Felicity

3 years ago this month I had a termination.  Whilst it wasn’t the easiest decision I’d ever made, I didn’t think I agonised over it at the time.  My husband and I discussed the options but things were a bit rocky between us at the time and it seemed that this (having another child) might be the thing that pushed us both over the edge.  We have 2 healthy boys, the youngest of whom had just started school, so I was finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Every now and then I’d wandered through shops like Target, looking at little girl dresses and thinking how it might have been to have had a daughter but I didn’t dwell on it.

The abortion and everything on that day are things I will never forget.  The process was like being on a production line.  Sit down, get a form, sit down, speak to a counsellor, sit down, have an ultrasound, sit down, move to another room, sit down… wait, wait, wait.  Then finally it was done.  And I felt nothing.   My husband and I both went in to see the counsellor.   I vaguely wondered how she knew if I really wanted this and that my husband wasn’t pressuring me.   I thought it was strange not to be speaking to her alone.  I don’t even know why the thought crossed my mind, but it did.

She wasn’t that interested in the decision anyway, just in checking how ‘this’ happened.   I felt chastised.  As though we were stupid somehow and this was the punishment.  Her main focus was on making sure we knew how we had ‘failed’ and that we were prepared to do what was necessary to make sure it didn’t happen again.

In the 3 years since, I have had up and down times.  I have sometimes wondered if we did the right thing, but I haven’t been beside myself with grief.   Until now.   A month ago, my younger sister gave birth to a baby girl.   Their house is full of pink.  I felt the first twinge when I went in to Target to buy her a gift.  As I admired, and caressed tiny pink frills, I felt tears threaten and then I felt panicked, then it all hit… what we had actually done.

I have worked in a social welfare field my entire adult life.  I have seen women make this decision dozens of times.  I had even seen some suffer afterwards, but I always firmly believed it was because of their religious conflict or some radical prolife guilt trip.   I never in a million years believed that their grief or sorrow was real, or that their beliefs that they felt pressured were genuine.

I felt no pressure toward abortion, except by virtue of the fact that it seemed so ‘normal’, so available.   At the time I was a little annoyed that I’d had to travel to Melbourne for it (2 hours away), but it was only a minor inconvenience.   Now I see so many things differently.   I am only just beginning to understand that what I did was betray my unborn child, potentially the little girl I’d sometimes wished for.   I’m a little numb about it right now.  I’m not really sure where to go to talk to about it.  I think about all the times one young client of mine used to want to cry to me about her ‘baby’ and I would tell her about the ‘choice’ she made and that it was valid and okay… I denied her her grief, just as right not I am not able to face my own.

Do I regret my abortion?   Absolutely.   Would I have made a different decision?   Probably not… because I had NO idea this was possible.. NO idea that I would even think about it again, let alone that I would feel so overwhelmed with an indefinable sorrow in the middle of a Target store that I would panic.

Regret looks very different to different people.   ‘Choice’ looks very different to me today than it did then.   I would never advocate abortion to a woman.

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4 Responses to Felicity

  • Teresa says:

    Felicity – You are so brave in sharing your pain and anguish about your abortion. It must be so very difficult for you to write those words.

    Know that there are many people praying for you, and others in your situation, right now, all around the world. You are not alone. They are praying that you will be comforted in your sorrow and surrounded by love.

    Many girls will read your story and because of it, not go ahead with an abortion. Thank you. Thank you for your bravery. Other little ones will live because of it.

    Hugging you from here,

    Teresa

  • Lyn says:

    Thank you so much for writing about your experience. You have been incredibly brave to write about it so honestly. A few things you wrote really struck a chord with me. How often do we make decisions based on our present circumstances and then regret them when we are in different/better circumstances? We think we know ourselves – our strengths and our weaknesses, but we never really do.
    I feel so sorry for your pain and heartache now and hopefully you can find a counsellor who understands post abortion grief.

  • Kirsten says:

    What a powerful and overwhelming experience for you. I hope you get the help you are seeking and in the right place, it is definitely available. All the best mama x

  • steph says:

    Yes! Abortion being so normal and available is why many women choose it. Its just accepted that if you are pregnant at the wrong time, you make yourself unpregnant, without consideration of what that entails.

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