My abortion journey through two ten years apart

by Cassie

October 26, 2020

Content Warning: sexual & physical abuse

Since my childhood, I have experienced multiple adversities. The first was that of sexual abuse, and the secrecy around this led to unresolved feelings and I now understand this to have influenced my later life decisions. Aged 16, I entered an abusive relationship with a 20 year old male. This lasted 5 months and I fell pregnant around 3 months in. I struggled to make a decision for myself, but ultimately, given my age and the nature of the relationship, I knew I was signing myself and the child up for a life sentence of abuse and unhappiness. So I made the decision to terminate this pregnancy, and I knew it was the right thing for me and the child, and I still do.

The procedure for me was difficult (medical abortion), as I was calculated to be earlier on in the pregnancy than I actually was. I remember every detail of that day, and my child did not look how they told me it would, and this image will forever stay with me. I felt relief after that day – I was free to live. It honestly felt like how I imagine being released from prison would feel, but I promised myself I would leave my relationship at the time, and do everything I could to give myself a fruitful, quality life so that life experience was not in vain. Six days after that day, on my mothers birthday, the bleeding I experienced increased tenfold. I was in school at the time, and given no one knew I had had an abortion, I kept quiet even though I knew something was terribly wrong. Eventually, I had to make the decision to go to hospital again, and I took myself straight to the department where I had the termination 6 days before. I was told that I required a D&C, and so had to make the call to my parents that I was in hospital and explain why. My mother refused to come see me, but my dad did. The child’s father also refused to come, as he was cheating on me with his ex it turns out. I really had never felt so alone. This experience has truly affected every day of my life since, even though I know it was the right thing to do. Since then, I developed what I would relate to PTSD. I developed an intolerance for medical environments, cannulas, I had to stop eating certain foods because the colour reminds me of the child when I saw it, I had vivid dreams of the child grown, and avoided withdrawal bleeds from my pill. I also engaged in seriously reckless behaviour, and realise only now this was due to this experience. This experience was ten years ago now, and I would say I really only made some sort of peace around 3 years ago.

Since this, I stuck to my promise to make a good life for myself. I went to uni, I got my masters and I am a social worker now. Recently, I travelled the world. However, life turned upside down again for me and the day before I flew home from Australia in September, I found out I was pregnant again to a guy I had been sleeping with regularly. I felt so torn about this as I knew I again could not keep the child as I would be raising it alone, but also so conflicted because I promised myself if I ever found myself pregnant again I would keep it. The harder thing was that I found out I was pregnant the day before my first child should have celebrated its 10th birthday. It felt like either some incredible blessing, or some twisted joke. My initial thoughts were that “right I have been to University and I have traveled the world, this seems like the next chapter for me”, but my head said no. Having just returned from overseas, I had to self-isolate at home for two weeks before any appointment which caused me a lot of distress as I was experiencing a lot of pain in my abdomen and legs, and given my first experience of pregnancy, felt really quite terrified by this. I went to a local sexual health clinic for my first appointment and insisted that I undergo the second pill day within a hospital setting given my previous experience which they allowed. Although I went through all this alone and no one again except the father knows about it, this experience was physically, and so far, emotionally easier on me. I am so grateful that I had a choice, and whilst I harbour resentment for the difficulties I experienced with my first pregnancy, I am so grateful that I was able to come home to a country where I could access free, safe care.

Thank you for listening to my story.

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