My abortion guilt

by Morgana

October 26, 2020

I would like to start by saying my abortion experience in terms of access was not difficult. My heart breaks for those who have not had the same privilege.

I feel very thankful that I had a doctor who referred me with no judgement at a time when abortions were only accessible if referred/ recommended by a doctor. It is those who I believed closest to me who made my experience difficult and have left me long term guilt and embarrassment.

In 2011 I had abortion after becoming pregnant with my then boyfriend. I chose this as I felt I was too young and unable to care for a child. I had this conversation with my boyfriend and it was a choice we made together, privately. My mother has always been supportive and helped me through the entire process.

At the time, I was an elite rower and the procedure would require time off training. I felt too ashamed to share the real reason with my coaches or my friends/training partners. So, instead I said I was having minor surgery. A week later I went back to training feeling normal again. What I did not know is that, like as if we were in some drama/reality series, my boyfriend, also a rower, had told every single person in the rowing community behind my back that I had, had an abortion.

Not one of my friends came to tell me, or ask me how I was. I was eventually told about this by a young male coach. I also was shown screenshots of messages between my boyfriend and his friend. Where his friend said ‘she should have aborted herself like she aborted that fetus.’

I have not been able to get those words out of my head almost a decade later. Even though I know I made the right choice about my health, I feel so guilty because the society around me made me feel ashamed for what I had done. I would have been damned if I had a child so young and I was damned because I chose not to have a child. I feel scared about what it will be like when I am ready to have a child, I don’t know yet if it will be easy or hard. I am scared that if it is hard I will punish myself even more with this guilt I feel.

What I want is for abortion to not be something that laws need to be made to make it legal, but for it to just be a health care option for those who need it. It should not be something for political debate, it should just be a health right. Maybe then society will be less judgmental of those who need to access abortions.

Thank you for just providing me with a platform to write out my story. I have never articulated these thoughts. I hope this will help me process and let go of my shame a guilt. I appreciate the work you are doing.

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