My story began many years before my abortion. Never secure in the love of a good mother, never confident of myself, looking for love to fill the sad parts of me.
I should have known better, I was 28, well traveled, aware, educated but took a risk and knew even that evening, it was likely I’d conceived a baby.A month of apprehension and promises to self, ‘If only I wasn’t pregnant, I ‘d never have sex again’ etc.
The process was easy,no health professional talked adoption or offered other solutions.I was on the conveyor belt to the abortion clinic. Numb,ashamed and fearful i took the line of least resistance. How I wish now,someone had suggested other solutions,taken the time to ask who might support me, which of my family or friends might be helpful and stand with me.
I was back at work Monday,continued to party and live life on my terms.But something had changed.I was brittle and numb,a piece of me had dropped into a hole of grief.The other part of me was up the top singing,dancing and protecting the grieving part of me-I had no awareness of my split in personality.If you had mentioned abortion, it would not have registered- i was profoundly disconnected from myself.
A few years later,I met and married my husband.
Alone with a colicky child I spiraled into PND. I could not understand that I had retriggered the hormones of motherhood and I battled on,living a half life. This took 16 months to pass.I was angry,abusive,stressed and lonely.
Aware I was making ‘a pig’s ear’ of parenting,I did a parenting course and began to understand what my child needed was a stable,consistent loving parent. But how could I be that person and also extent the compassion to myself, that was required? When was I going to stop punishing myself?
I began to feel weighted down by something, it would not go away.
Finally a dream,of huge significance- graphically involving a Dr,a jumbo bin,a dead body of a young teenage man, convinced me, I needed to do some work on my abortion.
After much counseling,the help of a clergy member,a service of committal, a decision to live differently was made.From then on the oppression was gone.
I then began to accept myself, learn to like myself, spoke out about my experience. Suddenly other women followed my lead.It was liberating.
Today after many years,I openly speak,lead a recovery group and have shared with my kids the consequences of killing a sibling.
I am grateful for this experience,I am more accepting of others weaknesses and less likely to judge how others do life.
However,I had no idea of the sense of grief and loss i would feel at the actions I took that day.
It was not an appendix or a piece of tissue- it was a child I removed.
I stupidly thought it had no consequences.I now know it was a profound experience, with ongoing consequences.
We need to talk openly so other women are armed with information,because I hear repeatedly- ‘No one told me I would feel like this’.