Aborted Women: In Their Own Words

A British Perspective

by Lisa
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I have read several of the articles on these pages. Most of them I could relate to; some shocked me and some have scared me.

Although I can relate to them I feel different as I am 16 years old and I live in England, UK. I got this address from my RE teacher as I am doing a project on abortions. My best friend has advised me against this as on 13th August 1999 I myself had my child aborted. It was an interesting date as it was Friday the 13th, as if I wasn't worried enough. I want to write this and do the project in the hope that it will help me to heal the hurt that I feel.

I'm not sure how the system works in America but from what I've read it appears to be different to here.

This is my story:

I was 15 years old and had been going out with my boyfriend for three months when I decided I was ready for sex. We were careful as I was underage and he was 18 so he used contraception, which we got from the Family Planning Clinic. However, it failed. I ended up pregnant from the first time I had sex. I was going on holiday in July and my period was due so I went to the doctors to get a pill to delay my period until I got back from the holiday. I started taking them a few days before I left. The Friday before I was due to leave my boyfriend came with me to the hairdressers. It was a lovely summer's evening so we walked. I began to feel sick so on the way back I stopped for a bottle of water. We carried on a bit further and eventually I collapsed in the park. My boyfriend was really worried because he didn't know what was happening. He carried me most of the way home but I walked in the house as if everything was OK. We had a drink and then it was time for him to go. I was saying goodbye to him at the door but before anything came out I ran up the stairs into the bathroom and was sick. By the time I came down Mum had told him to go and that I'd be fine. I went on holiday and I was ill. I had to have three proper meals to stop me feeling sick (which is unusual for me as I'm a funny eater). I was asleep every night by 8pm with indigestion, nausea and stomach ache. I went to the chemist's and they gave me something for the indigestion -- this just made me feel worse. I came back off holiday and nothing had changed. However, I stopped taking the tablets and expected my period -- it never came.

A couple of days later I turned around to my boyfriend and said, "You'll make a good dad". Jokingly he replied " Are you trying to tell me something?!" It was then that I put 2 and 2 together. I told him of my fear and the next day we brought a home pregnancy testing kit -- it was positive.

I burst into tears -- he was shocked but somehow he found it in himself to still comfort and console me. This was the Wednesday.

On the Friday we were shopping and I told him I wanted to go to the doctors so we went. I got in within an hour. I went in alone.

The doctor worked it out and said that I was three months pregnant. He asked me what I wanted to do and without any detailed thought, it was more of a reflex action I said, "I can't keep it". He never said anything about the options I had -- he just started organising my termination. He told me to phone back at 3pm. I walked out and told my boyfriend what had happened and he seemed calm about it. He had kept telling me that at the end of the day it was my decision and that he'd be there for me no matter what.

On the following Wednesday (a week after I found out for definite that I was pregnant) I had to travel in four buses and one taxi to get me to a hospital to see a consultant. I went on my own because nobody knew except for me and my boyfriend and he couldn't get the day off work.

I was so scared. I hated every minute of it. That day will be remembered by other people because it was the day of the eclipse but for me it will always be the day that I had to go on trial. The doctor was horrible -- he hurt me when he examined me -- God knows what he was supposed to have been doing, but ever since then I have had flashbacks whenever I have inserted a tampon. He said that because I was underage I would have to have my parents' permission. I told him that they would kill me if they found out. I am the youngest of six and I seemed to be the only one who was heading in the direction of any ambitions. This would have wrecked my family. He phoned around the hospital to discuss the legalities of the situation. Luckily he believed I was mature enough to handle it, after all I had traveled all the way there on my own and I had made all of the decisions on my own therefore I would be able to cope with an abortion -- won't I???

I had the abortion on the Friday of that week. My boyfriend came with me but not without an argument. The night before I threatened to throw myself off a bridge because he said he couldn't get the day off work. I couldn't believe he was putting his job before this. Eventually I managed to persuade him to go with me. We had to catch a train at 7am because I had to be at the hospital for 8am. I went into theatre at 9am and I was back in my private room for 9am, I didn't get released until 3pm though. All I remember from the hospital is the nurse who looked after me. She took me to theatre and when we got there, she held my hand and whispered, "Everything's going to be fine. I'll be your Mum for today because she doesn't know does she? Don't worry -- it'll all be over soon". I will always remember her and I can still smell her perfume. I've never had the chance to thank her though and I don't even know her name.

I was told that I couldn't go home on public transport but my boyfriend didn't drive so we had to take the train. We got back into our town and me boyfriend left me to go home on my own. I was so upset -- I wasn't supposed to be left on my own for 48 hours. I hated him for doing that but since then I have found out from a mutual friend that he went to their house and cried his eyes out over what had happened and that he didn't want me to know about it because he thought he had to be strong for the both of us because I was in such a state. I respected him for that.

As time went by we drifted apart but we are still friends and just last week we admitted we still love each other. Our families are trying to keep us apart though. His family knows what happened and even though mine don't, they think he's a loser because he lost his job. This was a result of having too many days off -- which I believe was my fault. He doesn't blame me for it though. I think that one day when I've finished all my exams there may be a chance for us but until then we're going through the torment of the last few months alone. I'm praying that we both get through it safely.

My Mum has asked me if I was pregnant last year but it was easy to lie and she believed my denial. I can't ever tell her now and things have been made harder because my sister is expecting her first child in June. Every day when I come in from school there is baby talk and I don't know how much longer I can take it. I have contemplated running away and even suicide but have never gone through with it. When will I get over it???

It was interesting to read the article on Post Abortion Syndrome. I don't know whether the doctors over here recognise it as an illness but my friend thinks that that is what I'm going through as it was him who drew my attention to it. He says he'll help me get through this but he's leaving for Manchester in September -- who will I have then? At least he'll be here for the birth of my sister's baby.

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about my little Shannon Rose. It's strange because my sister told me last month that if hers is a girl they're calling it Shannon Rose. Rose was my grandmother's name and she died a year ago. In tribute my sisters agreed at her funeral that the first one to get pregnant would call it Rose if it turned out to be a girl. My sisters said that I didn't have to be part of it because I wouldn't be the first to get pregnant. Boy did they get that wrong.

I noticed that other people have given their E-mail addresses and I would like to do the same just in case anyone can help or if anyone needs help themselves. After all we all need to stick together.

My address is: funkywoman_2000@yahoo.com

I will answer all messages -- that's a promise.


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Posted 12 Sep 2000.

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