It feels like a dirty secret...and it shouldn't.
Aside from my husband and my waxing lady (let’s be honest – once she’s seen everything down there there’s not much else to hide) no one else knows about this. It feels like a dirty secret… and it shouldn’t.
I don’t feel I can share this with my friends or family as I don’t know what their reaction will be, and I don’t trust that it will be supportive. As a result, I keep pushing it down, pretending like it didn’t happen, and as time goes on I realise that is not working out very well for me. So here it goes…
I terminated a pregnancy… and, as it turns out, it is estimated that 25-30% of other Australian women have too. Who would have known. Not me. It’s worse than miscarriage. No-one talks about miscarriage either but there is no side order of stigma or judgement when you miscarry. People just tell you how sorry they are and give you a hug, and bring around family size bags of Maltesers.
I wasn’t supposed to be able to fall pregnant. IVF was required to fall pregnant the first time. Despite this we were taking precautions, and let’s face it, with a 1 year old there wasn’t really much bedroom action anyway. But there it was, a little blue line on a stick that wasn’t supposed to be there.
I was in my early 40’s, working full time, with a blended family that filled the car and the house. Another baby would mean a bigger car and a bigger house (and bigger expenses and debt), more time off work, and more pressure on a body that barely coped the first time (and let’s be honest, will never be the same again). So it was decided.
I found a local clinic and booked in. Hubby and I took the day off work and went in. It was so quiet. The scan confirmed the blue line was right. I couldn’t bring myself to look at the screen. To survive I needed to keep this as “un” real as possible. We weren’t even 6 weeks along. I could have waited to see if I miscarried… I had before, and it could very well happen again… but I wasn’t coping, and I knew I wouldn’t do well with another 7 weeks of waiting.
The “theatre” was in stark contrast to the hospital where I delivered my first baby. I felt like I was in a kitchen on a table. I wasn’t. I woke up on a small bed in a tiny cubicle with just a curtain for the door. 1 hour and a Kit Kat later and we were heading home. It was done. I felt numb. For a long time. In some ways I still do. I cried that day, and I have some days since. But I have never regretted my decision. I feel guilt sometimes, but I never wish I made a different choice.
Since that day, I have become more aware of the challenges faced by Australian women seeking the right to be able to make the decision that I did. Until I was faced with this situation I was not aware of the cost ($550). I was not aware that abortion is illegal in some states, and in other states there are so many rules and hoops to jump through that the only way women can access this service is to travel interstate. I was not aware of how out of reach this option could be for many Australian women, and I was not aware of how alone I would feel making this choice, despite having my husband there to hold my hand.
This is not an invitation for judgement, nor is it me attempting to justify my decision to people that do not agree with or understand my choice. This is me choosing to share a difficult point in my life so that other women who may be facing a similar decision know that they are not alone.
If you or someone you know are struggling with the decision to terminate a pregnancy, make an appointment to speak with one of our counsellors or psychologists who are specialise in non-directional unplanned pregnancy counselling. Info@whws.org.au, 94902258 or via our online referral <insert email>, <insert phone>, <insert link for online referral>
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