At the age of 37, I had my abortion. I used to feel that was where my story began. But after finding healing through attending ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline) and Rachel’s Vineyard, I realised my story actually begins in my childhood – which led me to make the life changing decision to end my baby’s life.
Growing up, my father was violent towards my mother and verbally abusive to myself and my five younger siblings. Being the oldest, I took it upon myself to be the peacemaker, always putting my own needs and feelings last. This, in turn, led me to have no self-worth and no value for myself.
I had previously had 3 boys with different partners, who each left me alone while pregnant, fed into my belief that I was worthless and didn’t deserve to find someone who would love and respect me. So, I always chose toxic relationships, believing that was all I deserved. When I became pregnant for the fourth time, looking back I can see I just went into total panic mode. I believed I couldn't manage another child on my own. I thought that everyone would know how much of a terrible person I was for becoming pregnant without being in a serious relationship again. I felt that I just couldn't handle it again.
I went to my GP and I said I just couldn't do it again. No questions were asked. I was referred to the hospital two days later. I had not told anyone I was pregnant: neither my family, friends, nor the dad. I attended the first appointment at hospital. I was not questioned at all about why I was making the decision to end my baby's life or if I had any support. I remember crying the whole way through the appointment, but I was never asked if I was okay, if I had thought about my decision, or if I had told anyone. I was then sent for a scan. I remember lying on the bed and turning away, never once looking at the screen, with tears blinding me.
I was booked in to take my first tablet two days later. I left my work (I worked as a nurse), went to the hospital, took the first tablet, and then went back to work - no explanation was given to me. I returned on my own two days later and took the final tablet. Again, I was extremely upset but received no support from the nurses. I was alone the whole time. I was simply told on discharge that if I had any problems with bleeding, I should attend accident and emergency and explain I had an abortion. I had to drive myself home, pick up my other kids from school, and pretend everything was ok. At no time did I feel relief. It was just emptiness and regret.
My life then spiralled, as I could not live with the fact that I chose to end my child’s life out of fear. I was hospitalised due to severe depression and anxiety exactly a year after my abortion. I also tried to end my life.
I want other women to know that they aren’t alone. Abortion hurts the woman as much as the child. Healthcare professionals should spend time with women and ensure they are making an informed decision, not one out of panic and fear. I wish someone had taken the time to ask me to stop and think about my decision. I believe I would never have chosen abortion if I had support from healthcare staff and had turned to looked at the screen once during my scan. Because if I had seen my baby even at 8 weeks, I would have chosen life for her. I thank God every day for bringing me to ARCH and guiding me to Rachel's Vineyard, because only there did I receive true healing and the opportunity to grieve for my little girl.