This story is published at Shout Your Abortion.
When I initially saw #shoutyourabortion I thought it an abhorrent concept. Now I’m in the midst of a long wait for my second abortion (at the “should have known better!” age of 41) and I see that it’s not what I thought; ‘Shout’ seems to denote some sort of pride, and having abortion no. 2 is not something I’m proud of. I’ve talked openly with people about having one abortion, but this time I’m not telling many people, as having two makes me feel deep shame and embarrassment. I have no support where I physically am, so the people of the internet and their stories are my support. Abortion no. 2 will happen next week- earlier or later depending on the method I choose. I find the idea of the pills v scary due to being squeamish, but the area I’m in doesn’t offer sedation so it’s either that or wait 3 more upset, nauseous days and have local anaesthetic- IF there’s a bed available- I’ll be 6.5 weeks pregnant by then. I had no sign of sickness until a few days ago, now have fluctuating nausea and really want this over with! I feel horrible and heartless- but now I’ve made a final decision I just want it gone yesterday! 🙁
When I found out I swung wildly in each direction for 2 weeks, hormonal and crying, talked with the father- who I don’t want to be IN a ‘proper’ relationship with, he wants a baby but is on welfare and in no position to provide for one, with no desire to be a mostly full-time parent. He has an adult child and is more romantic about it than I am, he sees “hard work, but a child makes it all worthwhile!” whereas I see 90% hard slog on no sleep, punctuated by the sound of shrill screaming- with the cute smiles and noises…obviously, but I’ve never had ‘baby fever’ and prefer older children, in small doses…The thought of a tiny helpless baby doesn’t make me melt, it makes me panic…and then….18-25 years of feeding, cleaning, clothing, teaching, disciplining, school (I HATED school and don’t want to be involved with it again) struggling with no money and no family support whatsoever, even finding somewhere to live is a massive struggle if you’re poor…Huge struggle and stress that I’d not be suited to at all due to health issues, and fundamentally- the lack of desire for that to be my life.
So after a lot of “what if” deliberation, crying and “could we make it work somehow?” my answer is No. I like being childfree, If I want to be with with kids I can visit friends who have them, I’m quite old now and not always well, I’ve already decided I’m an animal person, not a small human’s Mummy.
Until recently I’ve been on the fence about whether or not I wanted a child, I love my friends children…but I’m always happy when they go to bed and we can have adult time, I find looking after small children incredibly dull. I’ve worked as a nanny and looked after children of varying ages- The only one I actually really enjoyed being with was a 12 year old; looking after babies had me clock-watching, counting the hours until the parents return. The main feelings I get from imagining taking care of a child 24/7 for as long as they need it are ‘resentful, exhausted and trapped.’ It makes me feel like a monster, but it’s the truth.
Even as a child I imagined myself adopting a 3 or 4 year old, IF I was well off, which I have never been, and will never be unless I win the lottery. I’ve looked after babies as a job so I know I only enjoy it a small percentage of the time, when they’re asleep, being quiet or otherwise not screaming. I find no satisfaction in care-giving- unless it’s for an animal. for me It’s tedious, relentless and mind meltingly boring. I’ve been told I’m ‘wrong’ and ‘unnatural’ for feeling like this by various people- as all child free women have experienced.
Society pushes the idea that as a woman you MUST want to be a mother, so I’m only now really coming to terms with the fact that it’s NOT something I want…Unfortunately this has happened through a second unwanted pregnancy- rather than conscious thought about it beforehand! I have a chronic illness and mental health issues, even if I did really want it I don’t think I’d cope well. My belief is that people should ONLY have a child because they REALLY want it, and are prepared to make the enormous sacrifices it involves. No-one should have a child because it’s the expectation of society, their family or friends, or because they “don’t want to be lonely” That is what I call selfish, not deciding to be child-free because you know you couldn’t provide for their needs.
I had an idea that if I was in ‘the right position’ I’d want a child, but I’ve never been close to the right position and I’ve never felt a drive to ‘Just damn the circumstances and have a baby!’ like some friends have. Unfortunately for me I’m quite fertile, after being told by a doctor that I was likely to be infertile due to illness! Unlike many women I never had a serious scare or became PG when I was young, I was on the pill/ morning after/when I had unprotected sex nothing happened…I was lucky…Until age 35, when I got pregnant from a casual fling. I did the “could I manage being a single parent?” dilemma, then had an abortion and felt sad but relieved. I sometimes think “I’d have a kid *this* age now…” but that’s about it…no regrets, apart from not using contraception!
Now I’m in my 40’s and it’s happened again. STUPID. I feel SO, SO stupid. I had no support or empathy from the GP I saw, who was very unprofessional. I went to a sexual health clinic and was booked in for a scan- over a week later. The nurses were really lovely but I desperately needed support long before seeing them- and there was just a void. the GP laughed cheerily and said “all you need to decide is whether or not you want a baby” like it’s that simple. I’m poor, I live in a small rented flat, I have no supportive family, I’m isolated in a place I’m not from, with no friends except the embryo’s father. I feel angry that there’s so little support available here. I had phone counselling last time (In the place I’m from) and it really helped. Well, I have 3 more days to wait until my next appointment- where I’ll probably take the first pill and have an induced miscarriage. It’s absolutely horrible, but I’ve got myself into this mess so I will have to cope with it now. Thank you for reading my long ramble. I’m too emotionally drained and teary to edit. I send you all virtual love and solidarity. This is never an easy thing to do and it’s never something we take lightly.