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Many years ago, twelve in fact, I had an abortion ...

(10 Posts)
azuma Sat 20-Sep-08 11:09:31

The facts are as sordid as they are banal - a ridiculous one night stand with a stranger whose face has long since vanished from my memory, an abortion clinic in a country where I could not speak the language, the sense of relief when it was all over ...

Now, here I am, all these years later, career, dh, 2 little dd - and all of a sudden a crippling sense of guilt and grief has overtaken me. I cannot stop thinking about it. There is an internal dialogue in my head that I don't recognise. It says horrible things to me, tells me I had no right, wonders what kind of person I am - it has a grip on me and it won't let go.

My rational dialogue is trying its hardest to push the black voice away. And I can rationalise what happened. I never felt like I had a choice really - I was so far from home, I didn't choose to get pregnant (he removed the condom at the end without my permission) - but none of that seems to matter. Oh, the finality of it all.

I suspect this may be more than repressed grief finally rearing its head. I gave birth 4 months to my second DD. Could this be PND? This is hard for me to accept as my mental health has never been an issue. I am the "girl least likely". I am not generally depressed - just utterly fixated on the abortion to the point that I can barely think about anything else.

I have thought about this so much. I feel that we who have chosen to have abortions do not allow ourselves to grieve. Its rarely talked about, yet so many abortions are performed every year. Where is the abortion topic on Mumsnet? Next to Miscarriages? I think not.

I know the subject of abortion has been hijacked by politicians and religious zealots and frankly, I don't care and that is not the point (I remain pro-choice). The point is that for me, abortion has left a deep wound.

I don't know what I am trying to acheive by putting my thoughts about this on mumsnet. I have not spoken to anyone (includung DH) about the way I feel and I thought that this might be a good first step to healing. I know, the next is probably counselling but I need to start somewhere.

Earnest but anonymous words put out to the universe ...

Elasticwoman Sat 20-Sep-08 11:22:05

Really brave of you to post this.

You have made the first step by acknowledging your feelings.

You didn't choose to get pg, but then I have heard that about 40% of pregnancies are unplanned. Or is that 40% of live births, I don't know. Anyway, a surprising number of conceptions considering the availability of contraception. It was ever thus.

This is to do with your spiritual health, not mental health. You are quite rational.

Abortion is often discussed on MN and I foresee this is the start of a long thread.
I've never had one myself, but several of my friends have. BTW have you seen the film Vera Drake?

BettySwollux Sat 20-Sep-08 11:29:00

Firstly, well done for finally getting the words out, be it anon or otherwise.
If its eating you up this much, can you talk to DH? Does he know it happened and what are his views on abortion?

This sort of happened to me too, around the same time.
My 1 night stand (an old friend BTW, not someone I picked up off the street) hsd sex using a condom on the night. He stayed over, and I woke up to find him having sex with me, stupidly assuming he was using protection again (he wasnt sad)
I didnt take the morning after pill and got PG.
I was struggling on my own, living on £33 a week benefit, and there is no way I was ready for the responsibility of a baby.

So made the choice to terminate.
Have discussed with DH, and he's been fab.
Good luck.

azuma Sat 20-Sep-08 11:33:52

I did mention it to my DH when we first got together - around 9 years ago. But we haven't ever really discussed it since then. He certainly isn't against abortion but tbh, I doubt he has really given it much thought.
Thanks for your kind words.

squigglywig Sat 20-Sep-08 11:41:06

I think you've been very brave in posting this.

How do you feel in yourself otherwise? Is this part of generally struggling since the birth?

I think it's perfectly natural for you to grieve, especially as you didn't do so then. Give yourself time, and keep arguing with the black voices. You didn't do anything "wrong", but that doesn't mean you have to be happy with what you did either.

I hope you find a more comfortable middle place soon.

Notquitegrownup Sat 20-Sep-08 11:44:45

Azuma - both giving birth and facing the death (of other people) have been times in my life when I have found myself thinking about issues I had buried too. I think that it is normal, and a healthy thing. These big events in our lives do trigger us into taking stock of our own lives.

As you say, counselling may well be a good option for you. You are right about having the right to grieve, and to come to terms with what you went through. I hope you find peace at the end of the process.

SimilarFeelings Sat 20-Sep-08 11:47:00

Well I know what you are feeling. when I had just started seeing dp he was still living at home sharing a house with his ex and I being naturally cynical, wanted to believe him that it was just whilst he was saving up to move out but I just thought he was a married man being a tosser.

So I went on holiday, had stupid casual sex with someone and came home pregnant.
Dp was incredible when I told him and just hugged me and told me that if I wanted to keep the baby he would me bring it up with me. But I just couldn't, I didnt know dp well enough at that stage and didn't trust him because I thought he was a philandering fantasist. So I had a termination.

And 7 years later I am still with dp, he has more than proven himself to be sincere and a wonderful father to our dd.

I knew what I did was the right thing to do for me then and I don't regret it BUT I am very, very sad that I had to do it, that I put myself in such a stupid place.

Most of the time I am able to forget about it however I was extraordinarily unlucky in that the day I had my abortion was September 11th 2001 and when I was in the recovery room the news broke about the twin towers so September 11th is a really difficult day for me due to the feelings of ending a life or the potential of a life on the same day that so many other innocent lives were ended.

Dp is very supportive on that day and allows me to cry.

I can't change what I did and I know I did it for the right reasons but I do grieve for that life.

Sorry for the essay.

feedmenow Sat 20-Sep-08 20:32:21

Azuma, the fact that you can rationalise your choice says to me that these black voices WILL stop because at the end of the day you did what was right for you to do.

Perhaps there is a spot of PND "aggrevating" the thoughts, or perhaps just tiredness, hormones, who knows what.

Counselling might help if you feel you want to give it a go.

But someone said somthing to me once about something that was really praying on my mind (not termination, but dreams I kept having that bothered me). I guess what they did was liken the dreams to a "bully". The more attention I gave them, the more they'd keep coming. It wasn't easy, but I made myself stop worrying about why I was having the dreams and over a period of time they have really really reduced. I just don't give them credibility anymore, IYSWIM. Maybe you could give this approach a go? It won't be an overnight cure, but it might help.

Well done, BTW, for being brave enough to share your past and feelings.

kaz33 Sat 20-Sep-08 20:48:38

I had an abortion last December, I forgave myself for the decision that I made before I did it.

I had a choice, I made a choice, it was my choice.

I am sad that I don't have a baby now, he would be a month or so old. I allow the tears to come if they surface and I get on with my life.

Be kind to yourself - you made a choice, there is no right or wrong choice - just a choice [hug]

TinkerBellesMum Sat 20-Sep-08 20:50:12

I don't know if this will help, but the official term for PND is now PNI - illness replacing depression - because for most people it's not about being depressed, it's being ill. I'm not sure it's so much depression as maybe your conscience and motherhood which is now racked with guilt and grief that's speaking to you. Either way you need to speak to someone professional (whether that's a doctor or a counselor) about what you have been through as these feelings won't go away on it's own.

You are allowed to grieve, the decision was right for you at the time but now you are in a position to have children you miss what you have lost.

I also wonder whether what that man did to you is having some effect on how you feel. He forced you into a decision you may not have made normally. You went to the effort of avoiding that decision and he took that away from you.

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