"There is still some secret shame that lingers inside, coming from a religious home, coming from a Bangladeshi home. I'm 23 now. I had grown up thinking being a mother was all that a woman could be. That motherhood was the ultimate end goal. I didn't mind that dream. It felt secure, warm and comforting, to create and live in a loving household, without physical or verbal abuse. I had a different childhood growing up, and the male figures in my life were not supportive. I still did what I wanted to do though.
I was, and I guess still am, a rebellious child to my mother and her dreams for me. My mum would often say, when I asked to go out late, or go somewhere that required me to stay over, "you can do whatever you want when you're married!" It angered me. I am still angry that I don’t have the same rights as my brothers. Regardless of all this information in hindsight, from 16+ I used this tension, this angst, to search for a stable relationship in male partners. The are people I have given my consent to, and some who took it. I don't fault my mum on the way she raised me, she is loving and kind in her own traditional back dated ways. But she strives to understand me. In that aspect, I guess I'm pretty lucky.
Up until 20, I thought I could never do "something like this," and that Allah (God) would punish me. If I am really a part of this one true religion, then I'll be damned to Hell if I ever terminate this pregnancy. I'll always keep my child if I am pregnant, because I wanna go to Heaven. In class debates, I was pro-life, but I didn't understand why pro-life couldn't encompass terminations. It should be pro-excellentstandardof-life.
Halfway through my 20th year alive, close to my 21st, I noticed I was constantly feeling nauseous. I didn't feel like eating - which is weird, because I secretly have a vacuum for a stomach. I was always craving chili sauce and chips and was super lewd. I sat on my partners couch, and remember sitting upright sharp, nursing my belly with my right hand and declaring that I had eaten nothing but chili sauce drenched chips for the past week. He joked around saying I might be pregnant. He forgot the joke, but it stayed on my mind. I took a test, positive. I thought the test could be wrong. I took another, positive. I took another test. I had spent around £40 on tests that just came back positive.
My heart sank. I thought I would be happy, and that this was what I wanted. But I couldn't take care of a child... I'm not ready? Was this the devil whispering in my ear telling me to commit a sin, by returning this almost person back to God? I'm not incredibly poor, but I'm still young and financially unable to provide the space and mental comfort a child needs. I told my partner straight away, by sending him an image of the test. He thought it was a meme lol. He expressed he did not want a child right now as he couldn't support it. He's not ready. I thought, when is anyone ever ready? Sometimes, you have to take the plunge, no? My brother had an unplanned pregnancy, and he was able to stay with the mother and support the kid. If he can do it, I can do it too.
However, his decision to stay with the mother caused a lot of familial conflict. My brother's wife is of another race and religion. In a Bangladeshi household, that's a big no no. The backlash of my brother's decision rested on my thoughts. My mum's heart would break if "people" a.k.a "useless people in the bengali community that just like to gossip and spread sh*t" found out. She cared about their opinions. Her perfect family image would shatter, and who really wants to hurt their parents feelings?
Made an appointment over the phone, and it was good. The receptionist was polite and that was all I needed. A hint of warmth. My partner came with me to the check up. I saw a scan of my unborn child. Black and white. A little black dot, with a white ring around it. It looked fuzzy. I took a picture while the Dr was out of the room. I still have it. Sometimes I think I should delete it, but why should it hurt to remember? Is abortion that meaningless, that it's the same as throwing away a receipt? The doctor told me women don't suffer from any side effects. That it's all okay and normal. The side effects are more a result of other people making me feel bad about the decision. She didn't tell me my nipples would leak after the procedure. I bled a lot, for 6 weeks. I felt betrayed because my body was suffering so much. It was painful.
I often think about what my child would have been like, a boy, a girl, maybe even no gender. I went through a stage of blaming my partner. He wouldn't wear a condom and so I was on the pill. I blamed him for not taking responsibility for himself. It caused us to struggle. I internalized guilt for a long time and reading abortion stories triggered me into a snot-nosed, tear filled, crying session. So many women out there do not have support from family or friends. I chose to do my surgery alone. I chose to keep it a secret and that is where, in a wild way, I drew my strength. Where do these women get their support? I sometimes worry about God, and about my next child, should I have one. I cry at night wishing I kept it. I cry at night feeling guilty for wanting to get rid of it. I cry at night because I call it, it. It's okay though. It's done now. The decision you made, for yourself, is a good one. Stay strong and love yourself for it." - F