My ex partner and I had unprotected sex, which resulted in a surprise pregnancy.
We proceeded with the termination (a word I still prefer over abortion). On the day of our appointment we were both very emotional, but in my head at least 'we were doing the right thing'. It was a horrible experience. I felt useless, guilty, nasty, whilst I had to watch my partner terminate our baby. She was able to take the tablet as she wasn't that far on with the pregnancy. I felt incredibly
We left the hospital, me thinking 'okay, now we can build on our relationship', not realising how much turmoil and pain this had brought both of us. After a few days the strain began to show and we started to feel a sense of grief. I suggested that my partner go to counselling to cope with her loss. We sought out a Pregnancy Crisis Centre and booked an appointment to see a counsellor. I decided to go along to be a supportive partner, and to see what my partner was going through so I could understand how to react to how she was coping. Little did I realise that it was affecting me in much the same way, but being a bloke I thought I could handle it all. How wrong I was.
The course is called 'The Journey' (a road to post-abortion recovery), and is a ten step course, though it doesn't necessarily last just ten sessions. You progress at the rate you are comfortable with and can fit in around your life and work schedule. My initial reaction was that I'm tough, strong, and able to handle emotional issues. I have since learned that talking in depth as to how I felt, how I reacted and how I behaved with my partner had had a very deep and traumatic affect on me, and that I'd been traumatised in much the same way as my partner, though not as severely as I hadn't carried our baby, and watched it leave my body. The events that I relived, analysed, pulled apart really hurt me and I saw what my partner was going through.
From the moment I started my 'Journey' I had a totally different outlook to the one I had when I reached the end only a couple of weeks ago. My counsellor helped me so much in coping with my grief, my emotions, the turmoil it caused and the pain it caused my partner.
What I have discovered is that very few men attend this kind of course. I was the only one that the centre had ever counselled, yet they did know that there have been others in other towns. I urge more men to attend these sessions, if not for their own peace of mind, but to help and understand what their partners are going through and how to help hem cope with their loss. For all of the women and men out there that have to go through an abortion, my grief and loss is with you, and as a man - 'I understand'. Lots of women think they are alone and that no-one knows what they are having to deal with - this course helps change that, though I cannot experience the physical pain and grief it causes.
On the day our baby was due to be born we went to the local cemetery and laid flowers in 'his' memory. We had named him, and we said goodbye to him that day. He had gone to a place where we knew he would be safe and well looked after and that he'd never be ill or in pain, and that our deceased relatives would be forever watching over him. I still cry (I am now, writing this) when I relive certain moments, and I will never forget who 'he' was. Next month will be a year on since we went though our abortion. How we will cope with that day is another step in our 'Journey'.