I had an abortion to save my sanity

by Harriet

October 7, 2021

Content Warning: mention of suicide

I was in my late thirties and childless when I had my first abortion. The pregnancy was unplanned but not entirely unwanted. I was married, we both had stable jobs, and neither of us had grand ambitions for the future.

Earlier in our marriage we experienced infertility, we tried to conceive with IVF, Chinese medicine etc, nothing worked. After trying for many years, we gave up and embraced our childfree life.

For whatever reason, this pregnancy was not compatible with me. I had antenatal depression from the beginning of this pregnancy, even before I found out I was pregnant. I was no longer myself, I was miserable, I felt no joy nor excitement nor happiness, I was lethargic and exhausted and I lost interest in everything in life. I couldn’t do anything at all. I was suicidal. I knew this wasn’t normal but the health professionals couldn’t help me, they were in the hope game with me, “hopefully you’ll feel better after the first trimester” they’d say, “there’s a lot going on in your body right now”. Every hour was as long as a day when I was suffering, a full trimester seemed like an eternity and I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even if I did get better in the second trimester, there was a risk it would come back in the third trimester and I also had high risk for developing postpartum depression. I just couldn’t see it working out and I was in such a dark place.

I was so unwell that I prayed for a miscarriage. I regretted getting pregnant though I couldn’t have known better, I thought I was infertile. But the decision to terminate was a big deal, this could be our only chance to parenthood. I pushed my depressed self so hard to continue with the pregnancy, I had breakdowns everyday. My husband was amazing and supportive but this took a toll on him too. We kept on pushing ourselves to keep this “gift from the universe”. One day, we both broke down and I finally thought, maybe I should terminate to save my own sanity and my marriage. When we finally made the decision to terminate, we both felt so relieved, and it was the right decision for us. I began feeling better straight after the abortion and it saved my life. It’s scary to think I was so depressed and close to committing suicide. The actual procedure was a breeze, lucky we are in a place with legal and safe abortion clinics.

I decided to share my story because reading others’ stories here gave me strength when I was making my own decision. I saw so many women going thru the same excruciating decision process.

No one ever said to me it’s ok to put myself first during my pregnancy, everything became about this unborn fetus and its future. So I’m saying that to you now. It’s ok, you don’t have to sacrifice everything to have a baby. It’s ok to terminate a pregnancy if it’s too much for your mental/physical health. You matter, you should come before the fetus.

We are in such a pro-natal world, there’s probably 1 article on abortion to 1000 articles on pregnancy. But it’s ok to get an abortion because it is the right thing for you. I’m so glad this website exists and allows women to share their real stories.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!