Abortion. The word doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. It's been stigmatised and demonised for so many centuries it feels as if it will always have a negative connotation. Not for me. When I was 19 years old, I made the decision to have an abortion.
I was in a relationship that I knew was doomed to end badly, I was young, and I was careless. I got pregnant. When the test showed me those two extremely apparent little blue lines, there was no hard decision, and no tears. I knew what I had to do, and within half an hour i'd booked my initial appointment and gone back to work.
I've always considered myself pro-choice, and was well read up on what to expect. It was, however, a nagging thought in the back of my mind for the two weeks that followed, that I was pregnant. I had always wondered, and been fascinated about what it would be like when I was pregnant. What my symptoms would be like, would I have morning sickness? Cravings? I have always wanted children, and a large family, but this wasn't my time, or my child. I felt no attachment to the life growing inside me. I had heartburn, but no morning sickness. Shooting pains in my womb that would double me over at work, and yet no yearning to continue my pregnancy. Was there something wrong with me? I'd seen a lot of sad stories in some forums, but not many that said they were more worried about their staff meeting than terminating their pregnancy. I considered that I might be numb with shock, but years later I feel the same.
I went to the first appointment where they gave me an ultrasound, and it struck me that this wasn't how I imagined my first ultrasound. In my head I was holding hands with my husband, and wiping the tears of joy out of my eyes. But I was in a room with anatomical models and jars of condoms with my best friend, trying to act however I deemed appropriate. When the nurse told me I was measuring at 7 weeks gone, it did stir something inside of me. I asked to see the ultrasound screen, and asked her if I could take a picture. She seemed shocked, asking if I was sure. I insisted. I just needed proof for myself that it existed. I didn't want to forget. Then I went back the following week and had my abortion.
On the way, we (my friend and I) pulled over to a petrol station and while she was inside, I tentatively put my hand on my stomach. I said “I'm sorry I'm not ready for you yet.” and then she came back to the car and that was that. I went into the clinic, waited for a bit, went into the room as two, and came out as one. I ate a sandwich, chatted to some other girls, as we all exchanged stories on why we were there, got given some antibiotics, and left. I still felt the same. No regret, no doubts, no sadness, not even a little bit. I'm not a bad person, I did the right thing, for me, for my ex, and for the family I will have in the future. It crosses my mind, every now and again how different my life would be if I had let things continue. I know I would love the child with all my heart, but I know I wouldn't be doing all the amazing things I'm doing right now without it.
My abortion story is just as valid as a rape victim, or someone whose contraception failed. I am one of three women who will get an abortion in their lives. Some may call me selfish, but it's my life, my body, and my choice, and I couldn't be happier with where I am right now.
If you need support, here are some useful links.