*Trigger Warning* Before continuing, please note, this post contains some emotional content as well as discussions of abortion procedure which can be a potential trigger to some
SOMETIME IN SEPTEMBER 2016
“Do you ever think about our abortion?” I texted him.
We had recently broken up, so this was a completely out-of-the-blue message for him. I had been discussing my abortion in therapy (a lot), so it was not out-of-the-blue for me.
“No, I don’t think about it often, and when I do, it does upset me” Duck replied.
I then explained to him that I think about it a lot, and that it’s an event in my life which was quite traumatic, and one that I am still struggling to come to terms with.
I OFTEN have flashbacks of the time around this abortion; before, during and after. And it often leaves me feeling nauseous.
Then, I told him, for the first time ever: “You decided that abortion. I wish you had allowed me the time to come to a decision myself. But you pressured me to have it done when you wanted it done”
His response was infuriating: “Why? Could you see yourself with a kid now? Do you actually think we could have had a baby?”
THE ABORTION – SOMETIME IN MAY 2007
See, for me, it’s not about having a baby; it’s about being allowed to decide what happens to MY body. I look back now, and realise that I’ve always been naïve and a pushover; I was too sensitive and too soft. And he knew that. (Random side note: I am starting to embrace my sensitivity, and to work with it – it makes me a nice, empathetic, human! Who’dda thunk!)
So, by the time I found out that I was pregnant (around April 2007), he knew that he had control of the situation. “Just book an appointment as soon as possible” He would say.
My reply usually was: “But I’m not ready, I want to think about it; I need more time”
“What for??!” Duck was obviously annoyed “The longer you leave it, the worse it will get. We know that whatever happens, you are not going to keep “it”, so what’s the point in waiting?”
And thus, I booked the earliest appointment at my local abortion clinic and all in all, I had my pregnancy terminated within three weeks of finding out about it.
When the doctor told me that my test came back positive and I was eight weeks pregnant, it was a huge shock, but it also seemed so obvious because I was having all the symptoms a pregnant woman apparently experiences; morning sickness (more like ALL fucking day sickness), no periods, sore breasts, tiredness, cravings (especially for fresh orange juice – I would easily go through twelve oranges a day).
I’ve always said that I never wanted kids, and I still don’t. But once it was confirmed that I was pregnant, it’s like I instantly fell in love with whomever was growing inside me. I was attached to this little thing that I had never met – and never would – it’s so bizarre; I’ve always found kids to be very irritating and here I was, considering keeping a baby at the age of 19.
Although, I also felt like I knew that I couldn’t go ahead and keep this child; I had so much living left to do – I wanted to travel, I wanted to go to university, I wanted to do too many things which did not involve a child. And I wasn’t feeling well at all; I have a mental illness (which I didn’t know then) and I was unwell, and I was also in a very unstable and toxic relationship, which was causing a lot of damage to my health (which I didn’t know then either) (I didn’t know A LOT around that time).
Can you imagine bringing an innocent, vulnerable child into this environment?! It’s cruel. I have always believed that if I had kids, I’d fuck them up. If I had brought a child into this messy world that I was in, it was guaranteed to ruin somebody else’s life, as well as mine. And I just couldn’t do that; not for the vulnerable child that I was nor for the vulnerable child I would have given birth to.
So, no I couldn’t have kept this baby. And I honestly believe that I would have always gone through with that abortion.
The problem is, I didn’t decide it. I needed time; I wanted time SO badly. I just needed to process the situation and arrive at the “I’m having an abortion” decision for and by myself. I’m talking about taking a few more days or a couple of weeks here, to really weigh my feelings and options. Instead, Duck made that decision for me.
He did come with me to have the procedure done, and he felt like some sort of hero for doing so.
The process involved having a check-up at a GP/doctor surgery close to the abortion clinic, and then us walking over to the abortion clinic to have the actual procedure done. I wish I had the guts to go back there and tell them that THIS IS AN AWFUL PROCESS; at the GP/doctor office, I had an ultra sound done, which I was then responsible for taking over to the abortion clinic – the two buildings were approximately ten minutes’ walk apart – those were ten minutes I spent walking from doctor surgery to abortion place with my ultrasound in my hands! Duck made sure to take this ultra sound and hide it from me (Maybe it was obvious that I wasn’t completely okay with all this, so he needed to make sure that I didn’t fall even more in love with this baby. That’s my guess)
Unfortunately, though, I still wonder: WHAT DID MY BABY LOOK LIKE?!
I know that’s ridiculous; I know this wasn’t a Polaroid of what my baby would have actually looked like. But, I should’ve been allowed to see that fucking ultra sound. I needed closure…or something. It was my right, damn it.
The whole process – from going in to the clinic, to leaving the place – took around three hours. I went in and Duck was there to take me home once it was all done (At least that).
I remember getting undressed and putting on one-of-those hospital gowns on, then lying down with two male doctors trying to distract me from what was about to happen. They asked if I had any holiday plans for the summer, so I told them that “no” but I had “just returned from a month-long holiday in Jamaica”. “It’s such a beautiful place” I remember adding.
The doctor explained to me that he would keep talking to me until I fell asleep, and that when I woke up, it would all be done and I would be taken to a different room, where I would have some time to relax and change into my clothes.
He then continued to ask me about my trip to Jamaica.
So, I carried on talking: “We went to a place called Negril, and…” everything started to become a blur, and suddenly I was asleep.
I woke up in a different room, “I’m sorry, we had to move you before you woke up as you were taking a while and there was another woman waiting to go in” a nurse explained to me.
There were around four or five other women in this new room; all in hospital gowns and all looking quite groggy, like myself.
Soon, I realised that I had tears rolling down my face. As I tried to wipe them away, I couldn’t help but cry even more; I had no control of my tears.
The whole procedure just felt wrong, oh so wrong; me lying down half-naked and opening my legs to two strange men, then waking up in a strange room, surrounded by strange people, with a sanitary towel between my legs (there’s bleeding, a lot of bleeding after an abortion. At least there was for me).
After trying to get rid of my tears, it then hit me that I’d just had an abortion and that some strange person had put that underwear with a sanitary towel on me, because I sure as hell wasn’t even conscious, so I couldn’t have done it. That feeling, of somebody else doing something to me whilst I was unconscious, didn’t sit well with me at all. I felt, and still feel, really fucking shit about it.
I remember feeling violated, and such intense sadness took over me. That sadness is now, mostly anger.
Now, I know why that felt so incredibly awful. I have finally accepted (thanks to therapy) that I was sexually abused as a child, and the sexual abuse always took place whilst I was asleep, and often I would wake up with my abuser’s hands pulling my underwear lower. So, this abortion procedure was not only traumatic on its own, but it also took me back to a real dark time in my life. Something Duck will never know or understand. In the end, I spent a decade involved with Duck, and he still has no idea who I am.
Anywhoozle, back to post abortion. When I finally woke up properly (and felt less groggy from the drugs), I started talking to another girl who was in the room with me. She told me that she had travelled from Leeds, where she was going to university, to have this procedure done at home (in London). I then told her about my plans of going to university in Leeds and how I couldn’t wait to leave London. She talked about all these awesome times of her student life. It sounded SO much better than having an abortion! I wish I could somehow find this person and thank her for that conversation, because for a few minutes, she had me thinking of the future, rather than the awful reality that was my life at that moment. She helped me stop the tears and calm down, so I could change and get outta there! To this beautiful woman: thank you, lovely stranger.
SHIT ALWAYS HAS TO GET COMPLICATED
The months following my abortion were chaotic. I went back to work, Duck and I were fighting a lot, and I was bleeding heavily, from my abortion, still.
My doctors were concerned with my constant loss of blood; a couple of months on and I was still bleeding non-stop, and so, I was sent back to the abortion clinic to check if everything was okay.
I remember the day of my follow-up appointment like it was yesterday; I left work early, and on the way to the clinic, I had a panic attack (my biggest panic attack until 2013) – I was walking through a graveyard on the way to the train station (yes, a graveyard! You couldn’t make this shit up), and suddenly I started hyperventilating. This episode lasted a few minutes and when I could finally catch my breath again, I called Duck (who was also at work) and asked him to meet me at the clinic because I didn’t think that I would make it there on my own.
To my surprise, Duck did meet me, but unfortunately, there was a problem with my appointment and we ended having to reschedule. The new appointment date didn’t suit Duck, so I was left to come back on my own (luckily my best friend was able to return with me, but I mean, how shit of this boy!).
I must add that Duck couldn’t come to this appointment, because he was “busy playing football with the boys”. Only at 28 years old – and almost a decade later – have I realised just how fucked up his reason was for not accompanying me, to an appointment to check on the complications I was having, due to the abortion he fucking pressured me to get. Better that I understand that now than never, I guess.
Soon after this appointment, Duck went off on a holiday to Ibiza, and left my crazy ass alone in London to deal with the aftermath of my abortion. He was actually planning on finding a job and staying in Ibiza. I didn’t see how unbelievably selfish that was at the time, then this year (again, thanks to therapy), it hit me, just how much that affected me. There I was struggling to come to terms with this abortion, still bleeding and the only person that truly knew what was happening (because I’ve spent my whole life being a closed fucking book!) fucked off to flirt with new girls in fucking Ibiza (it’s surprising how much I still love that bloody island!)
I continued bleeding for just over eight months. I had several check-ups, and was informed that the bleeding would continue for a while but everything was taken care of and I was going to be fine. I was then given medication for the bleeding, and finally, eight (ish) months on, the bleeding stopped. And by this point, Duck and I were also broken up (but we would soon be back together. Hooray(!).
BACK TO 2016 AND ME NEEDING TO TALK ABOUT THIS ABORTION
So, when I messaged him, wanting to discuss this abortion, and he responded with “I stand by my decision” I felt such intense rage that I think I could have murdered him slowly had he been with me when this happened.
But this was our vicious cycle; he would use & abuse and do anything he wanted with me, I would take it for a while, then we’d break up and he would crawl back into my life again. So, this type of response, and behaviour in general, was normal for us; I never stood up for myself, so he knew that he could say and do whatever the fuck he wanted.
Except, now, in 2016, it was different, I ‘m finally beginning to understand what happened over the years I spent with this guy, and I was finally letting myself feel the pain and really REALLY go back and think about what happened with us.
So, this time, we really were over. We really are over. And I couldn’t be more relieved.
Good fucking riddance. The boy, not the baby. Coming to terms with that time of my life is still very much work in progress, but I am glad that in the end I had the abortion; I do think it was the right decision for both myself and child. I just wish that I had come to that decision myself, and not simply gone ahead with what a boy wanted me to do.
I must add that, if you are or if you ever find yourself in a similar situation to me, please seek help. Please speak to your loved ones, friends, counsellor or doctor, just talk to someone you trust about what it is you are going through. Abortions can be quite traumatic, but with the right support, things can be very different for you. My advice, based on my experience, is always ask for help from those around you that love you and you can trust. Support is extremely important in these times, and I wish that I had been open and honest about this time of my life.