You’re not alone

by Olivia

August 16, 2021

I’ve always wanted to share my story here, but have hesitated because I had a negative experience, and didn’t want to perpetuate the negative stereotypes of abortion. But each experience is varied and valid, and I hope someone can find comfort to know there are others who grieved deeply, instead of feeling alone.

I found out I was pregnant one early morning in the bathroom, my boyfriend waiting for me outside. I remember seeing the double lines show up instantly, and I felt like I was cheated out of the extra time to steel myself. I think of that moment as the one that divides my life into before and after.

I’ve always wanted children and I couldn’t help but feel a quiet, secret joy even though ultimately, I knew it wasn’t the right time. I’m still studying, my partner and I don’t have our careers settled, and we were newly together. As much as I wanted it to be, it just wasn’t the right time.

That didn’t stop me from forming an immense bond in the short time I had pregnant. There were ten days between taking the test and attending the clinic, and everything I did in that time, I did pregnantly. The more I loved it, the more devastating it was. I spent the suspended-limbo time crying, barely sleeping, and desperately wanting to not exist for a few months, just to wake up to nothing having ever happened. I don’t think I will ever be able to adequately describe the tender, gut wrenching ache of that time. I felt like my body emanated sadness.

I went to a local clinic and am lucky in Australia that access to abortion is safe, legal, and easy.

Because of covid, my partner wasn’t allowed in with me and I had to go in alone. The doctor was callous, and completely devoid of compassion, just wanting his day to move on. I have never felt more vulnerable, terrified, or depleted of power in my life.

I had to keep my pregnancy and abortion a secret from my parents due to their religious upbringing. We are normally close, so having this divide in our relationship – having to pretend everything was normal versus the actual grieving state I was in – was an additional loss.

I found it extremely hard to let go afterwards. I followed a pregnancy tracking app and would check it weekly, feeling like I had a phantom limb. My partner would regularly find me collapsed on the floor or curled up crying in the middle of the night. It was the darkest time in my life and I still struggle now, over a year later, although it does get easier. Or, at least, different.

I understand this is not everyone’s experience, and I’m so glad that is the case.

The clinic offered an exceptional phone-counsellor after my procedure who I will always be grateful to for her warmth and generosity of care. She explained that grief doesn’t always mean it was the wrong decision, but can just be a representation of the difficulty of having to make it.

To anyone who feels the same – just know you’re not alone. Look at the stats. Trust in your decision. Listen to “Voicemail for Jill”. Read supportive, verified pro-choice books on abortion. If you’re able to, find a good therapist to help you through. There is no shame in what we went through, only strength. Sending love.

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