This is one of the hardest stories I have ever read, it came from someone I would call a friend in the blogosphere, someone who I have shared an embrace with over a glass of wine, someone who wouldn’t want pity for her tale but would want others to know that they aren’t alone. Someone who would want the world to remember that life isn’t black and white but a tumultuous grey whirlwind that picks us up and swirls us around. This is her untold tale of rape and abortion, it comes with a trigger warning.
**** GUEST POST ****
My Abortion Story
I remember back to when I was eighteen, my whole life ahead of me. I had my first serious boyfriend, I had a job and I had moved out of home just a few months earlier. Back then life had it’s ups and downs, but I was young, I was happy and I was looking forward to the future. I had the world at my feet and I was looking forward to enjoying a few years before getting married, having babies and living happily ever after.
But that all changed so suddenly.
I used to go for drinks with my colleagues after work quite often so when someone who worked with us, an undercover security guard, invited me for a drink after work one night I thought nothing of it. Back then I really thought men and women could go for drinks together, platonically, and it would just be a nice way to spend an evening.
So that night I went to a local pub with the security guard. I hadn’t even got changed out of my work uniform – and he had purely taken the security tabs off his shirt. It was so informal and relaxed. It felt no different to any other drink with work colleagues.
We sat on a sofa and chatted whilst the drinks flowed. I had such a nice evening, just chatting to someone new and enjoying his company but it got to a point where I knew I had to go home ready for work the next day. It was getting late and I had really had enough to drink.
So I excused myself and went to the toilet before heading home. As soon as I stood up I realised how drunk I was. The room span and I remember trailing my hand along the corridor to the toilets for support.
I pushed the toilet door open and walked into a cubicle and as I turned to close the door it was pushed back and I was forced against the side of the cubicle by the security guard who, minutes before, I had been having such a nice evening with.
I just remember being so drunk. I didn’t say no, I was so drunk and shocked that words just didn’t come and I had no power to stop what happened to me in that toilet cubicle. I don’t remember leaving the toilets or even getting home, but everything else I remember so vividly.
Back then, fifteen years ago, I felt so stupid. I blamed myself completely. I had gone for a drink with a man and I should have realised that he’d only wanted one thing – not purely to spend an evening in my company.
Now, things would have been so different. There’s so much more awareness of this sort of thing. Rape isn’t always a stranger down a dark alley and instead it can be a friend, a colleague or a family member. It can happen to anyone and it really is never the victim’s fault. But, back then, it really didn’t feel that way.
I felt so dirty. I had only had sex with two people before that, both had been boyfriends and both had meant so much to me at the time. But, this man had stolen something from me – he had made sex feel like something worthless, that could just be taken without a second thought.
That night I lost the last of my innocence and my way of dealing with it was to bury it in a spiral of alcohol and one night stands. Sex was no longer something special to me after that and instead it was something I associated with being drunk. Plus, I felt like the more I had sex the further from my mind that toilet cubicle would be. I felt that moment would be diluted as the weeks and months went by.
I spent over a year in this cycle. I was on a path of self destruction. I would share a bottle of wine with a colleague on my lunch break, I would go straight out after work and I would stay out until the early hours of the morning – before having a couple of hours sleep and doing it all over again. At weekends I pretty much wouldn’t sleep, and would just go from one bar and club to another with house parties thrown in for good measure. At the time I thought I was having fun and living life but now I realise I was doing anything to avoid living life, to avoid thinking about what had happened and to avoid even looking in a mirror. It was a really awful time and it felt like it was going to go on forever. That was my new life.
But, it came to a head very suddenly when, a few months before my twentieth birthday, I found myself pregnant. Pregnant by a man nearly twice my age who ignored me when I told him I was pregnant and never spoke to me again.
I always thought I was anti-abortion but, I never thought I would find myself in that situation. I had always been so sensible, my head had always been screwed on and my heart had always been in the right place. But life had changed so much and I hardly recognised myself or the life I was living.
I was between a rock and a hard place. Mentally, I was a mess. I had a minimum wage job and I rented a room in a house but I had debts, I had no family around me and my friends were only there when we were out drinking. I was just so alone. I had nothing to offer a baby – I didn’t even have it in me to love myself at that point, let alone love anything else. I was at the lowest point in my life.
So, I had an abortion. And it was the hardest decision I ever had to make. But, although I had to make that decision I didn’t feel like I really had a choice. I was at absolute rock bottom and adding continuing with the pregnancy would have been awful for me but even worse for the baby.
So I had the abortion and I promised myself that life would change. That I would stop drinking, that I would stop having one night stands, saving myself for a relationship that actually meant something to me. I promised myself, and that baby that would never be, that I would start again – and make my life as good as it possibly could be. I promised myself that life would not be wasted.
But, every day I thought about that baby. Every year on it’s due date I would think about it and every year on the anniversary of my termination I would cry and I would apologise for the mistakes I had made that had led me to that point.
Fifteen years on and I am now married with two beautiful children. Up until we found out we were pregnant for the first time I thought that I could probably not have children, that really I didn’t deserve to have children and so getting pregnant so easily, at a time when we really wanted a baby, was such a shock and a surprise to me. But, I hated myself for having that termination and even now part of me still hates myself for the decision I made but I know, deep down, it was the right decision for me at the time.
I still think about that baby that will never be. I still think about that man in the toilet cubicle but, those moments and decisions don’t define me. The pain is still there and sometimes it is as raw as when those things happened.
An abortion is never an easy decision to make. It is a decision that haunts me even now and a part of me died with that termination. Gradually though, I have been able to file the termination away inside of me, to not think about it as often. But that doesn’t stop it from upsetting me and hurting every time I do think about it. It doesn’t stop it bringing tears to my eyes as I type this.
I didn’t use abortion as a form of contraception. I was stupid, naive and incredibly young emotionally. I was in an incredibly bad place and having a termination gave me a second chance. For that I will always be thankful – and I am so glad that I had the freedom to choose.