She Would Be 8 Now

by Anonymous

June 6, 2023

She would be 8 now.


She’s always in the back of my mind but today, on this rainy Saturday, a rare day where I feel physically tired, bored and unmotivated, far from my usual self, I lie in my bed thinking about my daughter that never was.


Nine years ago was like history repeating itself. I was in love. Turned out he was only interested in casual hook-ups. Exclusively with me but he didn’t want me emotionally. Our “relationship” had formed so quickly and spontaneously that I got pregnant before any contraception had a chance to work. He just used the ol’ pull-out trick. You know, ’cause condoms weren’t his style. I say history was repeating itself because I was in the same situation I had been in 15 years earlier, when my son was born. I was still financially unstable, used by an irresponsible man who didn’t really want me and on my own.


I had already struggled to provide for my son who I had considered aborting as I was only 19, but on the day, at the hospital, I wasn’t emotionally strong enough to go through with it. The evil surgeon that was set to carry out the abortion was condescending, unsympathetic, insulting and rude at my post-op appointment. She didn’t understand it was a one-night thing I felt I had no control over, with a guy who tried to insert but I told him to stop and I didn’t know he’d ejaculated, nor that it was close enough to my body that it managed to make an entry. I found that hard to explain because I didn’t want it sound like I was raped, and I knew it didn’t sound believable. It was unprofessional of her to ask all those probing questions anyway. When I deliberately looked away from the scan, she even printed out the picture and held it in front of my face, which I was trying to shield,  saying, “That’s your baby”. Why would someone who apparently disapproves of abortions, have a job carrying them out for people? Anyway, I think her bullying played a big part in my not going through with that first abortion; that and the fact that, on the day, I had to share a ward with two other women, one of whom was extremely patronizing, wouldn’t stop asking me about my “operation” and spoke to me like I was 12, even calling me a “little girl”. In that moment I wished I was a “little girl” because then I wouldn’t be in this situation. I guess it was all helping to push fate, though, along with the guilt I felt and the surprising love I could feel for the baby I was about to lose, because I approached a nurse and told her I’d changed my mind. I went home and yeah, I now have a fairly healthy 23-year-old son. I won’t go into his father’s awful treatment of me and his abusiveness towards both me and my son over the following years, as I’ve completely cut him out of my life but, yeah, it wasn’t nice and he never wanted a relationship with me.


So, here I was again. This time in my mid-30s and the irony of how stupid I felt that this was all happening again, was not lost on me. This time I had the determination to prevent history repeating itself. Another man who didn’t really want me would likely lead to the same awful treatment and potential emotional abuse I had already endured. That along with the financial struggle was not going to be good for either of my kids. Fortunately, I was now living in the time of the internet and was able to do some research. No appointments with condescending GPs, or unprofessional surgeons. I read about abortion pills and found a clinic. My experience with the staff at this clinic was filled with far more respect and sympathy, and they were not the slightest bit judgmental. They were actually professional. It was all treated in a matter-of-fact manner. When a scan was taken, the medical professional deliberately made sure I couldn’t see it and folded the print-out inwards, stapling it together so I couldn’t even accidentally catch a glimpse. I thanked them all for behaving so professionally and it only hit me then that I should have reported that woman I’d had an appointment with all those years ago because wow!

So the day of the abortion came around. I had been told exactly what to expect. It was straightforward. I had to insert a couple of pills into my vagina and take some orally. I went home and the pain and bleeding began. I took some painkillers and tried to sleep through it. When my son came home from school and asked why I was lying on the sofa, I just told him I didn’t feel too well. He still doesn’t know what was happening, to this day. I felt relieved and proud that I was emotionally strong enough to take control of my own body and my life. I didn’t regret it even though, deep down inside, I wasn’t proud that I had killed my own child.


After the process was over, there was still a lot of physical pain as the bleeding continued for three and a half weeks which the clinic staff and my research had told me to expect. I had been prescribed painkillers but I felt like I didn’t deserve to take them. I had ended my own daughter’s life (I sensed that she was a girl, just like I had sensed my son was a boy) and I felt I couldn’t be let off that easily without being punished so I didn’t take those painkillers and forced myself to endure the pain. I would also punish myself in other ways, for that first year. For example, if I was working outside and it began to rain, I would make no effort to keep myself warm or dry as I would tell myself I didn’t deserve it for what I’d done.


Now, eight years and three months after she would have been born, having most often confirmed to myself, over the years that I made the right decision, I lie in my bed wondering how her life, mine and that of my son’s would have turned out had she been born. I do miss her and what she would have been, from time to time, and I often feel frustrated that we live in a world where this subject matter, these stories, are considered too taboo to discuss with anyone. We have to keep it all inside. The only person I ever told was, obviously, the child’s father who, surprisingly, is still in my life, but he’s never offered, or given me the opportunity, to talk about my experience.


This probably sounds messed up, just based on the facts of this story but the father and I are still seeing each other. He still doesn’t want a relationship but he seems to do everything he can to keep me in his life. I’m happy with that, in a way, because relationships can get messy and a lot of them end. This way none of those negatives can ever happen. How a child would have factored into that, I don’t know, but based on my previous experience, it seems highly likely there would have been a lot of emotional and financial mess.


My advice is, if you have the opportunity to take control, there’s nothing wrong with taking it. Your wellbeing is allowed to take priority. We’re all human and can feel guilt or regret. That’s normal. It’s okay to remember and think about that child that never was but you know there were valid reasons for making the decision you made. That’s how you know your decision was right.


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