Guest post – author wishes to remain anoymous.
I have two kids already, and then I fell pregnant late 2016. It was a highly abusive relationship and it was another form of control by my other half at the time. It was deemed too dangerous to continue the pregnancy and at 11 weeks I had an abortion. Four months after I became pregnant again but I became poorly and for medical reasons required an abortion at 17 weeks gestation with Ava.
I wish people wouldn’t say it was a choice . This is because sometimes a ‘choice’ isn’t a choice for the woman involved. It’s a situation and there is only going to be one outcome unfortunately when it comes to factors such as domestic abuse and poor health. Abortion is often offered up as a ‘choice’ for woman who have ‘unwanted pregnancies’ but sometimes that choice is out of your hands and it is like any other medical procedure that is required to save or help somebody’s life. There were reasons outside of my control both times and it was deemed the only option. Was it my choice still?
The phrase ‘unwanted pregnancy’ is often used around abortions but I can tell you from experience that this is not the case a lot of the time. As I sat in the BPAS clinic I saw women from all the United Kingdom come and go, I spoke to a few and their babies are, and were, very much wanted but their situations weren’t too dissimilar to mine. My babies are still talked about. I have their scan photographs up on my fridge, in my room, I never forget them as part of my family and this is because they were wanted. Please stop saying these babies are unwanted. It hurts.
It is still baby loss – even if the baby loss community doesn’t seem to accept us. The hardest thing about abortion is not being able to grieve properly. In the following weeks and months after my procedures I realised the stigma and controversy surround abortions meant I couldn’t seek support from individuals including medical professionals or my family who have strong catholic values. However I still lost my babies and abortions are still baby loss. Although it feels almost like you’re not part of the ‘baby loss’ club. It’s so hard to find anybody on social media who’s so open about it. I do feel that abortions should be talked about in the same light as miscarriages as women who have had these procedures are unable to grieve properly with the current stigma. It’s just not fair on us.
Other people’s preconceived ideas and beliefs affected my recovery more than I thought they would. As with everything support from family and friends is important for recovery. However due to others beliefs about abortions, many of the people I knew isolated me. This massively impacted my mental health as I was not able to talk about what was in my head. It’s taken almost a year until I met my current other half, who’s been the most supportive person ever, to seek the support that I needed. However support for me – post abortion – took time. Even though it was not there immediately it’s worth it’s weight in gold. I’m forever in debt in my other half for this as it’s meant that I’ve been able to get better mentally. Let us talk about our abortions openly please.
Not everybody will judge you and you are not alone. Although it is may be hard to access support sometimes from close ones, there is help out there that won’t judge you for your situation. My second abortion was with The British Pregnancy Advisory Service and not at the local hospital. Although I have personally not taken up their post abortion support they do offer a range of support. They will always listen. No matter how long it’s been since you lost your baby or if you’re thinking about abortion.
Not having a baby to hold is harder than you think. It’s the darkest times being stuck in those waiting rooms – especially at the hospital – watching other people have their new babies knowing I can’t leave the hospital with mine. Even though I didn’t have this level of hurt in my second it was harder in ‘the real world’ of day to day life as I was further along with Ava. In the following weeks I couldn’t bare going out. If I saw a baby I just cried, pregnant women made me feel worse, I was angry and I kept asking ‘why can’t I have my baby?’ but over time I’ve found joy for these women and peace with this part of my journey. It’s taken the best part of a year I’ll admit but I’ve made peace even if it still hurts.
‘You can always have another baby’… that won’t replace my child. As much as I want to be pregnant again I’m scared of my health declining. I know I would have more support than during my previous but regardless of how a baby is lost that fear of loss will always be there.
‘Why abort a baby if you’re wanting another?’ Again, there were reasons for this procedure being granted. Although I do want another baby it scares me. You cannot replace a lost baby with another baby.
‘I could never have an abortion’. This is something I’ve been told and heard multiple times and it’s something I said too, until I was in this situation. When push comes to shove and you’re mentally and physically unwell or in a life or death situation you have no choice. You have to do what is needed for your family’s safety and for your own health. It is nothing to be ashamed about if the timing are situation is not right.
Having an abortion does not make you a bad person. It is not a reflection on you. After my procedures I felt like the worst person on earth. I lost a lot of my friends, I felt so alone. However with time I’ve learnt I’m not a bad person for having an abortion. It is just a medical procedure that was required in my situation – even if the guilt and shame is there to tell me otherwise.