I never talked to anyone about how I was feeling, I never asked myself how I was feeling. I was 18, I had just started university. I had no means to support a baby, and I didn’t want one. Neither did my boyfriend. We made the decision so quickly, we barely discussed it. I knew my parents wouldn’t have wanted me to keep it. In some ways I feel like it was the only choice I’d have made, in others I feel like I didn’t have much choice. I didn’t know how to think or where to discuss options. I do believe I would have made the same decision anyway, but somehow it was so quick and so forced, I never understood how I really felt about it, I never considered an alternative. I went to the doctor and told him I was pregnant. I was an 18 year old student, and he said just one word in a bored voice- ‘abortion?’. I nodded and he handed me a slip of paper with an appointment on it. That was the whole discussion. Through the whole experience, I never spoke about it. I never stopped to think. I think I was afraid of what I might feel so I ignored everything and ploughed on, through the pain and the bleeding. Through the ruined mattress and the fear I might pass out in the shower from loss of blood. And through the day in the hospital, ignoring the shame of showing everything to the nurses, just willing it to be over so I could go home and forget about it. My boyfriend came with me, but he was itching to leave and go to a concert. I tried to pretend it was such a small deal for me as it was for him, even agreeing when he wanted to go to the student bar after. I felt like if I carried on like normal, it would all be normal. I never told him, or anyone else, that I saw the fetus in the bowl after I’d been to the toilet. That it looked like a tadpole, but the black eye like thing was huge, and looking right up at me.
I’ve lived a normal life since. I’ve been glad my life could carry on as I wanted it. But now it is almost a decade on and I find myself having days where I can’t comprehend how sad I feel about it. I’ve reached an age where a lot of close friends are having babies, and we’re discussing their scans. Sharing ultrasounds. I’ve come to realise that if I got pregnant now, I’d be shocked, but happy. I’d be ready. And now I feel like this person who could have a child, it makes it so much harder to reconcile with the 18 year old me who had a termination. And I don’t even know how to deal with it, because I have never spoken properly about it, to anyone. I’ve never allowed myself to feel anything about it. But truthfully under the surface, I feel sad, angry, guilty, sick and glad all at the same time. And I feel like I have no right to feel these emotions, because it was my choice, and it was so long ago. How do you deal with the emotions that come up so much later? That you’re not supposed to have?
I’m with someone new now, and it’s amazing. But he has a religious background. And I’m so scared that if I ever told him, it would be a deal breaker. Despite all my feelings above, I will never think I shouldn’t have done it, and I fiercely believe women should have the choice. It’s possible this could be an issue we can’t overcome. And how do I explain I’m not over it, but I’m still ok with my choice?