It’ll all be alright

by Emily

October 4, 2022

Content Warning: mention of suicidal thoughts

I am so grateful for my abortion – now.

To set the scene a little, I met my boyfriend at work when I was 22 and he was 23, in late 2017. I was an apprentice, so on a fairly low wage; he was taking exams to become an actuary. Fast forward to May 2019, we’d just moved into our first rental flat together. We weren’t using any protection, just tracking my cycle and pulling out – I guess I’m a prime example of why that doesn’t work. About 6 weeks after we moved in together, I took the test and lo and behold, the unthinkable had happened. I was 24 years old.

My boyfriend practically broke down in tears. Everything he said was right – we’d only just moved in together, we were a little over a year into our (wonderful) relationship, we weren’t financially stable, he still had a long road of studying and exams ahead of him – a baby would change everything and certainly wasn’t in our immediate plans.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly excited at the revelation – I had always assumed I would have children one day, and it was sort of magical that we’d managed to conceive without even trying – but I couldn’t argue with the facts. I didn’t want to risk ruining the wonderful relationship we had and gamble on the future we could have. More importantly, I knew I didn’t want to have a baby if my boyfriend didn’t really want that baby too.

I made the appointment at the clinic after speaking to my GP, and went alone as my partner was in London for work on that particular day. Upon having the procedural ultrasound scan, I was informed that I was pregnant with twins, and asked if I still wanted to proceed, or did I need more time to think about it. My head immediately started spinning, but if my partner was against the prospect of one baby, it stood to reason that two babies would double his despair, and I was doubly resolute in my fate. I texted my partner the news and proceeded with the procedure.

I was given one pill on a Friday and told to come back to the clinic on the Monday to take the second pill. I returned home that Friday afternoon and the regret immediately hit me like a tonne of bricks. I felt like I had murdered my children. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a second, but the wheels were already in motion and I went back on Monday and took the second pill. I didn’t tell my friends or my family – what was the point? My boyfriend didn’t want to be a father and it was my responsibility to make the best decision for all of us.

I fell into the deepest depression of my life. I knew I couldn’t take back what I’d done, even though I wished more than anything that I could, and I wasn’t sure I could live with the guilt. It took over my life, and I thought about ending my life just to escape the pain that I was sure would never go away. My relationship fell apart – and then thankfully back together. It was an extremely isolating period because even my boyfriend – the other half of me – didn’t share my regret, or guilt. How could he? This hadn’t happened to him. The physical and mental toll was on me and me alone.

I took my antidepressants and went to therapy, but the rock-bottom depression lasted for about 18 months. What finally helped me heal was actually art, specifically two things: the song Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves, and the book The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. For me, the former was a huge metaphor for depression, and a reminder that things can get better. I still can’t hear that song without crying. The latter helped me see that there are infinite choices that we can make, and infinite paths we can take, and there is no one “right path” we can choose to take.

I had made a truly irreversible decision that changed the course of my life forever. Nothing would ever be the same again, I couldn’t undo what I did, and I would never be the same person again. And that’s okay.

It’s been over 3 years now since my abortion, and I think often about what my life could have been if I had gone through with the pregnancy: I would have had given birth to twins shortly before the outbreak of a global pandemic, I may not have completed my apprenticeship as quickly as I did, my boyfriend and I might not still be together (as I’m writing this, I’m sat in our first house, with one of our two kittens sleeping on my lap). So many wonderful (and terrible) things have happened in the last 3 years, and I’m finally at peace with my decision.

Life is good, and for me, things really did get better.

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