In this guest blog, the writer shares a few things she wished somebody had told her before she aborted a pregnancy at the age of 19.

Woman making decisions about path to take
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There are lots of things I wish I’d known before my abortion.

Some of them are personal to me, my faith, my career, my life.

They’re the kind of thing where if I think about it, I can go on a journey of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. They’re things that don’t apply to everyone. Like how I felt so much shame and self hate which I buried deep inside, that when (years down the line) my husband became abusive, I tolerated it. I believed I deserved it. And when we searched for a root as to why, it came back to my abortion.

But I know that won’t apply to everybody, so I’m not here to share that.

They are also things specific to my experience. Like I wished somebody had told me about the feeling of coming round from anaesthesia on a gynaecology ward where I was surrounded by women who had suffered miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, and trying to avoid making eye contact, because how can you in that situation?

But today the process is very different, with clinics assigned purely for the purpose of abortion, so it won’t help you to hear about that.

The thing that I wish I’d known that applies to EVERY person reading this blog, is that I HAD A CHOICE. And YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

It didn’t feel like it. It really didn’t. If you are someone who has had, or is thinking of having an abortion, it probably didn’t or doesn’t for you either. But I promise you, years, many counseling sessions and books on ‘Boundaries’ later, and I can assure you, it’s 100% true. You have a choice. You always have a choice.

“But I really had no choice”.

I’ve heard it from other women. I told myself the same thing in younger years. And let’s face it, it really didn’t feel like it. I would have lost so much if I had gone through with the pregnancy. My education and later career. My boyfriend who made it clear he didn’t want the baby. Financial stability. Respect of my friends and family. I would be alone, I would have to leave university, I would have to move out of the house I loved with my friends.

And that’s where the lie came in that I had no choice. If I chose to keep the baby, things would be hard. I couldn’t imagine how things would work out practically. Where would I live? How could I afford food and rent? How could I get a job if I was pregnant? How would I cope without my family who I expected would turn their back on their teenage, unmarried, pregnant daughter? To not have an abortion seemed impossible. But that’s the thing about choice. We may not like the options we have, but there are always options. There is always more than one possibility. There is ALWAYS choice.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

I’m not here to comment on abortion. But I do hate the idea of anybody else having a termination whilst feeling so coerced, so pressurised, as if it is something they HAVE to do. If someone CHOOSES abortion, it is one thing. When somebody goes through it, it is something else entirely, and that sense of having no choice makes a big difference in recovery.

And so friend, that is what I want you to know today. That no matter how difficult your options are, no matter how unappealing, YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

That choice might mean making hard choices. Cutting people out. Financial loss. Disappointing family and friends. It might mean massive change. it might not be at all appealing. But YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

Whether you are thinking about aborting, adopting out or raising your child, YOU HAVE A CHOICE.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

And, unlike my story, because of centres like IPAC, you have support.
You have support through the decision making process, and support through whatever comes next.

And so, if you’re reading this because the title caught your attention while googling facts to help you decide about your own unexpected pregnancy, I’m sorry you find yourself in this position.

But I’m glad too. Because it means you are on the website of a place that can help you through this season. IPAC can give you the support I never had. They can help you explore the facts about all your options. They can give you tools to help you decide, and walk with you through the days, weeks, months that are to come.

And so whatever you do, I hope it is YOUR CHOICE. Not something you felt you HAD to do because there were no other options. Not something you were pressured into by others dictating your path. Because you are strong, and you are capable, and no matter how it seems, I promise you, you DO have a choice.