real life

He thought it was the best thing to do. For us.

Is there any way to know when this will become less likely?
Pregnant, 18, and scared senseless.

 By ANONYMOUS

I remember the day I became an adult: I was 18.

I moved from a country town, right across Australia to a large city. To look for a job, to decide what I wanted to do with my life after finishing school.

I didn’t know many people but I was young, carefree and enjoying meeting new friends and having new experiences.

I met a man and fell for him in a big way. I fell in love; had a fun time, traveling for weekends away, going to clubs and bars. We both worked, he had started a career but I was still deciding what I wanted to be. I worked in cash jobs. Just enough to pay my way and live in the moment.

About 6 months into the relationship everything changed. I missed a period. I purchased a pregnancy test. It was positive. A forgotten pill. A life changing error.

My boyfriend was convinced the test was wrong. The doctor was sure it was right.

I was alone in a new city and scared. My strict Catholic upbringing and personal belief was that I had to have this baby. I didn’t believe in abortion for myself. I had always thought it was something for other people to worry about. Not me. I would never be in that situation.

My boyfriend did not want a baby. He was absolutely sure that we had to terminate.

He would not consider any other possibility.

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I went back to the doctor and asked his opinion. He suggested we make an appointment at a pregnancy advice centre for counseling about what we should do. We went along after work one night.

The pregnancy advice centre was essentially a pro life organization in disguise. They told us having an abortion would increase my chance of breast cancer, infertility, death.

They showed us awful, terrible photos that they said were the product of termination. They said that I must have the baby, it was the only right thing to do.They pushed their cause blatantly. They confused a vulnerable young teenager even more.

We left. He was angry. I was shaking, upset, sad, confused.

The doctor apologized and said he had no idea the advice centre was like that. He seemed to want me to hurry up and make a decision.

Baby or abortion. That simple.

He didn’t seem bothered either way. He didn’t ask me if I had family or friends to talk to.

My boyfriend convinced me that it was the only thing to do.

We couldn’t be parents. We were too young. Not financially secure. Not together long enough. Not prepared.

I was booked in to a local private hospital for the procedure. It wasn’t an abortion clinic. My boyfriend was happy to pay for the anonymity this afforded.

We arrived. They explained that I would have a general anesthetic and they would dilate my cervix with rods, and then scrape and suction the contents of my uterus away and remove the pregnancy. I cried, cried and sobbed uncontrollably until I fell asleep. The nurses were professional but nothing more. I felt that they were judging me for my choice.

I woke up, sat and had a cup of tea. I was given a leaflet explaining the after effects. I would have stomach cramps, bleeding for a couple of weeks. I was told to call my doctor if the pain was severe or the bleeding was getting heavier not lighter. I was sent home with my boyfriend to rest and get on with my life.

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We hugged. He said I was brave. He bought me chocolates and flowers. We didn’t really speak about what had happened.

Feeling alone and depressed.
Feeling alone and depressed. She turned to counseling.

It was over.

Except it wasn’t. I began to have nightmares, I cried constantly, we argued. I felt angry, sad. I couldn’t look at pregnant women or babies without feeling terrible.

I regretted the decision, the abortion,everything. I felt guilty whenever I rang my parents. I had a secret weighing me down. I couldn’t talk about it.

The doctor gave me the name of a counsellor. I made an appointment, my boyfriend drove me there after work. The counsellor was nice and tried to engage me but I was stuck in my sadness and not able to talk.

It was an hour’s drive away and with work it was too hard to go back.

I sank into depression. My boyfriend wanted me to snap out of it, move on, it’s over he kept saying. I cried and cried. I screamed into my pillow at night. I hated myself, my boyfriend. I hated what I had done and thought I had ruined my life. I couldn’t talk to anyone as I was ashamed and thought I would be judged by anyone I confided in. I didn’t know anyone else who had had an abortion. I had never talked to anyone about abortion.

My boyfriend, although initially unsympathetic, matured into someone who realised I wasn’t coping.

I sought help with another counsellor. I talked about how alone I felt and how I felt pressured to make a choice quickly.

My boyfriend and I started talking about how we both felt and what we had done. I felt betrayed and needed to understand why he couldn’t consider having a child with me. For him it was the only choice, he felt it was wrong to have a child until you could look after it, financially and emotionally. He wasn’t able, at that point of his life, to be a proper father. He told me that he had no idea that it would affect me so much.

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He thought it was the best thing to do. For us.

We were able to work, study and grow up. We stayed together because we loved each other.

Years later, they now have planned children.

I am married to my boyfriend now. He is a wonderful husband and an amazing father to our beautiful children.

We are able to be good parents in lots of ways that we couldn’t have before. Our children are planned and wanted.

We are a solid family unit and can give our children security and love.

I felt sad when I saw early ultrasound pictures and thought of our first pregnancy many years before, but I have come to terms with my abortion and realize that what happened is not something to define myself with. It is a part of my life and I did what I did, we did what we did, because at the time there was no easy answer.

This story has haunted me for a long time and I want to reach out to those who are feeling like I did and say it’s okay. You are not a bad person. The fact that you are thinking about your choice means you are a good person.

You deserve support in whatever you decide.

Your choice is the right one for you.

The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous.

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