Submitted by: Jen
5th July 2019 at the age of 38, I ended an unplanned pregnancy. It was a decision I’d thought I’d never make, but I was so scared of either option — to give birth or to have a termination — and I just needed it to go away. My boyfriend at the time was unhelpful, giving me all the reasons why he didn’t want it, with a throwaway “but it’s your decision”.
Part of my reason for writing this here now is because I remember how much time I spent looking online for a story like mine, a person in my situation, so that I would know what the right decision was. I didn’t know if I wanted children (I still don’t), but I didn’t know if I’d regret it. Whilst trying to make a decision, I was living in 2 worlds — the one where I was taking prenatal vitamins and not drinking alcohol, and the one where I was looking up how to refer myself to a clinic. I felt disconnected from the whole experience and calling and booking the appointment. I felt like I was on autopilot — not thinking, not feeling.
The day finally came. The staff were efficient and courteous but lacked the warmth and care I’d been hoping for. I didn’t want to see the ultrasound. I declined to know how far along I was. I was surprised to be asked to take the tablets there & then in the clinic, in front of them. I’d been hoping to take them home and be alone in that final decision-making moment. My boyfriend dropped me off at our flat and went off to work, leaving me at home to sit and wait and see. I was scared. When it actually happened, I just remember feeling so alone, I didn’t even have my phone in the bathroom with me. I wished I’d had a friend with me, just someone to hold my hand and tell me it would all be okay. I hadn’t actually told anyone apart from my boyfriend, because that would have made it real.
A few days after, the emotions started rolling in. I felt terrible, literally as if I had murdered someone. At times I felt suicidal. Still the only person who knew was my boyfriend, who just seemed to despair of my emotions. As the weeks passed by, he became more and more distant. A few months later I told some close friends, who wished I had told them so that they could have been by my side while it happened.
For a long time, I was heartbroken, and the grief was so difficult to understand — grieving for a “life” that I had chosen to end. My boyfriend seemed to be completely unaffected by the whole experience. But over time it became easier. Over time it made sense. And even though it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face, I have never regretted it once. It was in some ways a catalyst for me, it helped me discover a strength I didn’t know I had and a realisation of the power I have to make the right decisions for me. I did a lot of work on myself, including therapy, and took the time I needed to heal.
Two years on I can say I am in a much better place. I have come to peace with my story and my decision. I’m happy. I’m excited about the future. I have a new boyfriend who is supportive, mature and is there for me when I need him. I still don’t know what the right decision is for me when it comes to children, but I trust that whatever is meant to be, will be.