My Abortion experience – My circumstances & how I’ve overcome the shame I’ve felt for twelve years.

by Grace

November 13, 2020

Content Warning: self-harm, physical & mental abuse

I became pregnant when I was sixteen years old, I’d found myself in an abusive relationship. He coerced me, mentally & physically abused me. I didn’t realise that I was even pregnant until after I’d missed a period and I was throwing up every morning. I took a pregnancy test in the Edinburgh Dungeon’s toilets of all places. I was shocked when those two lines appeared, I felt sick, I was in shock. The Father was amongst the big group of alternative folks at our usual hang out spot, at the top of Princess St. Gardens. I’d hidden the pregnancy test up my sleeve (I wiped it first of course). I went up to him, slyly showing what I had hidden…He glared at me, he told me that the baby wasn’t his. He was far from wrong because he was the first & only person I had sexual intercourse with at this stage.

Regarding his first reaction was to disbelieve me & attempt to accuse me of being with someone else was certainly a kick in the gut as I knew he’d cheated on me multiple times. Anyways, so deep down I realised what I would need to do. I felt alone, my self-esteem was at rock bottom because of the abuse I was experiencing, I didn’t think I would make a good Mother. I spent a week+ in absolute turmoil of not knowing what to do. I remember getting a scan at the Royal Infirmary, I wasn’t able to see the life that was growing inside of me because I was considering in having an abortion. I feel if I had seen & heard their heartbeat, I wouldn’t have gone through with it. I spent this time in absolute turmoil. I was an emotional mess, I self-harmed so badly that it needed stitches, but didn’t go to the hospital in case I got sectioned as I was a danger to myself. I realise now, that being sectioned probably would have been the best thing for me back then.

Anyways, because I didn’t realise I was pregnant for some time, I was too far along to get the tablet form of abortion & was booked in for a surgical abortion. If I had any idea of the possibility of being pregnant due to failed contraception, I’d have gone and got the morning after pill. To my disgust, I realised that my abusive ex had removed the condom during intercourse, without my knowledge and I only found out that there’s a name for this – Stealthing. This was a shock to the system and explained the whole lead up to this happening, he was telling me that he wanted to have a baby with me. I realise I was so deep in the abuse that I didn’t notice those signs until talking through them in therapy. I feel sick to my stomach, I could have dealt with it if it was failed contraception but to realise he deliberately tried to get me pregnant without my knowledge, I felt extremely violated.

Anyways, so I spent the lead up to the abortion (22.10.08) in complete turmoil, I hated myself. I hated what I was having to do, I hated myself for letting it happen, despite the abuse, I still somehow trusted him & was in complete disbelief that he would treat another human being like that, especially when it was someone he supposedly ‘loved’. I realise now that he’s a complete narcissist, he had absolutely no remorse or took any form of accountability for his actions. I also realise now that he’s done this to other people as well. It’s barbaric. I blamed myself, I felt that I could have done more to stop this from happening.

I remember the night before the 22nd, I was lying in bed holding my stomach, crying my eyes out, wishing that things were different, I said out loud, ‘I’m sorry for doing this to you baby, I love you so much’. That memory sticks in my head to this day. I couldn’t bring a child into this world with an abusive Father like that. I would have had to go through the courts to gain full custody & get a restraining order on him as my baby’s safety would have been at risk in his company & I certainly wasn’t having that. I felt that I wouldn’t have been a good Mother at the age of sixteen. Now, through therapy & being in a safe & healthy relationship. I’ve had the time & safe space to talk through & process all this. I realise now that I would have made a damn good single Mum, but that’s just something I have to live with.

I remember going through into the operating room after changing into the gown that shows yer butt. The surgeons/staff were so lovely & kind. I remember one of them telling me to count to ten & that I’ll be asleep before then…. In my mind I thought, nah, this isn’t going to work…I got to number four and I was out. I remember thinking & hoping that I wouldn’t wake up from that anesthetic. I hated myself so much for what I was doing. I wanted to die, I wanted to be free of the guilt, the overall emotional and physical pain I was experiencing.

I remember clearly, waking up, looking around me. It took me a moment to remember what had just happened. I looked down to find a hell of a lot of blood on the sheets. I remember thinking, oh damn, I’ve survived this. I still felt out of it due to the anesthetic.

I didn’t cope well through the aftermath of this trauma I had experienced. I turned to alcohol, experimented with drugs & didn’t care for myself much, I also went from relationship to relationship. I realise my attachments were screwed up & I found it difficult to trust anyone.

I found out I was pregnant two weeks into starting college, I managed to somehow graduate with my Animal Care Certificate. Even now, I still can’t believe that all I’ve shared so far is about me, I’ve always felt so detached from this personal experience because it’s been too painful to speak of & process psychologically. I experienced issues with extreme pain in my abdomen on my left side not too long after the surgical abortion. I ended up having to get an ultrasound but absolutely nothing of abnormality showed. After seeing a few Doctors about it, one Doctor was able to conclude that I’d actually damaged my liver due to alcohol consumption. This shocked me a bit and I stopped drinking for about a month & then I continued binge drinking. I really didn’t care about myself; I was on anti-depressants, I constantly projected my hurt & pain on to others. I almost got back with my abusive ex in 2011 but then I realised that I didn’t deserve his mind games & ended things. I only really began to acknowledge this whole experience in therapy at the beginning of 2019, I just let it all rip and didn’t hold back, my therapist was amazing, she was understanding & non-judgmental. I understand now that abortion is a form of loss for me, and it’s okay to grieve this painful loss. I always blamed myself and felt that I didn’t deserve to feel absolutely devastated & broken because I made that choice to end my pregnancy.

I’m only really processing this loss now, in a healthier way. I used to torture myself & constantly search and look at 9 weeks & 3 day old baby scans. I still carry a lot of hurt, frustration & anger but I’m in a much better place now. I realise now, that I deserve to be a Mum, and I know I will make a damn good one. My Fiance is amazing & he’s shown me how I deserve to be loved, respected & appreciated for who I am. I realise I didn’t deserve what happened to me. I am now a qualified Counsellor, which has been a roller coaster of a journey as I’ve had to pull back all my defenses, detachments & face what I’ve been avoiding for over a decade. Processing trauma has been one of the hardest things that I’ve done but I now see the bigger picture. I see my future now, and it’s a damned good one. I’m enjoying life again despite all that I’ve been through. I’m giving myself permission to feel the hurt that repressed for years which is tough but I know I’m strong enough to do it. A part of me will always feel sad for what happened with my first pregnancy & I will always love & remember them. I lost a part of me that day, and I know there will always be an empty space within me that will never return but it is what it is.

I used to feel a hell of a lot of shame for getting an abortion, like how people would judge you etc. I’ve taken time to break away from the shame & stigma that can come with abortion. I will speak my truth, I will help others to break away from the shame too because we deserve to be able to take a stand and say ‘This happened to me, having an abortion doesn’t make me a bad person’.

I realise now that I’m a strong woman who is capable of healing & providing support to others experiencing bad times in their lives. I understand the strong attachment between a narcissist & an empath and I also understand that we trauma bonded, which for us, was extremely toxic. I will always feel an extreme amount of anger towards the Father of my child as nobody deserves to be treated this way.

I realise my worth now and will continue to fight for reproductive/abortion rights until the day I die.


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