Why I regret my abortion

Amanda grew up in Ireland, and was told to go to England for an abortion by her family. Here she recalls how her decision was made, the trauma it caused, and the regret she's felt ever since.

True Stories

sad girl

"I felt my parents didn't give a choice."

When I was 16, I thought I was so grown up. I met a guy and we soon started a sexual relationship. I’d never had sex education or ‘the talk’ with my parents. Occasionally we’d use protection, but the majority of the time we were afraid to – we didn’t want anybody to see us getting condoms, or our parents to find them. Looking back, I realise this was a sign I wasn’t ready for a sexual relationship.

It wasn’t like I was in love with this guy; I just liked the attention. He was sweet, caring and attentive. When my period was late alarm bells started to ring; I could sense that I was pregnant. One morning, I went to school early and did a pregnancy test there in the toilets. Two lines showed up blue – I could see the result in front of my eyes but I couldn’t deal with it, so I ignored it and went about my business.

My boyfriend said it might be wrong and to do another test. That evening, I did another test, but I couldn’t look, I just sat there sobbing. Any time my boyfriend tried to talk to me about it or tried to touch my tummy, I would cry and tell him to leave. It never once hit me what was going on; I was so afraid that I just blocked it out.

My boyfriend and I started writing each other letters about what we were going to do. Most of the letters were of him talking and me agreeing. We decided to keep the baby – there was never any discussion of another option. We agreed to keep it to ourselves until it was too late to be pushed into another option.

By this time it was February and I was going on a school trip. While I was away I had morning sickness, but due to the altitude and amount of travelling we were doing, nobody thought twice about it. We spent a day at Disneyland, but instead of going on all the rides, I was picking out a Winnie The Pooh fleece. It was six times too big for me; I thought I could wear it through the pregnancy and that the baby would like it when it arrived. That was the first time I really thought about being pregnant, and the first time I was ready to deal with it. I was so scared, but I was happy

Facing reality

When I got home, my parents confronted me; they’d found a letter from my boyfriend. I couldn’t even attempt to lie, I just burst into tears! My Dad sat in his chair said ‘How could you be so stupid?’ He’d never spoken to me with such a tone of hate, or look of disgust. My heart broke; I used to be Daddy’s girl. My Mam held me while I cried and told me she could only imagine how afraid and alone I must be feeling.

The next morning, they told me that I wasn’t to see my boyfriend anymore; I could call and tell him, then that would be the end. My Mam made me do another pregnancy test – I didn’t have the heart to tell her I’d already done two. That night, my parents told me there was only one option for my future, and that when I did this, everything would go back to normal. I remember thinking: ”I can be Daddy’s girl again and everything will be over”.

I remember going to a clinic in Dublin for consultation before arranging a trip abroad for the actual ‘procedure’. I was called into a room with a counsellor and asked why I was there; I told them I was too young for a baby and that it will destroy my future. They asked if it was my decision and I broke down in tears. They said everything would be organised for me so I didn’t have to worry – and that was my counselling session. I wasn’t told about what to expect, how it is carried out, what the risks are, how I would feel later – nothing – apart from a book to read! Under the question ‘How will I feel afterwards?’ it said: ‘Very few women experience feelings of extreme guilt or depression after abortion. Initially, most of our clients report feelings of relief, but it isn’t uncommon to feel a bit ‘low’ for a few days.’

A life-changing day

I was nine weeks and six days gone on the day of the abortion. For the previous two weeks I’d been kissing my hand and laying it on my tummy to say ‘good morning’ and ‘goodnight’ to my baby. That night I never said ‘goodnight’ and that morning I never said ‘good morning’. When I arrived at the clinic in Essex, I was taken for an ultrasound scan. The sound was turned off so that I couldn’t hear the heart beating and the screen was turned away from me so I couldn’t see the baby move.

It came time and I was told to lie on the table with my legs in stirrups. I was sobbing my heart out. They gave me the general anaesthetic, and as I was starting to go under I screamed at them to please stop, I didn’t want to do this, it wasn’t what I wanted, but the next thing I remember is waking up in the foetal position with tears streaming down my face. I realised then it was too late, my baby had gone. Right there and then, my heart sank in my chest. I felt it drop. I felt so empty. Ten minutes later a nurse came in and told me to quieten down as I was disturbing the other girls. I was just another girl to them; my baby was just another operation and more money! I wanted to leave and never go back.

Picking up the pieces

My Dad picked us up at the airport in Dublin. I had no interest in being his little girl anymore. I got home, went to bed and didn’t move. I cried all night long, holding my tummy. I didn’t go to school for two weeks, just stayed in bed crying. By the time I went back, my ex-boyfriend had told everybody. I guess he was trying to hurt me, but I didn’t care. What I cared about was gone. I spent numerous nights sitting on my bed, screaming the house down and banging my head on the wall behind me – I was in so much pain nothing else hurt.

Soon my world crashed in on me. Everywhere I looked there were babies and pregnant women. I spent my time obsessing over pregnancy; after all I should be having my baby about now. Years went by, some good times some bad times. I have never forgotten about my baby but I have accepted what has happened. I don’t hold anger towards the people involved any longer. I accept that ultimately it was my decision, and I gave my consent. The hardest thing for me is that if I’d been strong enough to stand up and say ‘I want to keep my baby’, I would have had all the support in the world. I know that now, but at that time I believed the only way forward for me was to do this one thing they had asked of me.

It is now over six years since my abortion and there are still times that I sit and cry. I believe I was carrying a baby boy, who I’ve named Jamie. My life changed that day and I regret it every day since. Abortion is not the easy option. I don’t want to preach to anybody about what they should do – in some circumstances, abortion can be right – but nobody should go into it blind like I did. It’s not easy to be faced with an unplanned pregnancy but sometimes the best things in the world are surprises. I can never have my baby back, but hopefully some day, this terrible experience will make me a better parent.

Advice and support

Here at The Mix, we want you to know there is no right or wrong way to react to having an abortion. What’s important is you make the right choice for you. If you are considering having an abortion, read our advice here.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015

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