I was too young, I had no money, I didn’t have a house, I didn’t have a job, I wasn’t in a relationship with the man who had got me pregnant, I couldn’t tell my parents, I was still in school … I was 15. This was my reasoning when I discovered that I was pregnant during my final year of High School. All very real and valid reasons why abortion seemed like a good option. Once I’d considered all of these things, keeping the baby didn’t seem possible at all. I use the word ‘baby’ intentionally, because I knew what abortion was. I had debated it just months before in an RE lesson at Catholic School, and I had said that I could understand why people chose it, but I would never do it myself. The lies of our culture were deeply rooted in my teenage years.
I’d had unprotected sex and I immediately thought that I might be pregnant – I even took the morning after pill. Even then I knew, I remember being in denial for weeks, I knew that I was pregnant but I couldn’t handle the truth. I wanted it to just go away and so by the time I admitted it to myself, I was 10 weeks pregnant, I was suffering with sickness, and I had a little bump starting to show. In those 10 weeks the baby in my womb had a fully formed heart, functional (yet tiny) major organs, and their eyebrows had even begun to grow! I didn’t have the mental or emotional capacity to consider any of these things at the time. My mind was set on having an abortion to fix my problem so that I could move on from this unfortunate episode in my life as quickly as possible.
One afternoon I went straight from school to a place called Connexions where I took a pregnancy test that showed positive, and I spoke with a nurse there. I thought that she might talk me out of having an abortion or call my parents, but instead she encouraged me with the promise of confidentiality, and within 3 or 4 days of that appointment I found myself travelling across the city to a Marie Stopes clinic. I was 15, I was in the middle of doing my mock GCSE’s, it was just before Christmas, and on that day I went for an abortion alone. Inside the clinic I was surprised by how busy it was, and I remember being comforted by seeing all different kinds of women having abortions. I thought that it really must be ok. I had a surgical abortion and think that I must have been sedated which has made it difficult to remember many of the details. I was embarrassed because the doctor was a man and I wasn’t expecting that. The abortion was uncomfortable and I had to be calmed down as I was panicking and crying, but immediately after I remember feeling relieved.
I was glad that it was over, I thought I must have done the right thing, and I vowed never to think about it again. That lasted for a number of years until I found myself struggling in life. On the outside it looked like I had everything, but on the inside I felt so broken and empty, like something was missing. After some very tough conversations and through the experience of going to confession I realised that the missing ‘something’ was actually a someone. It was my son that I had aborted. This was a really difficult truth to come to terms with and I struggled with depression for many years, that got worse particularly around the anniversary of the abortion each year. Since then, I have experienced a lot of healing from this experience through my faith and through Rachel’s Vineyard. However, abortion leaves a lasting scar of a broken motherhood and a missing person in your life.
Nobody grows up wanting an abortion, but in an unexpected pregnancy the fear can be paralysing. It is our role to be there in the fear, and to be a voice of hope and encouragement to the women, who like I did, believe that taking the life of their unborn child is their only choice.