My experience with abortion.

It’s been three years and I still haven’t written this post. It’s not because of shame, it’s not because I’ve been afraid of what people would think of me – well, maybe a little bit.

I am an advocate for women’s rights and I’m stoically pro choice, but always from the other side of the window pane. Until it wasn’t from the other side of the window pane and it became my reality. Until I had an abortion myself.

I have written before about abortion but never from a personal perspective which in a way makes me feel a bit of a fraud. I’ve sat for three years and defended the right to have a termination – for whatever reason – but never actually felt like I could declare I had been through it myself. I remember writing about abortion being a women’s rights issue after Donald Trump was voted into power and some crazies in ‘Murica decided to take their country back a hundred years and my friend Mia from Cigarettes and Calpol tweeted me to say that she had seen my post and couldn’t believe the response – she wanted to publish something similar but found it hard because her experience was personal. I couldn’t find the words to tell her that mine was too. I had been there, she wasn’t alone. I couldn’t do it through a fear of being judged and because everything was so damn raw at the time. Termination is so shrouded in guilt and shame – frequently perpetuated by men (cough, patriarchy – GTFO my womb dudes) that even when we so firmly believe, as I do, that it is a woman’s right not to have to continue with a pregnancy, we struggle to make peace with it ourselves. That is society’s fault. That is not on us.

This is my story.

The pill and the coil had had really negative impacts on my health in the past and I was still breastfeeding so I was incredibly limited as to what contraception I could take, so Adam and I decided to use family planning. It had worked for us in the past, only falling pregnant when we weren’t really trying to prevent and were happy to go with the flow. This time however, we had a pregnancy scare and I was mortified. We both were. Edith was 8 months old, we had 3 children 4 and under and there was no way, not a chance, that we were ready to welcome another life. Not for my mental or physical health with a tenuous section scar or Adam’s. No.

So onto the pill I went. Turns out that pregnancy scare? We will never know if it was a scare or just missed because I was so early, but 6 weeks later, a completely normal period and 6 weeks of taking the progesterone only pill, I was pregnant. Shit.

We made the decision that I would visit the doctor and take what is affectionately termed the “abortion pill”. Nice. At the time I was showing as only 2-4 weeks pregnant so in theory we had caught this early enough, despite the failed pill and there would be no heartbeat and the tablets would be the simplest and most effective way to end a pregnancy without too much trauma. A scan would determine it to figure out whether or not I could have these tablets – which I would later find out have varying levels of effectiveness from 20% to 80% depending on which ones you wanted to take, which is a testament to how very shit our system is in supporting the women that need this: it ain’t very effective, love, but it’s your fault you’re pregnant so you should suffer through this first is the undeniable subtext here and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

I wasn’t only 2-4 weeks, I was 6 weeks. I sat, alone because Adam didn’t take time off work for the appointment – didn’t want to explain what was going on in order to ask for time off… after all, it wasn’t really his problem now was it? That is how it felt at the time – perhaps that wasn’t fair, distancing yourself is a good tool of self preservation, but at the time the toll it took on our relationship was huge. I took the tablets, first one and then after 6 hours another. I drove home alone, despite a warning on the tablets to have someone with you – there was no one, Adam went to football because he didn’t want to think about what I was doing, needed a bit of space. It’s one thing in our marriage that I don’t think I will ever forgive him for, but it’s a shining example of how men view abortion and why the laws in some countries are the way they are: it’s not my problem. Even when they love you. It’s just not their problem. You are the one who is pregnant now, despite their involvement.

The tablets, which should have stopped the pregnancy and made me bleed so heavily that I felt sluggish and ill for days, failed. They failed. At 13 weeks and 2 days I went for a scan to ensure that the tablets had worked but they hadn’t, there was a foetus – a baby that had a heart beat and a 98% chance of having some kind of life limiting birth defect, that couldn’t possibly be discovered until 20 weeks, even with all the tests in the world. A combination of taking these tablets to end pregnancy and continuing with the progesterone only pill meant that the chances that this baby could survive and be born healthy were nill and if they did survive? The impact that would have on our family was not something that I was willing to place on my living children when the decision had been made weeks before, not something I intended to spend my life beating myself over for choosing to end a pregnancy and it failing so bringing a life I had damaged into the world. No way.

I had to go through it all again, but this time an invasive operation that I had taken the tablets to avoid. The first time I thought I had grieved for what we both felt we couldn’t keep, but this time was different. Again, Adam didn’t get the time off work, he says he asked but I will be blunt, I never believed that he did and I don’t think that is unfair. It’s a self protective mechanism isn’t it? To distance yourself, to walk away. I try hard not to blame him for that, not to resent the fact that I felt so alone because, realistically, if he had been there I would have felt so alone anyway. You are alone in that decision. You don’t get that luxury of walking away from it or separating yourself when it’s in your body which is why the choice should always, unequivocally, be yours.

At this point the pregnancy was too far along to perform the D&C without a general aesthetic, so that is what happened, I remember such kindness and compassion from the staff – they didn’t judge, they were probably the only ones – as much as my mum said she didn’t, I always felt she did deep down and friends didn’t know. I didn’t tell anyone until months after. I remember waking up and I had been crying in my sleep, the nurse who handed me a glass was the same one who gave me the tablets in the previous clinic and told me that they were ineffective but they weren’t really allowed to tell women that. Great stuff.

I came home and Adam came back from work, he tried so so hard to be there, to make up for NOT being there when I really needed him but it was a bit little too late. At 13 weeks, I didn’t really want to end that pregnancy at all. That’s the truth. That’s what stings. I did what was right at the time, I know that, it was right for my mental and physical health, right for my husband and right for my children, but it was not something I wanted to do. It was something I thought I was preventing, something I took steps to prevent.

For weeks afterwards I would cry, sporadically. It damaged my relationship for a time and it damaged me in more ways than I care to admit.

Abortion is not the kind of thing that a woman (or most women) do flippantly. The other 5 women in the room with me post D&C were all being collected by husbands or long term partners and every single one already had children but had made this decision for all the reasons that they felt were right. In fact, statistically, more than half of women who have abortions already have children and the majority of abortions carried out in the UK are on women in their thirties who have made a conscious and well-balanced decision.

Abortion clinics aren’t like you see on the TV, they are filled with women who are having this procedure for a number of reasons – they have no other options because the foetus isn’t viable, there is an issue with their health or mental health, they don’t have the house space for another child… so many reasons, but these are not teenagers who just couldn’t be arsed to get themselves on the pill – that is not the case. For some, it’s just not the right time for a plethora of reasons and surely, surely that is better than birthing an unwanted child and placing it in a system that just doesn’t care. I remember saying to a friend that I had been for a D&C and instantly her response was to assume that I’d had another miscarriage and it was something that I would be sad about, struggling with. It was, but for very different reasons, which only made me feel more alone and more ashamed.

I wanted to share my story, my personal experience for a few reasons – it’s cathartic to write about it is certainly one reason to write about it, but more than that, I wanted women who had been through the experience that they aren’t alone. Statistically, one in three women will have a termination at some point in their lives but it is so rare that we talk about it. They aren’t the only ones who have been there, who have found themselves in the position of not wanting to have a termination but feeling that there are no other options. Of choosing their living family, the ones that need them now over the potential life. I wanted to share this because it’s an experience that so many women, far more than I ever would have expected, have been in these shoes but feel so very alone. The fear, the guilt and the self judgement are far worse than anything religious nuts or crazy pro-life activist can throw at you. Talk about your experience and DON’T judge yourself.

You did what was right for your family, just like I did what was right for mine.

H x

58 Comments

  1. March 26, 2018 / 2:58 am

    Thank you for your post. I agree that is is every woman’s right to decide (along with her partner is that’s appropriate). First, my heart goes out to older women who did not have abortions, and gave up their babies, either willingly or forcibly, back in the 60s, and have spent the rest of their lives wondering about the child. The film ‘Philomena’ is also a reminder of the pain when the child is taken away and the mother spends the rest of her life wondering about it.

    I teach first year students at university and many come from different cultures, religions, and so on, and I gave the example of an African woman, a new refugee to Australia, who had nine children and recently lost her husband to AIDS. She wanted an abortion, and I used this as an example in class when we were debating the issue. Those students going into nursing and who were also deeply entrenched in culture and religion opposed to abortion, were keen to shame the woman. I did say, and bearing in mind these students are only just beginning their careers and may still be idealistic, this woman needs compassion, not criticism. She knew she couldn’t feed and look after another mouth.

    Well done on your honesty. I just wish the world was more receptive.

  2. Amanda
    March 23, 2018 / 7:03 am

    Thank you for sharing your deeply personal experience and also for writing so eloquently about the failures in our ‘options’ and subsequent painful decisions we are left to make. I am so sorry you have felt so alone. As you can see from the replies, you are not alone Harriet and hopefully by writing this, you will help other women who may be struggling at the moment, see that too. Thank you for your courage. Blessings to you and your family x

  3. Rebecca
    March 23, 2018 / 12:01 am

    The guilt I feel every day when there are other women who are unable to have children …they either can’t seem to fall pregnant or suffer a miscarriage….it breaks my heart….but I had to do what was right for me & my family of already 3 children….but I so did not want to do it…..and that is what I will live with…..the guilt and the shame….thank you for writing this x

    • Miss J
      March 25, 2018 / 9:42 am

      I accompanied my friend to an abortion clinic. At the time I, married for 8 years, was desperate for a baby. She knew that, but I also knew that this was her choice and what she needed to do – she needed support not judgement & I was proud to play my part. I finally got my longed-for baby 2 years later, but my poor friend was not able to carry a pregnancy later in her life when the time was right. Several painful miscarriages led to her choice to bd sterilised. So sad. My heart still aches for her.

  4. Jenny Marsh
    March 22, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    A beautifully written piece. Although my reason was different, it brought hidden memories flooding back.
    40 years ago, I was a ‘couldn’t be arsed with contraception’ 18 year old. I know I made the right decision to terminate. Doesn’t mean I don’t wonder every September what my child would look like now.

  5. Laura Whieldon
    March 22, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    Well written.
    Comes from the heart.
    I think many women feel alone not just with terminating a pregnancy but just the every day struggle of children and life.
    A brave choice. Not sure I could have done it but it wasn’t a snap decision but thought through.
    If your still struggling with this and grieving can I suggest you seek out a counsellor and talk it through.
    Massive hugs xxx

  6. Jen
    March 22, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    You are so brave. My heart was breaking for you reading this. There are so many errors in the healthcare system that one choice that you had the right to make and was hard enough to chose to do became even more mentally and physically stressful for you than it should have been. I hope other women read this and feel strength to share their stories. I live in a country where abortion is illegal even for medical reasons and it horrifies me that our politicians think this is okay.

  7. Claire
    March 22, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    Great article; thank you. So similar to my experience; condom broke, morning after pill, starting new pill so that it couldn’t happen again – morning after pill hadn’t worked and high likelihood of a damaged baby. My boyfriend and I were both going away to different universities in a few months and had agreed we’d split when we did. Things went downhill – he tried to be supportive at first, but was a Catholic and didn’t want an abortion – but also wanted me to be the one to give up Uni. And I was so terrified I’d never be able to have children later (they really play up that angle!). I have children now, and I can’t say I regret my decision, but I’ve never really made peace with it either.

  8. Miranda
    March 22, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    Beautifully written piece. And a story I share. In my thirties, breastfeeding my youngest and problems with the progesterone only pill led me to the abirtion clinic. I too am a feminist and pro choice but I didn’t get it. I don’t regret the decision my partner and I made, it was absolutely right for us, I do regret that we found ourselves in that position. I struggle with my position being more than theoretical support – for all the societal judgements you say.
    Thank you so much for sharing your article. Honest and inspiring.

  9. Clare
    March 22, 2018 / 6:28 pm

    My heart goes out to you ?
    Real life is full of difficult & complex decisions & until you have walked a mile in someone elses shoes you shouldn’t judge them xx

  10. Anon
    March 22, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    Thank you for this. I made the same decision 5 years ago and still struggle with it now even though I am married to a (different but more wonderful guy) with a baby. I had no money and was not long in the relationship so felt it wasn’t strong relationship to parent in. If I hadn’t done it I wouldn’t be where I am today but I do struggle with feeling people would judge me . It sent me into two years of depression and when writing an anonymous post on a forum someone commented saying I was a murderer and had no sympathy as I had to live with my shameful mistake. I wasn’t asking for sympathy it was just a cry to talk to someone who had been through it and know I’d be ok eventually. Reading this made me feel less alone in it and that I should not be ashamed. Thank you

  11. March 22, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    Oh lovely…no 1 beautifully written no 2 sending the biggest hug no 3 it’s your/our choice to do what right for us.

  12. Lorraine
    March 22, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    So well written Harriet about all the things that go through your mind. In 1980 I left my abusive husband and found out 4 weeks later that I was pregnant, I was 22. In all honesty I didn’t want his child and I didn’t want a child to anchor me to that man for the rest of my life. I had a family GP who had known me since birth and when I spoke to him he referred me for an abortion and assured me all details would be deleted from my files – this was the 1980’s after all. I went into the local hospital 2 weeks later and was made to feel like a leper, I hadn’t told any of my family or friends so I was on my own. I was put in a maternity ward full of mothers who had just given birth and told I couldn’t tell anyone why I was there. The only saving grace was the Sister on the ward, who was someone I knew from school, and she was the only person why sympathised with me. I wasn’t told what would happen, no one explained a thing, and when the op was over the doctor came to see me and asked if I still thought I’d done the right thing. I told him yes and he turned his back on me and walked away. It’s never an easy decision for anyone to make, no matter what the right reasons are, but thank heavens there is some support now.

  13. Cassie
    March 22, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    What a beautifully written account . Thank you for sharing. I only hope it reaches the eyes of people who may, one day, realise what you’re saying. The patriarchy has a lot to answer for.

  14. Toni
    March 22, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    Massive respect… I’ve been through the same the past couple of weeksand this has helped me no end xx

  15. Cassandra
    March 22, 2018 / 2:16 pm

    Thank you for having the courage to write and share your story. For me, I had a barrier method contraception failure and immediately got the morning after pill. I thought I was fine having a period a couple of weeks later but then two months later I found out I had actually sutsained a pregnancy. I had a termination which was, as I know it is for all women who face it, the MOST difficult decision in my entire life and I know for me was entirely the right one.

    Being such a workhorse, rumours ran round the company as to why I was off work as I was never sick. While I did not broadcast it, when I was asked I answered honestly. Thankfully I did not meet with overt disapproval which I think would have demolished me, being in such a fragile state, but curiously my career path over the next year suddenly became limited and ultimately I left.

    I believe it is imperative that women are able to talk about their experiences, whatever their end decision and that we mutually support each other. For the women I’ve encountered who have been vocal in their disapproval of my choice – my reply to them is always the same – god forbid you find yourself in the same situation then. However compassionate, I don’t think any man can really understand, and for those men who legislate against a woman’s autonomy over their own body they are incomprehensible to me. What additionally concerns me is the lack of acknowledgement that one of the mechanisms by which hormonal birth control works is to reduce the chance of implantation of a fertilised ovum, so if you hold the pro-life view you effectively rule out everything other than unreliable barrier methods.

  16. Andrea
    March 22, 2018 / 1:39 pm

    My heart goes out to you. Such a beautifully written piece. Thank you so much for being so brave and sharing your pain. Xxx

  17. Fiona
    March 22, 2018 / 1:31 pm

    You are not alone.
    Thank you.
    And I hope your relationship is the support you deserve.
    xx

  18. Louie Jesson
    March 22, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    You did what was right for you. That is very brave. A beautifully written piece.

  19. Cheryl
    March 22, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    Trying so hard to stop crying right now. Your story touched a nerve with me because it could have been me writing it , my son was 3 and my daughter 8 months ( still breast feeding ) .when I discovered that my “still irregular” periods were another pregnancy . I was horrified ! 3 kids doesn’t sound too bad but my husband had just got custody of his 3 children from first marriage . and had just lost his job. I was 20 ! And facing motherhood for 6 children ( 3 who resented me on sight ..another story ) Luckily for me gp was sympathetic and arranged everything . My husband also didn’t come with me , someone had to look after the tribe at home . I sat on the ward feeling very very lost and alone, telling myself I was doing the right thing but my heart was breaking . The staff were really good and didnt seem to judge me . When it was all over i travelled home on the bus back to life as normal . But it wasnt , i couldnt tell anyone and my husband didn’t comment . But he did tell my mum and his mum ( despite me saying not to ..it was my secret ) not for support but for them to judge me for “murdering ” our baby.. he has said since that he didn’t mean it.but I heard it . I forgave him for NEVER being with me during delivery of our other two children,but his reaction to this …! when I had been sitting on the ward waiting for my turn the tv was talking about Prince Charles getting engaged to Diana Spencer.And it felt so surreal that life was going on outside as normalwhen mine was about to be turned upside down . Nobody makes the choice lightly , it’s not a form of birth control, its a big big step to take . . On the other hand my daughter in law gave birth at 23 weeks ,Labour couldn’t be stopped it was very speedy . And she was told that if the baby didn’t make a sound they wouldn’t fight for her ,they would consider it as a miscarriage . Luckily little Sophie was noisy then and now . But legally she could have been aborted . Maybe the process should be speeded up so the “cut off ” times are earlier ? Just my opinion

  20. Nina V
    March 22, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    And I agree, I cannot imagine any woman making this decision lightly. I know I didn’t.

  21. Jp
    March 22, 2018 / 11:54 am

    I had a termination at the end of last year, I opted for the operation but without general as I didn’t like the sound of the pills potentially not working and I wanted it out and over asap. My partner has 2 children and I have never wanted children (another concept many can ever get their head around!). I had tried a few pills and the implant none worked and I made the decision to never use any again. So we decided we’d use condoms which are horrible but it is what it is. Like you we found out at the initial meeting just how unreliable they are too.

    At the initial appointment I asked if there was any way they could refer me for sterilisation. I have been asking GPs since I was 21. None will entertain the idea, I have asked two doctors since the termination at different surgeries still no (I am nearly 30 now!). Seems very odd, main reason is my age, I am deemed old enough to have a family but not old enough to chose not to have a family!

    Anyway two days after that appointment procedure done, which itself was actually fine and nothing like I thought it would be. And I could carry on as usual. My partner didn’t come he had work, he did offer to come but I didn’t see any point as he wasn’t allowed into the room anyway. None of my family or friends know, doubt I will ever tell them. My sister has a two year old and last month we found out two of my sisters are expecting and are a month apart. Would have been a busy year if we had kept ours! I love children and have great fun with them but absolutely no desire to have my own.

    If I get pregnant again then I will do the exact same. We are still using protection and will continue too. I don’t feel affected by the procedure but do feel frustrated that I may end up having to repeat it potentially numerous times due to unwillingness to sterilise.

    Well done on speaking out from another ‘1 in 3’.

  22. March 22, 2018 / 10:39 am

    So sorry Harriet. That must have been incredibly difficult to go through. I really resonated with the things you said about being starkly alone in your body and in the decision when you are considering or going through an abortion. I felt the same, and that feeling was the worst part of my experience with unwanted pregnancy.

  23. March 22, 2018 / 9:17 am

    As always, Harriet, I’m in awe of you. I really appreciate your honesty, not just about having had to go through a termination and the chaotic system you were put through, but also the aftermath and how you felt about the lack of support. As women, we often feel guilty for admitting that we’re disappointed — that we have been let down by someone we love. But it’s in that truth that lies our authenticity, intimacy and our relationship. Sometimes we think that we’re protecting the other person’s feelings by not admitting that they hurt and disappoint us but it causes more damage. Abortion is something that *many* women have gone through but it’s a chapter that they don’t visit. I hope that women read this and know that they’re not alone. Thank you.

  24. March 22, 2018 / 8:36 am

    Beautifully written honey. I’m sure that your honesty and courage to tell your story will help many women feel less alone.

  25. Marielli
    March 22, 2018 / 3:40 am

    Your so brave and strong and amazing for writing this !! Thank u for speaking about this!! ❤️

  26. Bg
    March 22, 2018 / 3:31 am

    Wow – I can’t imagine being in such a position. Such strength and to share it too.

  27. Sarah
    March 22, 2018 / 12:29 am

    As a woman in America, threatened by the power of Trump, and what he may do to my right to do what I choose with my body, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. You are an incredibly brave woman xx

  28. Vicki Hodges
    March 21, 2018 / 11:14 pm

    Written with such emotion I could almost feel like you were talking directly to me and I could feel your pain. You are a wonderful human, mother and wife and don’t ever stop to question that. I hope writing it all down helped heal you and I know it’ll help so many women by you speaking out. Give yourself plenty of TLC xx

  29. Saz
    March 21, 2018 / 11:03 pm

    Your honestly makes this such a wonderful price of writing. I’ve never been through it myself, so I can’t really imagine how it feels. Yet, I know that your words will be a comfort to so many, they will be exactly what they need to here to know they are not alone. Your bravery in sharing is amazing

  30. Amanda
    March 21, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    I went through something of a similar experience after have my second daughter. 3 months after her birth I found myself pregnant again. Logically I knew we couldn’t do it. I still needed to work and I had a 3 month old to take care off. I did the aboration pill and I remember sitting there crying after taking it, my 3 month old asleep next to me and my husband at work, my heart was breaking knowing we couldn’t bring another child into this world. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
    Everything you wrote resonated with me as I felt the same.

    Big hugs xx

  31. March 21, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    My heart goes out to you. Such a brave post and thank you for sharing your experience. I can’t imagine that this would ever be a flippant decision. It’s awful that women are made to feel so guilty about it even though it’s nothing to do with a anyone else. I’m most certainly pro-choice and it’s always the woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. The woman can’t walk away from a pregnancy, a man always can if it’s “too much”. Hope you’re ok xx

  32. Elle
    March 21, 2018 / 9:38 pm

    Beautifully written. I too have had a termination, before I had any other children, as it was the right decision for me at the time. It’s definitely not a decision that I feel anyone takes lightly and now that I have a daughter, it weighs even heavier on my mind. I never really told many people about it, mostly because I’m adopted and those who do know feel as an adoptee, I should have made a different choice.
    It’s so very hard to know what to do/say until you’re in that position.
    You’re so very strong, I’m sorry that it went the way it did for you, but I hope you can continue to heal.

  33. Lucy
    March 21, 2018 / 8:57 pm

    Beautifully written and so relatable. There should be more dialogue and more support in this area but I feel like abortion is still so taboo and shrouded in guilt. I feel like it’s difficult for people to understand and support you with your loss and your grief when it’s perceived as being your choice or something that you wanted

  34. March 21, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    Incredibly moving and a situation that I’m sure no mother ever wants to be in, in fact it’s my worse bloody nightmare and puts me off sex all together if I am being blunt. Bravo for you to standing up to the sh*t stirrers and do gooders. Our bodies are our own and it’s our right to do as we so wish and sometimes for the good of others and not always the best for us. You are an incredibly brave woman, mother and partner. You stand tall and proud my darling. Sending huge huge love x x x

  35. March 21, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    Incredibly moving and a situation that I’m sure no mother ever wants to be in, in fact it’s my worse bloody nightmare and puts me off sex all together if I am being blunt. Bravo for you to standing up to the sh*t stirrers and do gooders. Our bodies are our own and it’s our right to do as we so wish and sometimes for the good of others and not always the best for us. You are an incredibly brave woman, mother and partner. You stand tall and proud my darling. Sending huge huge love x x x

  36. March 21, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    Incredibly moving and a situation that I’m sure no mother ever wants to be in, in fact it’s my worse bloody nightmare and puts me off sex all together if I am being blunt. Bravo for you to standing up to the sh*t stirrers and do gooders. Our bodies are our own and it’s our right to do as we so wish and sometimes for the good of others and not always the best for us. You are an incredibly brave woman, mother and partner. You stand tall and proud my darling. Sending huge huge love x x x

  37. March 21, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    I haven’t had one, but am all for women being able to make a choice for themselves.
    I always said I would never have one myself and would take what fate gives me, but now I’m expecting twins I have a 40% chance of having a multiple pregnancy again.
    This pregnancy has been horrific both physically and mentally and I honestly can say I cannot do it again.
    I hope we can take steps to prevent this, but as your experience shows, nothing is 100% and if I did fall pregnant again it would be an option that I didn’t think I’d ever consider.
    Thank you for being so open and letting people realise that its an option that shouldn’t come with prejudice or stigma.

  38. Sophie
    March 21, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    So much love for you! It’s hard to out these things in to words. I still struggle to talk through my experience but, I know it was the right thing to do.

  39. Anon
    March 21, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. You have put into words my own experience and feelings of guilt, shame and remorse that I’m still coming to terms with 2 years on. I’ve only told two people for fear of offending them or being judged as a mum. So much of this resonates with me including the impact on my relationship with my husband. I’m so glad I found this post and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being braver than I have managed to be. With love and in solidarity. xx

  40. March 21, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    Well done for writing this Harriet, it’s so refreshingly honest. Our medical system is so patriarchal. Women get the shirt end of the stick. I’m so mad about those pills! Birth, breastfeeding, ‘women’s issues’ is grossly underfunded. It sure as shit wouldn’t be like this if men were the ones getting pregnant.

  41. March 21, 2018 / 9:46 am

    Thank you for your bravery and honesty. It’s refreshing to see a side of this topic that isn’t shoved down our throat the media or that doesn’t fit into what most of society sees, such as careless teenagers. I’ve always been pro-choice as, like you said, everyone has their own reasons. It’s not for anyone to judge why. However, I had no idea the statistics were so high and that saddens me. Not for the fact that many have happened but purely that there are that many women out there who could be struggling in silence. I hope your post reaches all those women who need to read it. Biggest hugs to you love.

  42. March 21, 2018 / 9:36 am

    Beautifully written lovely,very brave to write about your experience

  43. Stacey
    March 21, 2018 / 9:28 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your story Harriet. I have found that following ‘Women of the 8th-in her shoes’ on Facebook which shares the anonymous stories of Irish women who have to procure abortions abroad (mostly here in the UK, or via those pills illegally online) such an eye opener. I don’t think we can change hearts and minds regarding choice with facts, but if we can share womens heartfelt stories, often of mothers with much wanted babies, who have to make hard but right decisions for their families, well maybe we can convince more people to vote YES to repeal in May. Your story contributes to this and as I firmly believe the personal is the political. BIG LOVE to you Stacey (Black&Beech) XXX

  44. Fliss
    March 21, 2018 / 9:04 am

    You are so brave. What an ordeal to go through. Thank you for sharing. Just goes to show how strong a relationship needs to be to survive something like that. I salute you. I love your blog/insta stories and for representing women and what we go through. Love to you and your family. X

  45. March 21, 2018 / 8:52 am

    So well written. Sending you the hugest hugs. I have had a termination. It all went wrong too and I ended up in hospital for a week. This was before I had my 3 children though and before i met my husband. I would have done the same in your position. Don’t ever feel bad. Thank you for sharing something so personal xx

  46. Bee
    March 21, 2018 / 8:47 am

    A deeply emotional read, having a few tears through your grief. I’m sorry you had to make one of the most difficult decisions anyone could ever make, but glad you are sharing it, don’t feel ashamed for not writing sooner, that is no ones provocative but your own. I hope it resonates with any ladies who need to hear another voice, a confirmation that they to are not alone.

    • Harriet March 21, 2018 / 8:56 am

      Thank you, I hope it helps someone xx

  47. March 21, 2018 / 8:29 am

    Oh Harriet, this is such an incredibly written piece. And it just makes me want to reach out, give you a huge hug and tell.you that it’s okay. You’ve done nothing wrong. ‘Being pro choice from the other side of the window pane’ is a sentiment I can wholly relate to. The thing is, if you felt blase about it, if it was an easy thing to do, that wouldn’t be you. You are a mother. And a bloody incredible, empathetic, sensitive yet fierce force of nature. I am so sorry the medical system let you down so cruelly. That shouldn’t happen. And you suffered at the hands of it. Big hugs, darling. You deserve nothing but love, respect and kindness.

    • Harriet March 21, 2018 / 8:55 am

      Thank you my love xx

  48. March 21, 2018 / 8:21 am

    Well done. Brilliantly written ensuring all angles covered. I do hope some weight has been lifted and that judgement doesn’t put it back xxx

    • Harriet March 21, 2018 / 8:55 am

      Thank you my love x

  49. March 21, 2018 / 8:09 am

    Such a brave post to write.

    People always judge before they listen don’t they? There used to be protests outside our local ‘clinic’ and it was awful. These poor women being subjected to abuse because they had made a decision based on their current family situation or for the sake of their own mental health. A decision, like you said, that probably would have stopped another child joining the system or suffering. But that didn’t matter in the protesters eyes.

    Why is a mother’s decision always the last to be acknowledged? This decision wouldn’t have been taken lightly!

    I could go on, but I’ll stop now. As you can tell, I’m pro-choice.

    Thank you for writing. I have no doubt that someone in the position you were will read this and get the help they need.

    • Harriet March 21, 2018 / 8:55 am

      Thank you Kate. Protesters are such a bug bare of mine. There are so many reasons people go to clinics. Ask em if they will adopt. xx

  50. Katie
    March 21, 2018 / 8:01 am

    Thank you ❤

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