A Letter to my Unborn Baby
Image by Frances Cannon
A few months ago, a close friend of mine confided in me, she was pregnant. And she had decided that it wasn’t her time, she was going to get an abortion. She hadn’t shared the news with anyone other than the people in her family. We talked for awhile, and hugged, and the next day, I respectfully asked her if maybe she wanted the opportunity to write something about it, to share her story with other girls and reflect on everything she has been going through. Bravely, my beautiful friend said yes. Here is her story, one I’m sure, of many. Lots of love to you my dear friend xx
Alex asked me to write about my experience with my abortion. If she had asked me this two months ago I would have said no way and gone back to hiding in my depressive hell hole of pure shame and disappointment.
When the two lines appeared on my pregnancy test, my world turned upside down. My life came to a halt. I am young, I come from a good family, I have an education and I had fallen pregnant from what was basically a one night stand. For weeks and weeks all I felt and thought about was what a complete failure I had become.
At first, I hid my pregnancy from close friends and family, it proved to be extremely hard and exhausting. I was constantly making up excuses so I could go to my pregnancy scans, blood tests and family planning appointments. I went to six appointments by myself and I cried my eyes out after every single one.
They were reminders I had completely fucked up and I had never felt more alone in my life.
I stopped talking, cooking, eating, working, reading, socialising, fitness – everything I love doing that makes me, me. I became really good at ‘pretending’ for a while. Pretending I was listening to someone, pretending I was engaged in a conversation, pretending I was laughing/being happy. I was faking my old personality to cover up how I was really feeling and what I was going through.
I didn’t tell anyone at first because I thought they would look at me and think what a disappointment and embarrassment I was, for the rest of my life. Abortion’s are often portrayed as a shameful and remorseful act that you must feel guilty about. This is all I knew about abortions so naturally these are the feelings I associated with my own experience.
I didn’t know how to deal with it any other way. I allowed all these horrible and demoralising thoughts define and control me because that’s what I thought I deserved. It was really hard.
Then I had a huge wake up call.
My mum realised I hadn’t been myself for a while. I had become very, very quiet and reserved. One night I went and hid in a random room in the house to be by myself. I found it difficult to be around people when I had awful thoughts buzzing around in my head.
Mum couldn’t find me and stressed out, she thought I had gone off to hurt myself or do something worse. She told me this the following morning when I finally confronted her about my pregnancy.
It really upset me that moping around had worried mum so much. I was so oblivious to how this had affected the people around me. When I told my parent’s they hugged and cried with me like I was a little girl again. They said the only sad thing is that I felt like I couldn’t tell them.
I can’t even begin to explain the weight that was lifted off my shoulders when the people I love knew what I was going through. After weeks and weeks of feeling like shit, it all vanished in seconds when I told them. It was pure relief. I only received love and support from them. Nothing close to disappointment and embarrassment. It was all in my head.
However, this brought upon a new challenge. I had accepted and felt comfortable with my pregnancy. I had a few moments when I thought – “maybe I could do this”. I know I am capable of raising a child but it’s not what I want right now and starting a family with the right person means a lot to me.
I could see my body slightly changing and I was okay with that. I couldn’t help but want this unborn baby to be okay even though I knew I was going through with the termination. I would consider the baby with everything I did. I ate more, I did less exercise, I slept a lot and I would talk to ‘it’. There was one day I tripped over and fell right on my front. I instantly put my hands on my stomach without even thinking. I was starting to put the needs of my unborn before my own and I couldn’t help it.
Hearing my family talk about their views on abortions completely changed the way I felt about what I was going through. They reminded me this is way more common than I thought and that I am not the only one in the world having a tough time. I felt more confident about my decision and the embarrassment about my pregnancy was fading away. I saw it as an unfortunate act I was doing out of love – for myself and the baby.
The day came to say goodbye. You were gone within 15 minutes. It was so fast and painless. It would upset me that I would touch my tummy and know you’re not there anymore. I felt like I had lost a friend. I was so sad but also relieved. I finally felt like I could move on with my life. I have now completely accepted I have had an abortion and I feel really comfortable with it…although it did take time.
I am sure thousands of women have gone through a similar experience and also felt the same way I did. It’s unfortunate that abortions have such a strong taboo around it, together we need to break it down and talk about it. Hundreds of abortions are performed daily so why do we shy away from the topic? Why put it in this shameful and embarrassing category? This does not help at all!! I know if abortions were a more acceptable act and topic it would have helped me. I hope one day it will because I would hate for any other woman to feel the same way I did.