I was 17.
This isn't something I talk about. It isn't even something I think about. Is just something that happened, something that I did... I was 17. My boyfriend of a year and a half had broken up with me, but we were still sleeping together. I was seeing someone new but he was much more interested in me than I was in him. I really just wanted to be with my ex.
The pregnancy was accidental. I was on the mini pill but it was during a summer that I was always at festivals, out at parties, with friends, getting drunk. I couldn't keep track of myself let alone my birth control. God forbid a baby...I took the pregnancy test in a public toilet. First came fear, utter, paralysing fear. Then a smile. I knew I wanted the baby. I had already decided. It wouldn't be easy but I would do it. I could do it. I was enough.
I told my then boyfriend-- he said he would support me (despite the fact he knew the baby couldn't be his). I told my mother, she was shocked and angry but ultimately supportive of whatever I decided. Our household is just me and her and overnight the atmosphere changed. She barely spoke to me and when she did it was cold. We started arguing more and the day she called me a disappointment I walked out, caught a train and went to stay with my then boyfriend. I hadn't seen my baby's father, my ex, since I found out and he wouldn't make plans to speak in person so I told him over the phone. Immediately he told me he wanted me to have an abortion. Worse than that, he assumed that I would. I told him I had other plans-- I was going to keep the baby and raise them myself, even if it meant doing it alone. I just wasn't strong enough to have an abortion. I couldn't take my child's life.
The next day his mother called me. She insisted that I have an abortion. Told me I was selfish for considering anything else. She told me I was ruining my own life, her sons and our unborn baby's life by bringing them in to the world. She told me nothing good would come of the situation unless I had an abortion. She assured me it wasn't that bad, that she'd had one and most people do in their lifetime. I met up with my ex, we talked and talked-- he told me he wanted to get back together, to move in together but that he just didn't want to be a parent yet. He just felt that he wasn't ready.
I spent days writing pro/con lists trying to make the right decision. I had exams at sixth form but just lost all motivation. Little by little termination became a more viable option. I ripped up the letter that I had written to my unborn baby the day I found out I was pregnant. The letter that said we would be ok. Forever. We could get through anything. I felt like I was betraying a dear friend. I was betraying a part of myself.
I went to the doctors, booked an appointment, tried not to get too upset and just get on with it. It was something that had to be done. I had to make a life for myself before I could make a life for anyone else. I wasn't enough for a baby. I was too young. I was on my own. I had no support. I was getting on with my education. These are all things that I told myself over and over again.
The day came. I went with my best friend. We sat together in the waiting room chatting and giggling, just pretending that we were waiting for food or something menial like that. Like it was no big deal. And then I stepped in to the room alone. The technician took a scan. Everything was healthy. Baby was growing well. She asked if I wanted to see and I said yes. I said yes. Why did I say yes? I wanted to run out of that room, to run away and never look back. I wanted to believe that I could be enough for the baby that I saw on the screen. I wish that I had just left. I could have and I should have left. I went in to the bathroom to wipe the gunk off of my stomach and just stared at myself in the mirror. I was so lost. Unrecognisable from who I had been before. Everything was a mess and I didn't understand a thing that was going on. I've never been any good at making decisions and this time wasn't an exception. I wanted to leave but I didn't. I told myself that I'd made up my mind, this was what I had chosen after days of careful consideration. So I walked through the door, in to the next doctor and I took the pill. A few days later my mum came with me to the hospital for the second part when "the foetus passed". It was painful but I didn't care. I felt like a traitor. I felt like a fool and I didn't give a shit about myself. A life was ending so the least that I could do was get through the pain.
My ex didn't get in touch with me at all that day. His mother didn't speak to me after I told her I would have an abortion. My 'best friend' told everyone in the sixth form that I was pregnant, and had had an abortion and, safe to say, we aren't friends anymore. People change the way they think of you after they know what you've done. You change the way you look at yourself. Maybe that isn't the case for everyone but for me it couldn't be more true. I'll never forgive myself for terminating the pregnancy. I think that I will always wonder 'what if' and with every year that passes I will always remember what happened, what could have been...I don't think I'll ever be able to move on. It hurt my heart and it still hurts now. I haven't spoken to anyone about this at all, and I most certainly haven't ever written everything down like this. I'm hoping that this will help me to move forward, at least enough to support my closest friend who is about to go through a termination herself. The evening after the abortion i got drunk with a very old friend. Catastrophically drunk. I cried and cried and laughed and eventually found my way home. The following day, I found out that my ex had a new girlfriend. I remember cutting my wrists and not caring if it was deep enough to kill me. I wasn't trying to die, but I didn't care if I did.
My wrists bled and bled but eventually stopped. So I walked to the river, and stole a coil of rope. I went to the place my ex and I had our first date, smoked all the weed that I had, tied a shitty knot and hung it from the tree. I played some music on my phone and cried. I stood on a lower branch, and I just cried, holding the rope between my fingers. I knew that I couldn't go through with it. I didn't want to be where I was but I didn't want to die. I just didn't want to hurt.
That was the lowest point of my life.
Three years on, I don't even recognise myself as the same person. I'm about to start university, I'm studying nursing and once I've qualified will go in to Health visiting. I continued to see my ex (despite his girlfriend) and we got back together in the autumn of that year - we moved in together on to a boat before eventually moving. When I was 18 I fell pregnant again add his mother was again insistent that an abortion was the only choice, but I stood up for myself and our unborn baby this time. I saved her, and in saving her I saved myself. Our daughter was born the following July and she could not be more perfect. The three of us live together in a little house, her dad is self employed and I've spent the last year back at college building a future for us. Yes, it has been tough, much tougher than it would have been had I had a second termination but I would not be the same person that I am now. I was heading down the wrong path, I had no direction in life and I wasn't doing anything productive. All I cared about was smoking weed, getting drunk and anything else that made me feel like it was worth terminating my baby for.
This has been incredibly long, but I think it has been helpful. I've cried writing this and remembered little details that I think I'd suppressed, but I'm pleased that I did this. I hope my story helps someone else-- I'm not saying that one choice is better than the other because I truly honestly believe that termination, adoption and continuing a pregnancy to term are all equally valid choices-- i just feel that the decision has to be entirely yours, and as long as you feel that you are strong enough to cope with whatever you choose, then you will be fine. I was right when I said that I wasn't strong enough. I just hope that one day I find the strength to move past this.