In February I spoke at an event in Sydney, Walking With Love, an educational symposium designed to increase awareness of the needs of women experiencing unintended pregnancy and those who have had an abortion. A week after this event I received an email from a woman who had attended and heard me speak. With her permission, I share her story here.
'It was only on Saturday that I even heard about your organisation. Until I went to the symposium I didn't know there was help out there for people with unexpected pregnancies. It is too late for me now and I suffering with guilt, shame and loss. I feel like a terrible person who does not deserve forgiveness. Before I did it, I rang a 'counselling' service. They didn't tell me about you, they only said I would have to wait weeks to get in to see a counsellor in Sydney. I went to another counsellor and they didn't suggest you either. They told me to got a doctor, which I did. His advice? To have an abortion, because the alcohol I had been drinking had probably damaged my baby and it would be my fault if I brought a child with a disability into this world. They didn't give me any other option.
You have to get the word out there to other people so they do not suffer they way I will suffer the rest of my life. I feel like I have lost all my happiness in life. I have lost myself. I am not whole anymore. I am missing a big piece of me.
Every day I have flashbacks to the clinic. I am depressed; I drink; I am jealous of other mothers. I cry a lot; some days I can't make myself go to work. I am so angry and in so much pain. People everywhere should be told that lots of women who have an abortion don't do it because they have a choice. They do it because they believe they don't have a choice.'
This writer offered some suggestions for change. These included;
- It should be mandatory in schools to understand about the real consequences of sex and the repercussions of unexpected pregnancy.
- Counsellors everywhere should have to tell people about the other options out there and the emotional consequences of having an abortion.
- If just one person had said they would help me or there was somewhere I could get help, I wouldn't have done it (had the abortion). Everyone should have someone to help them.
I greatly admire the courage of this women in sharing her story with me and with you. It is only through such stories that we can begin to create change for all women and men and make the truth known.