by Rosalee (United Kingdom)
I went for my surgical abortion yesterday, 9 1/2 weeks along, first one I’ve had. I’m 24 and it was totally the right decision. I’m on a low income, halfway through my degree, battling with chronic depression and PTSD, living with my dad (who is ill), and the father (of the child) does not want to be involved. Not ideal circumstances. I’d always wanted to bring a child up in the best environment I could give it – I myself grew up on benefits with single, mentally ill mother and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
My previous doctor had told me I was infertile because of PCOS, and I took her word for it. As a result, I wasn’t too worried about protection (once STD’s had been ruled out). I was pretty sad about that, because I’ve always wanted kids, and I was in two minds about the pregnancy when it occurred. My current doctor reassured me though – If I’m able to do it once, chances are the soil is pretty fertile down there. So, that being the case, I decided to go ahead with the termination.
I have to say though, the saga that led up to the abortion was a lot worse than the procedure itself. Not because of the hospital (which was great, actually, really lovely staff, female surgeon, totally non-judgmental). No, the real saga was the reaction of my family members and the father. None of them were Christian, in case you are wondering. They considered themselves “spiritual”.
When I told him, the father’s ever-so-helpful response was; “I had a dream about this – that you came to me and told me you were killing our baby boy”. This, in spite of the fact he WANTED me to have an abortion. But, he believes he is psychic, which is why I called the whole thing off two weeks before I knew I was pregnant. The fact that he assigned it a gender was disturbing – I felt like I had been invaded. He then asked me to do a ceremony with him to say goodbye to the spirit.
I cut off all contact with him.
My family have always been pro-choice, or at least they like to think they are. Perhaps it was just being faced with the reality of the situation that turned their heads, I don’t know. We are pretty left-wing and liberal, and gender equality was always an important part of my upbringing. But, in spite of this, I had one older female family member, who is the closest I have to a mum, sit me down and ask me, “What are you doing? It’s not like it’s disabled, for heaven’s sake!” This was the night before I was due to go in to hospital. She believed I had got myself in this situation because I did not want to go back to college (Not true, I very much want to finish my education). She was worried about my Karma, about the long-term emotional damage it would do to me, she thought that deep down I really wanted the child and was too scared to admit it, and whilst I know she was coming from a place of concern, it was really hard to cope with, and more than a little presumptuous. What I needed was for her to support my choice, and trust that I was capable of making up my own mind. I did NOT need her to tell my business to ten other people without my consent. That really made me mad. Some were people I would never have dreamed of telling, including a 13 year old girl, my sister. She is now angry with me for not confiding in her, but when would it ever be appropriate or fair to involve a 13 year old in something like this? No matter how mature she is? Not only that, but this family member told the girl that I hadn’t told her the truth because I didn’t want her to be “disappointed” in me, which had nothing to do with it. I’m not ashamed, I’m not sorry, and I truly believe I’ve made the least selfish choice for both me and the baby. Not even a baby. Embryo. Acorn.
It has felt, very much, that there is a prescribed narrative to how one should react towards an unwanted pregnancy. It wasn’t an easy choice to make. I don’t know if anyone finds it easy. But I’m not wracked with guilt and shame and regret. A little sadness maybe. But I’m not a victim to my choice. My choice has empowered me. I feel ready to get on with my life, and make that choice count.
So thanks, abortion.