I sat next to my 20 year old boyfriend in the rigid-unintentionally-1970’s themed waiting room, it’s actually 2006 . The ancient chairs were in no way comfortable, a little sticky and well overdue for a cuddle. I was unconsciously flicking through magazines I never thought I would see again since they were from 1994, they had some pretty great high waisted jeans. I sat there for hours frightened, mournful, heartbroken and conflicted about the decision I was about to make, about the decision I had already made.
My name was called and I looked up, I had not cried. Yet. I would not cry. Yet.
We were lead into a small impersonal room where they would complete a ultrasound scan and an assessment of my mental well being, worst time to check that IMO. I could not hold my tears in when they ask me ‘why I need to have this abortion, if I have enough support, If this is my decision?’ I could no longer hold the guilt in, and the tears broke me and the tears fell, The Counsellor gave me time, they gave me space. I lay down on the sterile bed that hundreds of girls before me have also lied on while fighting with their own decisions, their own demons, crying the same tears, thinking the same thoughts, having the same fears. The Doctor completed a scan of the baby, the baby I would never meet, the sibling of the one year old son I already had. They don’t show me the screen but they politely and carefully ask if I would like to keep an image of the baby and I decline. On the inside I am aching to see my baby, almost taking a peep at the screen because that one peep could change it all, it might have changed it all. To see the child that was a part of me, the child that I could grow. They tell me I am 5 weeks along and that they deem me mentally well enough and comfortably numb enough with my decision to continue.
Yay. (delightful sarcasm)
On the inside, I doubt myself, for taking the child from inside me and having it taken from me at my own request.
Back in the waiting room we wait again. Hours later and I am donned with a robe, hairnet and some slippers. We sit, me in my attractive get up and he sitting somewhere near me. We wait for my name to be called. If there was a time to back out it was now. I looked over to my boyfriend at one point and thought, ‘Could I? Might I?’ But I couldn’t because from my side there was nothing left, and the hardest part was that he didn’t know that yet and he didn’t know that this; this was the end for us. My decision to not have his second child, was me not wanting to be stuck here with him.
They call my name and this time it is the last time. They lead me to a tall bed in the middle of a large white sterile room, with a few nurses, an anesthesiologist and a Doctor all mainly dressed in white. They all watch me as I, the 21 year old mother of 1, a devoted and loving mother walks over to the table, they smile at me as I slowly climb onto the tall white bed and lie down where they check my name and birth date. They check with me one last time:
“We are ready, are you sure you want to go ahead?”
The tears roll down my face as the nurse grabs my hand and holds it so softly as if to tell me it’s going to be ok. My tears roll into my ears as they place the mask over my face and tell me to count backwards from 10……22.214.171.124…
8 years later:
I am here again. Sitting with my husband, my Batman, at the same hospital, in the same sticky chairs, the same offices, the same health checks, the same slippers, the same robes. The same heart is breaking for this, at this, in this, with this. The partner this time is no boyfriend, this is my husband, this man is a man I love, adore and cherish, a man I decided to marry four years earlier, this man is the same man that I have since had two babies with, one of my children is not his own but he’s taken on as his own anyway, this is the same wonderful man whom I created this very baby with.
They call my name for the last time, I silently promise myself, this time is the last time. They lead me to the same room and they all watch me as I, the 29 year old, married mother of 3, a devoted and loving mother walks over, they smile at me gently as I climb to the tall white bed, I lie down and they check my name and birth details, and they check with me one last time:
“Are you ready to go ahead?”
The tears roll down my face in waterfalls and I sob louder and harder than I did the last time, my chest heavily heaving with each sob. This time this nurse is a girl from my high school, she watches me and tenderly holds my hand. The tears roll into my ears and wet the sides of my head as they place the mask over my face and ask me to count the same backwards from 10…….126.96.36.199.5
Both times I woke up groggy and empty. Both times I felt relief and sadness, relief that it was done, sadness because it was just that, sad. But I had made that decision, and that is a decision I decide to live with.
That decision is ours to make. A decision that women world over deserve the right to make. We don’t need to justify our decisions to have abortions to anyone because that is noone elses business other than our own. And nobody, nobody in this world has the right to shame a woman for making a decision based on what is best for her.
I don’t need you to be ok with my decisions, I need to be ok with my decisions.
*If you or someone you know is pregnant and needs help, advice or support please visit http://www.childrenbychoice.org.au