Yesterday’s post told the story of one mum who had an abortion ten years ago when she had a teenager pregnancy. Today I bring you a teenage pregnancy story from Amy, who writes the blog and then there were four, about her experience of getting pregnant at a very young age and how she has dealt with an abortion.
I mentioned yesterday my surprise at the lack of a support network for young women going through this difficult decision 10 years ago (has this changed? Or does it depend where you are?).
The other thing that has struck me about both Amy’s story and the story yesterday was how very difficult it was for them to make this decision. The guilt they feel is palpable and I have cried with both of them as I read. So yes, circumstance may dictate that an abortion is the right choice but it isn’t easy; they had to be incredibly brave. It weighed very heavily on them and is something that will remain with them.
Thank you for helping us understand your experience, Amy, and as you say at the end, “sometimes the hardest decisions are the best and right ones”.
Amy’s Story – Teenage Pregnancy and Abortion
I was 18 when I found out I was pregnant to my boyfriend of two years. I’d just given up my full time job to return to full time college to study media. It was my first day of college that I saw those pink lines. My classes finished earlier than Josh’s so I walked into town and bought a pregnancy test kit from Poundland. I was convinced it was a waste of a pound but I had a niggling feeling that I needed confirmation I wasn’t pregnant.
I went to the toilets in the nearby shopping centre and did the test…positive.
I was convinced it was wrong so I took the second test in the packet…positive again.
I sat in the toilet cubicle for what felt like a life time. What would I tell Josh? What would I tell his family? What would I tell my family? I met up with Josh at the end of his college day and we sat on some benches in the middle of town where I told him I was pregnant. He was devastated. I was shocked. We were only 18. I was careful – took my contraceptive pill religiously, how could this happen to us? We were both sure that the tests were probably dud tests – they were from Poundland after all – and so I called my doctors for an emergency appointment. The receptionist wanted to know if it was an emergency and I blurted out I was pregnant – she must’ve sensed the fear in my voice because she booked me an appointment for that evening.
Josh came to the surgery with me but when it came to going to see the doctor – he wouldn’t come in. He couldn’t face it. I went in alone and scared. I told the doctor about the pregnancy test and that I was sure it was wrong. She tested me again I think for my own benefit rather than hers. There it was again, that positive result. I broke down into tears, explained I needed an abortion. I’d not even given it any thought but it had to be easier than telling my family that I was pregnant?
I told the doctor I wanted an abortion again but apparently, it wasn’t as easy as that. She needed to be sure that I was sure and she also needed to get another doctor to agree to the abortion. She made me an appointment for 2 weeks time – to give me time to think and if I came back to her sure that I wanted the abortion, she would make the necessary arrangements.
I went home – alone again to tell my family. It was the hardest thing I’d had to do. Josh said we couldn’t tell his family. He was a church going Christian and so were his family and sex before marriage was a massive no-no.
The two weeks dragged but my mind was made up. I was 18 and not in a stable relationship; Josh was abusive and hardly father material. I had just started college I was getting my life on track. I couldn’t cope with a baby.
An appointment was eventually made for me to have a surgical termination. I was further along in pregnancy than what the doctors originally thought so the tablets to induce a termination weren’t an option for me. I went to the hospital with my sister and she stayed with me throughout it all – something she later held against me when she struggled to conceive naturally and needed IVF treatment. I was scanned and prepared for surgery – the doctors explained everything to me. I was given a consent form to sign and eventually taken down to theatre. I thought telling my family was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do but being wheeled down to theatre knowing what I was about to do was the hardest, scariest moment of my entire life. I was heartbroken and torn, I couldn’t cope with a baby but could I cope with the guilt of an abortion? I kept willing myself to shout at the doctors “stop” before my eyes finally closed from the anaesthetic. I woke up in recovery groggy and numb. It was over – no more baby.
The grief and guilt were like nothing I had ever felt before. Josh and I split up around 6 months after the abortion but I continued to feel guilty and heartbroken. No amount of reasoning that I couldn’t cope with a baby and I wasn’t in a position to care for a baby made any difference to how I felt. I suffered with the guilt for years.
When I met my husband and we tried for a baby, we struggled because I had fertility problems – I thought it was punishment for the abortion all those years before. We were referred for IVF but I felt I didn’t deserve happiness or a baby. This was my punishment.
Society often looks at abortion as black and white rather than what it really is, a big grey mass of uncertainty. I was due to start IVF in the December, after three years of no success, when in the September we found out I was pregnant with Alfie. I worried all the way through my pregnancy that something bad was going to happen because I’d done a terrible, terrible thing when I was 18. I was wrong. Alfie was born a beautiful, healthy and perfect baby. I had spent all those years before feeling guilty for a choice I had made that was right for me. I was terrified of what people thought of me for having an abortion; there’s a very unfair stigma that comes with things like abortion and society has a way of labelling you without knowing your circumstances.
It has been 9 years since the abortion and I have a gorgeous 3 year old little boy and we are expecting our second baby in September. If I hadn’t had the abortion – I probably would never have met my husband or had my children. I can only guess what life would have been like if I hadn’t had the abortion but I made a promise when Alfie was born not to live a life wondering “what if” and simply be happy with the right now.
It took me a long, long time to finally give myself a break and realise that it was the right decision to make and to stop feeling guilty. I do get pangs of guilt now and then when I hear of people struggling to conceive, miscarrying or losing a child but I try to remind myself that I am not responsible for their heartache. Having an abortion was the hardest, scariest and most life changing thing I have ever had to go through but it was also the best and bravest thing I have ever done. My advice to anyone considering abortion is to think of yourself. You are the one that will carry it with you for the rest of your life. You are the one it will effect regardless of the decision you make. Don’t suffer years of guilt like I did because sometimes the hardest decisions are the best and right ones.
Thank you Amy
If you would like to talk to someone about having an abortion, I found this site through the NHS and they offer Pregnancy-related advice.