I am a 25 year old British Pakistani Muslim living in the outskirts of London with my parent and 5 siblings. My mother and older sisters cover up, in the name of Hijab, for Islam. I used to and don’t anymore.

During Spring, I went to volunteer in the Middle East. I met a man, a year or so older than me but much more experienced in life than I. We hit it off but I only had three weeks left in the country so we agreed to just enjoy the time we have together and leave it at that.

Upon my return, I realised I was feeling tired all the time, sleeping more than I usually do, but none of that made me think I was pregnant. It was only when I realised I hadn’t had my period that I thought I might be pregnant. To be honest, I knew in my mind that I was pregnant, I could just feel it but I didn’t want to admit it. I took a test in my workplace toilets and it was confirmed. I took another just to make sure. My fears were correct.

My family are Muslim, my family are practising Muslims and most Muslims do not believe having an abortion is permissible unless the woman’s health is at risk – my health was not.

I called the man and he was shocked, I don’t know why, we weren’t careful. I had never had sex before, and for some reason I was lax with birth control, thinking him pulling out would be enough. Nonetheless, he was supportive and I could not ask for more, he was everything I needed.

I had three appointments;
1. The nurse checked to see an ultrasound but couldn’t see anything.
2. She checked again and this time something came up. She printed it out but never asked me if I wanted to see it. I did, I do, but I never had the courage to ask. I took the first pill.
3. I came back the next day and took the second pill.

I thought it was all over that day but then realised it wasn’t. I had cramps that I needed to hide from my family and most of my friends.

On 4th December 2014, my abortion had taken place. I felt it leave me and saw it. An image and day I will never be able to forget.

I have just turned 25 years old and I am not married. If I had this baby, the whole community would not have only judged me but they would have judged my family, my parents, my siblings. My family would have to feel the consequences of my actions.

I can’t say if I was someone else, living in a different community that I wouldn’t have had the abortion but I can say why I had it:
1. I would have become an outcast of my community
2. My family would most probably strongly dislike me and lose respect for me, for the rest of my life.
3. I didn’t know how to support the child, financially.
4. Where would I live? In England or move to the Middle East?
5. The family of the father would not like me either – their son chose a ‘whore’.

Despite these reasons (and more), I still feel like they are excuses. I think about it and I want to talk about it. I want to cry about it, but I can’t because I know the judgements people would have of me and that is the exact reason I didn’t go through with the pregnancy. Perhaps I think too much about what others think of me, but I didn’t want my child to enter this world and be judged for having a ‘whore’ as a mum.

I am a British Pakistani, Muslim (by name) and I had an abortion. I don’t regret it but I think about it every day and wonder what our child would have looked like or grown up to be.