32 Years Ago Today

Note: The Exhale Pro-Voice After-Abortion Stories Hub includes people’s stories of their experiences and emotions, exactly as they have written them in. We do not edit these stories at all, and the content that follows this message is exactly as we received it. We know that people’s experiences are complex, and these stories reflect the many emotions they may be feeling after their abortions. From relief to grief, and everything in between, and all at the same time, we’re here for you.

Submitted by: Maria

32 years ago today I had an abortion because my boyfriend at the time did not want the pregnancy — or me — whilst I was pregnant. I am ashamed to say that I was coerced into it and eventually chose it because of the alternative, which was threatened destitution.

At that time in my life I was in a codependent relationship and loved him enough to terminate the pregnancy. I very much regret my actions and feel guilt, shame and anger that I made that choice, even though looking back at the time, there was no other real option open to me.

I am in support of a woman’s right to choose, but feel that in my case, my boyfriend steered me heavily and abusively into something I did not want. To this day, I feel there needs to be more pre-abortion support available to women like myself in the situation I was in. What made the whole thing a huge level worse was that immediately after I told my boyfriend I was pregnant said he had “no intention of marrying me or anything like that.”

Later down the line when I tried to get him to accept the pregnancy, he said we could get married, just “not now, like this but later.” It was a ‘conditional’ marriage proposal whereby it would only go ahead if I aborted, which I realised after 2 years of counselling. I feel dumb and stupid for allowing myself to be manipulated, for being so blind to what was really happening, which was emotional abuse.

I married him 2 years after the abortion and had three longed-for children. I am still in the relationship and he is still emotionally abusive. I will not leave as I do not want my children’s lives disrupted. They love both of us dearly and he is old now, so I do not feel I can abandon him.

I still long for our relationship to be what it once was but realise that the ‘red flags’ I saw at the beginning were an indicator of what was to come. I want women to know that they have choice, and that the choice they make they will have to live with for the rest of their lives, so make that choice TO SUIT YOURSELF NOT SOMEONE ELSE.

You deserve nonjudgmental
after-abortion support.

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