Abortion isn’t always hard.

When I received this post from Abi, there were many things that I felt.  But I think admiration trumped them all.  This is an incredibly gutsy post to write, about a topic that divides people the world over.  The moral lesson rammed into us from the media, from politicans, is that abortion should be a difficult decision to make.  And Abi argues the other side, with skill, and with grace.  

She said; “I am not sure if you will want to put this on your lovely pages. But if there is a blog that would attempt to tackle this, I thought it might be yours.”  She’s right. It’s a perfect post for Being a Woman Week.  Over to Abi:

 
  
My experience is only my experience. Everyone deals with this differently, and a lot depends on how someone truly felt about what they were doing. Whether it was consciously their decision, or perhaps encouraged by someone else.


What I wanted to tell you about, what I wanted to talk to you about, is choosing not to have a baby. Now this is a hard subject, not because of regret, but because of the sensitivity of those who have had OR who would never have had one. Some people would definitely not have made the same decision as me, and may feel that I am a bit blas√© in places… but this is just my truth.

At 22 I discovered I was pregnant.



So actually not that young really. But I felt like a child.


This was the summer after leaving Uni.  My heart broke when I left my Uni town, not only because after 2 years of basically living together, my boy and I were both going to our respective home towns, but because I was leaving what I still consider to be some of the best friends I have ever made, and a place that I felt had given me so much.


I was living back at home, pretty down because of that fact. I had a job (at least) but I felt pretty bored with it. My boy and I were doing the long distance thing and then one day in August I realised I was late, my boobs hurt, I couldn’t eat and I felt continually nauseous.


So I peed on a stick.

And lo and behold, there it was (SPELT OUT) “pregnant”.


Now I know some people agonize when they see this, some consider all their options and weigh up their decision. Some may shed tears and beat themselves up when they finally come to the decision.


I never did.


I’m a gut-reaction type of girl. I immediately called BPAS and booked in, straight away. I didn’t agonise over my decision, it felt like a no-brainer. I never really thought ‘I’m having a baby’ because I definitely wasn’t.  I have never, in the 6 years since, thought ‘I should have had a baby’. I never thought of it AS a baby.


I believe, hand on heart, that despite how much I loved my partner (my future husband) that at that time, this would have been too big for us. I can never regret what I did because I cannot imagine what my life would be like right now if I had made a different decision.


In terms of the future, I feel that in some ways we had an opportunity, we decided against it, so really, we need to consider a childfree life. Not that I think what I did was wrong (in any way), its just sometimes you feel like you should regret it, that you must be deficient of some ‘mum’ gene because you have never pined for that ‘baby’.


I totally agree with the options we have and feel incredibly lucky to have been able to make such an important decision about my life.


But here’s the thing. Despite my assertions that I did nothing wrong, that I never regret my decision and ultimately I believe my life is better for it, this decision has shaped me.


I have already been pregnant, even though only for a short time, so whenever people talk about pregnancy (early stages) I want to say ‘oh yeah, I remember’ but then I remember I can’t because I had an abortion AND PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THAT SO STOP BEING ICKY.


I have made a big decision about my life at the age of 22. Even though at the time it didnt feel like a big decision (Oh and I can completely agree with Caitlin Moran here about it taking longer to decide on a kitchen!)


I am getting married next year to the person I have been with since I was 19, and we have already made a decision about children by deciding not to have one. Whether that decision carries through indefinitely, who knows?


I feel like I want to say to people ‘hey, abortion? not so bad really‘. But I realise that for some people, it is horrible, and people have abortions for so many different reasons.
I felt very lucky in the fact that I was old enough to truly make my own decision and that I didn’t feel any pressure from parents or partner to do anything differently.
Ultimately I fell a little bit more in love with my boy after that, because of the way he looked after me, even though I didn’t realise I needed to be looked after.

I never felt I needed any sympathy (or deserved), because there was nothing wrong. We’d had an accident, I was pregnant and then I wasn’t.

I know for some it is never that simple, but for me, it was.

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Politics and Feminism
21 interesting thoughts on this

21 Comments

  1. Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    thank you for this. so deeply important to have this perspective out there. and also important to note that whatever your future holds – kids, no kids – you didn't 'relegate' yourself to anything at 22, 'choice' means making those choices over and over again, your whole life. really appreciate this.

  2. Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you for being so open and honest.

    I'm not sure what else to say, but I think my judgement is skewed by 'trying to conceive' at the moment, so I'll stop there. I don't think I'd be able to articulate what I mean gracefully enough

    Xxx

  3. amy f
    Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Abi, the way you wrote that leaves me with no doubt that you did absolutely the right thing, very glad we live in a place where you could. x

  4. Posted November 16, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    A couple of my friends have made the same decision as Abi for the same reasons and I have supported them entirely where others have not.

    I think the problem with the word 'abortion' is that is provokes a knee-jerk, generalised reaction, whereas it ought to be independent to everybody's different case.

    Thanks for this open and honest post.

  5. Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this, Abi. Here's to having the choice and making the one that is right for you.

  6. Kate
    Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I was in a similar situation and felt exactly the same. Never felt emotional about the decision really.

    However…on the being a woman theme…I didn't tell my boyfriend (the father) at the time mainly because I knew he'd be a lot more emotional about the whole thing (his mum had made the opposite decision when she was 17 and he was the result). I felt like it was my decision (I was only 16) but now I do feel I might have been a bit mean.

  7. Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Perspectives like this are so desperately needed, thankyou Abi. Thank heaven we live in a society where this is possible. It's a pity putting these experiences out there necessitates tags like "brave"… It shouldn't have to.

    Px

  8. Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks for such an open post.

    It sounds to me like you did completely the right thing for the pair of you. Here's to a bright future – whether that's with or without children.

  9. Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Well done for making a decision that ultimately saved your own life I guess.

    I know I wouldn't hesitate to do the same thing in your position at that age.

    Now however, I don't want kids. Neither Mr M nor myself want kids, like probably ever. We have lots around us and that in turn fulfills us in that particular category. If we were to accidently get pregnant…I would be devastated. I know that is probably shocking to people who are big child lovers but I really can't think of anything worse.

    We have been together nearly 3 years, are getting married, and have a ton of plans of things to do together. None involve a place for a child. So if we got pregnant…well it's much less socially accepted I guess to have an abortion at 27 when you have no financial reason not to have a child, no reason at all not to have one other than personal choice. We are super careful with contraception…but sometimes obviously it fails. Should we have to re-arrange and turn our life in a direction we would never want it to go just because people frown on the other option?

    That said, I don't think I could ever tell anybody in our close circle if that happened. THAT is what is so wrong with this society. Judgement.

    Hope I haven't offended anybody, that is not my intention at all. Merely my own opinion about my own situation. Maybe in ten years I will feel absolutely ready to share our life with another person.

    Abi this was a truly personal thing to share with us all and I am grateful to you for it.

    xx

  10. Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you Abi for writing this. It's a perspective that not many people are willing to put out there in the open, but one that I think really needed putting out there.

    Abortion shouldn't be something we should be ashamed of talking about – yes, we should be sensitive to people who couldn't do it themselves or who are in a situation where hearing about it is hard – but we should also not allow certain parts of society make us feel that it's something you should feel forever guilty about.

    Great post Abi.

  11. Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Abi, I just wanted to let you know that twitter has been going nuts about this, good nuts. Thanks so much for writing this for us; it's exactly the sort of post we are proud to host, and Penny's right, you shouldn't HAVE to be called brave to write this, but as things stand, you are.

  12. Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Abi,

    I went through the exact same thing in April of this year.

    When I peed on the stick. And it said the word, there was no hesitation. I called my doctor. Then my other half.

    I knew I didn't want a child, and there was never a moment in my head that thought it was indeed a child.

    I haven't told many people due to the stipulation that goes along with it still (sigh). I had to tell some in the end, as there were various complications with mine and people were wondering why I was going in and out of hospital so often.

    It was met with mixed reactions. But until you are sat on that toilet, with the word pregnant written on a stick, not wanting a child, you suddenly appreciate the fact that as a woman you do have a choice now, and you shouldn't be judged on what you choose to do. Especially when it involves how ready you are to bring another life in to the world.

  13. Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear you had difficulties with yours Phoebe.

    I think my earlier comment makes it seem like I have an issue with this post, which I most certainly don't.

    I'm glad we have this choice, and I'm glad we don't have to run a scary gauntlet like some most do in America. And I'm glad that we have somewhere to speak about it like AOW that is non-judgemental, even if we all have different opinions

    xxx

  14. Abi
    Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to AOW for giving me the opportunity to write this.

    I must add that I dont think of this as brave. Honest, yes, but brave? Really?

    When I read Caitlin Morans book, for the first time I was able to completely empathise. Unfortunately we have seen so many accounts of guilt, grief and regret that it was refreshing to hear from someone who had found that actually relief was the overriding emotion.

    I felt that we needed to hear more about this, that if you are in a similar situation, then to only hear one version of events, that can only make the decision harder than it necessarly needs to be.

    I was concerened that I would seem blase and I really didnt want my opinion and my experience to suggest that for some this would be a hard decision to make and for others, they probably wouldnt.

    Brave? Brave is having a child. full stop.

  15. Posted November 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    It was great to read such a straightforward and honest post, especially when the issue of abortion garners so much hysteria right now. Abi, I'm sure your experience (not forgotten but never regretted) echoes the vast the majority of women who get abortions; I'm glad we got to hear it.

    Me's comment above struck a chord with me. I'm 29 and would like children eventually, but if I got pregnant now I would have an abortion. I'm in a PhD program in a foreign country: A baby isn't what I want now and I don't think anyone should have one unless they really, really want one!

  16. Esme
    Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this Abi. And thank you for posting this AOW. xx

  17. Ned
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I feel queasy when I see women transalate their lack of sexual restraint to ending a baby's life.Sad to see.

  18. Posted November 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, Ned. That's not very enlightened. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, and you're welcome to express it as your own, but try to do so without judgement.

    If you are a man (from the name Ned, I assume so, but please correct me if I'm wrong) I feel it's inappropriate for you to judge women for a situation you'll never have to be in.

    People have been very brave in sharing their experiences and I find it sad to see them vilified by somebody with no firsthand experience of anything remotely relevant to this.

    Also "lack of sexual restraint" I find completely offensive. So women should sit there with their legs crossed being the pinnacle of modesty? It takes two to tango, buddy – and two in a relationship to ensure sex is safe. And hey, accidents happen, but to put blame on anyone (let alone just the woman) in that scenario is just disgusting.

    Phew, rant over… I think.

  19. Posted November 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Ignoring Ned…

    It's such a breath of fresh air to read Abi's story. People are too afraid to speak about this issue for fear of being shot down by others. I have been in a similar situation myself.

    I discovered I was pregnant in January 2008. The baby was my (now) husband's but at the time we weren't even officially together. I was terrified. I told him and I told my mum. My mum took it upon herself to tell just about everybody she knew before I'd even made my mind up about what I wanted to do. My husband, who at the time was 'just a friend' was just as terrified as I was but vowed to stand by me no matter what; his mum begged me to have an abortion. Can you tell that my head was all over the place with different people telling me to do different things?

    As soon as I found out I booked myself a doctors appointment just to confirm my test, hoping that I might have just had a dud pee stick! But no, the doctor kindly told me that I was actually further on in my pregnancy than I thought – just what I wanted to hear. This didn't stop me from booking myself in for an abortion. The fact that Tom and I weren't actually a couple (let's face it, a lot of us have been there before), we'd both just finished university and didn't have a penny to our names, we lived at different sides of Yorkshire and we were both still living with our parents meant that it really wasn't an ideal situation in which to bring a child.

    With the abortion appointment booked two weeks away I was still in two minds whether to go ahead with it. Would I regret it or would it be the best outcome? During the two weeks however, mother nature took hold. She must have been listening to my pleaing to have a miscarriage so the decision was taken away from me. An easy way out some might say. It really was. An easy way out of an awful situation and I am so glad that it happened. In fact I celebrated with my best friend and pizza!

    I have to say that my husband and I do now look back and feel sad about it but that is because at this stage in our lives we're now ready and in a perfect situation to bring up children. At the time though, it was the best thing that could've happened and shoot me down for celebrating a miscarriage but unless you're in that situation yourselves, or ever have been, you have NO idea.

  20. Carolanne
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I suspect Ned is one of these that likes to say something controversial to cause a big stir. Ned's judgement of someone else's life is just that. I don't think this is the space for that. Take it on over to the Daily Mail.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I had a similar experience when I was 19, except I was in a pretty nasty, controlling relationship at the time (and my first year of uni). I spent a long time regretting being with him, hating myself for getting into that situation, but I never regretted my decision to have an abortion.

    Last summer, 15 years and two children (an one miscarriage) later, I made the same decision again. Failed contraception, and knowing that I couldn't have another child, saw me make the same decision. This time it wasn't as straightforward. 5 weeks after the operation, my period hadn't returned and I had to do another test. The abortion wasn't successful and I had to repeat the operation. One in 100 surgical abortions don't work. I didn't know that before. It was SUCH a hard decision (especially as I had two young children, and I know what an 11 week old foetus looks like on a scan…) but I still have no regrets.

    It was the right decision for me, and for my family.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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