At the age of 17, I never even considered the thought of being a mother...

"At the age of 17, I never even considered the thought of being a mother, giving birth or having a child- I knew that it wasn't the right all. Although, it seems that my body had other plans as this March/May I found myself to be 17 and pregnant. I'd missed a period but never even thought it could be pregnancy until my boyfriend convinced me to take a test. I went in to buy the test feeling so small and embarrassed; the worst part was that it hadn't scanned through properly, so the beepers went off and I felt completely exposed holding my little package.

At home I did the test alone when my mum was out. The waiting wasn't difficult because quite literally seconds after, the test came out very positive. My first reaction was to freak, but instead I found myself crying and feeling so alone. I didn't want to tell anyone, I was ashamed at how stupid I was...(my mum isn't strict- but she's always had this phobia of her children having babies young. I think she's just very traditional.)

I had been with my boyfriend around 5months and we were extremely close and pretty serious, but I couldn't let him know what had happened. I didn't want to hurt him or anger him. I wasn't sure how he would react, possibly because I didn't quite understand how I was reacting. When I finally told him, he was so supportive and calm and mature about the whole situation. I felt relief knowing he wasn't angry with me- even though I should have known he would never have reacted like that. He's never been one to let his emotions show too much and I was desperate to know how he really felt, but his calm attitude relaxed me and stopped me from losing it completely. I also told my best friend, she's had a scare in the past and we're close enough to talk about anything without judgment.

The next day I faked ill to stay off school so that I was able to ring around and enquire about abortions. An abortion felt like my only option: I'm in full time education with aspirations to go to uni and emotionally I didn't feel mature enough to raise a child. I know it seems like I had pretty closed off views and maybe I didn't think about it much, because it was easier not to- but once my mind was set, there was no time to even consider the potential options. After speaking to what felt like 100 different people, I found a walk in clinic. Luckily I could drive so it would be easier to get there. With every person I spoke to on the phone, I felt uneasy and judged. The word 'abortion' has always been used like a death sentence around me. Everyone I spoke to was helpful, yet seemed awkward when I was ringing about a "pregnancy termination". Especially seeing as I sound about the age of 12 on the phone. I guess it is quite a controversial topic of conversation.

The walk in centre booked me in for an appointment at a clinic. My boyfriend and I had been fighting alot- mainly because I was picking arguments through stress. I had exams and coursework due, which I know is no excuse, but i'm definitely one to stress. The building pressures of everything made me take it out on everyone around me. No matter how hard I tried to keep my anger to myself, it wasn't working. We went together to the clinic- at this point only my best friend and him knew. I said it would be fine and i'd go in by myself. I now regret that hugely as it wasn't just me going through this situation, he had the right to come in to the appointment if he wanted to. But I didn't want to scare him off, and I wanted to be brave and do it alone.

The appointment was going smoothly, they gave me hope that I could have the first part of the medical procedure there and then on that day. I was having bloods taken and filling out forms- until they realised that I hadn't told anyone 18 and over. The Doctor tried to convince me to tell someone, asking if there was anyone who could come pick me up that day. I pleaded with him, telling him there was no need and that I would be fine. He wasn't having it. In fact, he asked me to tell my sister over the phone and thats when it all got too real and I couldn't hold it in any longer. I spent a good half hour crying pathetically to the nurse- I couldn't explain why. It was fear, stress and anger all in one.

She went to look for my boyfriend in the waiting room, but he had gone out briefly. I didn't want him to see me in this state. I had been trying so hard to hold it all together. I was and still am so angry at myself for falling apart so pathetically in front of strangers I didn't even know. Worst part is that when I needed him I didn't want him because I was too ashamed of myself for not being strong enough to keep my emotions concealed. So, after being told that nothing could happen until I had told someone who could look after me and was 18 or over, we left the clinic feeling drained.

I don't know why I thought it would be so easy? My boyfriend offered to tell his mum. I didn't want to tell anyone, scared of what they would think of me. I also felt like it was my responsibility and out of the two of us I would have to tell my parents seeing as this situation was my fault. The drive home was horrible. We weren't speaking, everything was tense and nothing felt ok and normal. We had a big fight- I can't even remember what it was about. I've come to realise that it affected him as much as me. Just because my body and emotional mindset was going through changes- didn't mean he wasn't too.

I felt and still feel selfish at how I handled the situation as 'my' problem. The thing is, it seemed so much scarier having this 'thing' growing inside of me. I loved it and despised it all at once, I couldn't quite understand what I was feeling for the 'thing'. It was easier to detattch myself from it by thinking of it as an object rather than a being- I know how wrong that must sound. At school I would walk around thinking that everyone knew, I felt so exposed. Everytime someone made a 'pregnancy' joke about the amount I was eating, my paranoia grew. Abortion is talked about so often in day to day life and everyone has their own views on it. I've never really expected the topic to affect me badly… Until now of course.

My relationship with my mum was tense- I felt too guilty and angry to talk to her. We would usually be so close; I think she put it down to exam stress. My eating habits were changing and I was no longer hungry or all of a sudden I would eat my bodyweight in food. But oddly enough I could drink an ocean.

By around this time we had managed to book a surgical abortion for the 8th of May. We were both relieved, and had told one of his friends who was 18- so we were able to convince the doctor that I was safe to have the procedure. I opted for a surgical abortion rather than a medical after doing plenty of research and reading other peoples abortion stories. It appeared to have the quickest recovery time and the less pain. I needed to be ready for exams and I wanted it to go as smoothly as possible.

Doing research began to become a sort of obsession at the time. Everytime I had a symptom come up, I would be straight on google, reading pregnancy tips etc. I think I was actually scaring my boyfriend off at this point. He didn't like to talk about it, but the problem was that I needed to. My best friend was always jokey and uplifting about the situation, but she never talked about it seriously with me. Probably because she knew this was the best way to deal with it and cope. But looking back on it, I really needed someone to talk to me about it, because here I am now, thinking about it months later still wondering whether I made the right choice?

Anyway. We needed transport there and back from the hospital. My boyfriends friend couldn't drive… So it was time to tell an adult. My boyfriend told his mum without me knowing- I stressed out at what she must have thought of me. I went over the next day and we sat down- my boyfriend, his mum and his mums friend. We had a conversation about all the options. They wanted to make sure I was going into it thinking about everything possible. But I couldn't think straight. How was I supposed to talk to two strangers when all I could feel was judgement and fear. I know they were only trying to help me think about the options, but fear overtook any suggestions that they made.

I felt so guilty- my mum should have been there too, but I couldn't bring myself to tell her. The disappointment from my parents would have been unbearable. (My boyfriends mums friend) told us that when she heard she thought it was a 'blessing' to us both, this really shocked me as I thought it was anything but that. To hear an adult tell me this and not judge me felt so unbelievably comforting.

Next was the waiting, which went suprisingly quickly. Exams were stressing me out. I had my french oral exam the day before the abortion, which wasn't ideal but I had to get on with it. My sit down exams would start the following week and I had art and photography deadlines the day of the abortion. I was worried this was a distraction for my boyfriend too, he had also told his sister. I felt so small, how was it that he was so brave and secure to be able to tell his family? Yet I couldn't even get the courage to tell my own mum?!

The day finally came. My boyfriend and his mum came to pick me up from school- I felt nervous, it was all coming up too soon. We checked in to the hospital and it was all about waiting. I got called in almost straight away to take a dose of painkillers and then sent back, then called for twice more to take more drugs. My boyfriend was confused as to why I was running around the waiting room. I can't even imagine what it must of been like for him. Just simply the boredom of all that waiting and waiting.

I went to talk to several different people, a nurse, a doctor and an anethiest. I had a scan, where I saw the baby for the first time. They're not meant to show you, but I caught a glimpse by accident. I was ten weeks pregnant, by this time the baby is the size of an avacado. After this I was sent to get undressed and put all my belongings in a locker. I was then given four tablets to "soften the cervix" which sounded and felt disgusting. I was uncomfortable and faint from all the drugs. I was terrified. I tried to throw up in the toilet but nothing would come out as I hadn't eaten anything before because of the anasthetic. I couldnt stay steady so, I was taken- by wheelchair- to a bed to lie down for an hour or so. This was slightly humiliating… I waited in the bed for what felt like a bloody week. The cramps kicked in after about 20minutes.

I don't know if I was being dramatic…probably, but I have never been in such uncomfortable pain in my life. It was sharp and then achey then a sharp twisting pain again, I was in agony. I tried to ask the nurse if I could see my boyfriend, I thought a familiar face would help pull me together, but it was a girls only ward. I just wanted the pain to stop. I lost track of time, but the nurses wheeled my bed in really quickly to the surgery room. Suddenly I had about six nurses and doctors surrounding me, I was so confused. They were tapping at my hand for a vein. I remember a small scratch in both hands... Obviously with my luck they ended up messing up the needles. I started to feel a cold uncomfortable liquid running through my hand, I started panicking asking the nurse why I wasn't asleep. She just laughed and said "see you in a little while".

The next thing I remember is being rolled through the doors back to my area. I was groggy and for some reason freezing. They wrapped me up and gave me toast and tea. I saw another girl who had just been through the same procedure and it all felt so surreal. All I can remember vividly is that overly buttered toast and the warming tea that got my blood heated again. By the time I came around fully, all I wanted to do was get dressed and see my boyfriend. It was crazy, I felt no pain, nothing. There was light bleeding, but no pain or aches. When they finally discharged me I was just eager to get to my boyfriend, have fresh air and go to bed.

I don't know if it was happiness from being with boyfriend or because of relief? I wasn't expecting to feel any emotion. I tried so hard this whole time not to get too emtionally attatched- but thats practically impossible. Relief was the feeling for the moment though. It was a relaxing evening and painless night, everything felt back to normal. Apart from the guilt. I felt so guilty that I had recovered so quickly. It felt like I had committed some sort of crime, i'd killed a life and I was perfectly fine. I'd lied to my parents and gotten away with it. Everything was normal but felt so so wrong inside.

However reality caught up with me when I got home. Being alone with no one knowing my situation felt extremely strange. I got back to my mum questioning me about revision and exam timetables, it was too weird. I felt so guilty and drained emotionally. I also had the weirdest feeling of "emptiness", I don't know if thats a common thing? But my body felt so empty. I felt so alone without this thing growing inside of me. The emptiness went away eventually, but I can't explain the exact feeling. I know it sounds completely weird, but I think I missed having this thing inside of me. This small creation kept me whole and without it, I didnt feel as purposeful anymore.

Recovery was quick. Normal routine returned and exams started. I have mixed feelings. I don't think I was ready to have this baby, so I think that I made the right choice in the long term. Obviously I do regret having to have the abortion in the first place, but who wouldn't regret that? My boyfriend and I are still together, the tension wore off as soon as the abortion was over; we're both still very young and it's alot to take on and deal with emotionally. I still get those 'what if' sentiments. It's normal to be curious about the 'what if' future, so i'm not worried about that. I still haven't told anyone, I feel like it would be dragging up the past now. Everyone who knew was supportive and understanding of the decision and it really helped. I try not to overthink it too much, then I really would be upset. But thinking about the future and what I want to do made me realise that I wouldn't have had the time to have a child too. I do want a child or children one day, just not now. I know it's probably stupid, but i'm now excited to become someones mother some day." —Charlotte

#youngperson #confusion #bestdecision

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