head while you try to decide whether you should, whether you can.
It is getting easier, as I have been enabled. I thank the voice that reached me, and, if you are reading this in the turmoil I was in, I hope you allow it to reach to you, and with their help, this too shall pass.
This story was sent in on 21/05/2009