Screen Print on Polythene
200 x 56cm
“There is nothing to show for what I have been through.”
With no memorial stone or plaque of commemoration, these stories remain with their authors as unacknowledged experiences.
The polythene was chosen for its qualities of lightness, both in weight and translucency, and the way it reacts to the slightest movement of wind. I wanted these stories to float in the air. Their words are printed as though reported in a newspaper. A few selected words are reversed.
These are the stories I printed. The words in bold can be read from one side, and are printed in black, whilst the reason for these words are printed in white and can be read from the other side.
There was a time
There was a time when I would, perhaps coldly, suggested it to someone seeking my advice concerning an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy… But I am different now.
I became pregnant unexpectedly 2 years ago and chose to abort. I decided I wanted no anesthesia or sedation because I needed to really understand what I was doing. I do not worship any gods. I have no religion. But this…
For the first time in my life and many times over, the sensation, remembering what it felt like for the life to turn off inside of me… It brings me to my knees. To this day. The pain never decreases. And on my knees it’s as if my heart, my soul, every bit of my being is begging for forgiveness From myself, from life, the cosmos, I do not know. And I do not know if that forgiveness will ever come. But of course it passes.
Time is linear and we live on the now. And my ‘now’ is actually great But it all remains etched, waiting to be relived in a fitting room, at breakfast, or at night, when I am haunted by the dreams my heart creates from all the feelings that could have been. And I am whole again, my soul uncrushed Until I wake, back to a life that I love and should be totally happy in. And oftentimes I am. But then there is always that jolt of darkness, those feelings, the memory, reality, regret, lurking just underneath the surface. My soul has been altered. I feel maimed in my capacity for joy And I wonder if I will ever truly recover
I am 39 and pregnant.
I am 39 and pregnant. When I was 18 and with my first boyfriend, I got pregnant. I had gone to the doctors but felt too shy to ask for contraception, how mad is that?? I knew I was pregnant before I had even missed a period. I just felt different in myself, my breasts were painful and I was constantly being sick. My skin erupted into large red boils and my hair was lank and greasy. Even the smell of my boyfriend’s skin made me physically sick so spending time with him was a no no.
I confided in my parent, my mum was so lovely telling me that if I wanted to have the baby, they would be there for me, but I had already made up my mind. I didn’t want it, I didn’t want to be a mum, didn’t want to have a baby, didn’t want to feel the way I was feeling anymore. I wouldn’t talk to anyone about it..I shut it out. The night before I had the termination I remember just lying in my bed sobbing my heart out wanting my mum to come into me. Am not sure why now. Maybe comfort? Maybe to stop me from going through with it?
I am crying as I write this. I can’t believe that I did this to my own baby .. a tiny thing that was growing inside me..that needed me and I destroyed it. I feel bad that I never discussed anything with my boyfriend. I don’t even know what he wanted, it was all about me. I am pregnant now and don’t feel like I deserve to have a child.
I almost feel like terminating this baby as what sort of mother would I make?? I should have a 23 year old now and I took that life away before it even began. I have an appointment with a counsellor this Monday as I don’t feel like I will ever get over this.
This is the first time
This is the first time I’m going to try and put my feelings and emotions towards my abortion in words and it’s scary! It was 2014 I had only just recently turned 14 three months ago when I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. At the time, I was in year 9 and the baby’s father had just moved away to other side of Australia and we were no longer together. I was so shocked! But excited! I don’t know, I liked the idea of becoming a mum and having something stable in my life. I kept it to myself for a few days before I told my closest friends.
When I eventually told them, they were all thrilled! To be honest, I think the only reason why they were happy was so they could have a friend who had a child. Anyway in my head I decided to keep the baby, even through I hadn’t told my ex or my parents. I knew as soon as I told them that’s when things were going to get tough, so I just enjoyed being pregnant. I made up every excuse in the book to hold off from telling my ex, I should have just been honest with myself and admitted I was scared. Well my ex flew back down to Perth to visit friends and family, so when he came I told him about the baby.
At this stage I was 12 weeks along. I don’t know why I was so scared because he was so supportive! He even talked about us possibly getting back together! Now that I had told him, I now had to tell my parents. My parents are extremely strict on this type of stuff, to them a pregnancy not under marriage is disgusting and brings so much shame to the family. Well somehow one day I got the balls to go tell them. I told mum only first, she freaked out and told me that my dad was not to find out and that I was to have an abortion. This broke my heart. I told my mum no, and for that she kicked me out for 2 weeks. Within the two weeks that I was kicked out for I was going to regular doctor’s appointments.
I’ll never forget it, one day when I went to the appointments doctor said that there were some complications. Till this day I still don’t understand what was actually wrong. But she said it was due to smoking and drinking. Before I found out I was pregnant I was living an unhealthy lifestyle, but as soon as I found out I was to have a baby it all stopped! Over the next few appointments my doctor informed my that many issues could occur throughout my pregnancy, mostly to do with the development of the baby. She said that I was even at risk of a still birth!
She advised me of what I could do if I chose to go through with the pregnancy or if I didn’t. In my head I knew that I couldn’t afford a child, I didn’t really have anything to offer a child. But in my heart I really wanted a baby, I knew that I could offer my baby (was a boy) my unconditional love. I was now 14 weeks pregnant and I had to make a decision I knew that I couldn’t afford or child or give my baby the best chance at life, and I’d be pleasing my parents if I had an abortion.
But I just couldn’t stand the thought of taking the life away from my precious boy. It took me 2 more weeks to come to my decision. I chose to abort. I had so much pressure coming from my mum and friends who were concerned about me, that at the time it honestly was the easy way out. I booked a consultation with a termination clinic and before I knew it I was scheduled to have my abortion the next week!
Just thinking about how I was feeling when I walked into the room where the procedure was to be done it’s extremely hard so I’m just doing to miss that section. It was quite a late abortion and I know some people think it’s totally disgusting and unethical just having an abortion let alone a late one, but it was what seemed like the only option. My mum was happy that I went through with the abortion, but our relationship just hasn’t been the same since.
My friends were extremely supportive and so was my ex. The days after the abortion were the worst. I didn’t speak to anyone. But I had to go to school and face reality. So I suppressed all my emotions. That was the worst thing I could possibly do. I started doing drugs, drinking, smoking, partying and having a lot of sex. I was a mess. My friends watched me fall into this dark place helplessly. They couldn’t do anything. Now that I think about it, it was depression, I denied it 100% until now. I wanted to be strong and didn’t want to accept that I was depressed Thy abortion was the biggest mistake of my life. I let other people pressure me into something that I convinced myself I believed in something which I didn’t.
It’s now been almost a year past the abortion and it still stays with me. I sometimes find myself holding my stomach like a pregnant women would do as if my boy was still there. To my precious little boy Kaiden, mummy loves you and is forever sorry. May somehow you can forgive me because mummy truly misses you and loves you as wishes you were here
Thirty years ago
Thirty years ago I reluctantly had a termination. The father told me that “he could not help me” and I felt too frightened to tell my parents and try and cope with a baby on my own. Afterwards, I tried to comfort myself with the thought that I had made a mistake but I would go on to have children later on. I also threw myself into my career as a way of feeling in control and pushing down my despair. I felt I was a “bad person” and this led to poor relationships, low self-esteem and binge drinking. Sadly life did not go to plan and I did not go on to have a family. In my forties I had a major depression and suffered chronic migraines. I felt a failure and very much alone. Despite having counselling I could not work out what was troubling me so much.
By chance I found out about Lifeline. Rightly named as it is a total lifeline! After just one session I could see that all of my problems were rooted in the fact that I had never really accepted the choice I made 30 years ago. The process we went through called **”The Journey”** was unique as it helped me understand the choice I made as a young girl. Through the 10 sessions I came to forgive myself and let go of all the shame and guilt that had been burdening my life. The counsellor was fantastic and I would urge anyone suffering in silence as I did to take the free help that Lifeline offer. Even just three months after finishing the course I have more energy, suffer far fewer migraines and I feel happy and optimistic! I finally have stopped dragging the past into my future. I can’t thank Lifeline enough and I am happy to share with others and help them let go of the hidden anguish having a termination can cause.
In a week’s time
In a week’s time, it will be four years since I had an abortion at seven weeks and four days of pregnancy. My story is on here already but I want to share my feelings four years on. Life has changed in many ways, but it always comes back to that day four years ago. Whenever I’m sad or feeling lonely, I remember that day. I remember every single tiny detail, I remember every sound, every smell, every face. I wonder what life would be like if I’d said no or just not gone through it? I wonder if my boyfriend would’ve stayed with me rather than our perfect relationship being blown apart. He’s married now, I saw on Facebook through mutual friends. He’s happy. I wonder if he still wonders like I do. If he still thinks about me, about our baby, about what our life would’ve been like. I wonder if he knows that I’ve had the inability to be at peace since that day four years ago, that my relationships since him have failed and that it all comes back to him. I wonder if he still cares? I’m sure he doesn’t now he has his wife. We both had two children already, I’ve had a child since but I was unable to bond with him and gave him up for adoption. I wonder if he will ever have another child. I can’t now as after the birth of my last child, I begged for sterilisation. I regret it now, that was two years ago. I’ve never been the same and I can’t believe it’s four years since my happiness was so brutally taken from me and yet with my consent. I miss my boyfriend, I miss my baby, I miss my perfect life. I find joy in my two children, and know I’m blessed but still feel like I’m missing the pieces that I gave away four years ago. I learnt on The Journey Programme, three years ago, that you can’t change the past, you don’t know the future but you can change the way you think. The guilt isn’t there any more, but the pain has never gone away. And I don’t think it ever will.
My story starts
My story starts in January 2014 when my best friend had turned 18 and we were going clubbing to celebrate. I didn’t want to be coming home loud and drunk so he said that people could stay at his house, so that was the plan. He had been my best friend for 8 years so why wouldn’t I be able to trust him to look after me and make sure we all got back safe? Me, him, another girl and one of his friends had pre-drinks at his and then we left, walking to town. Being at sixth form I never really went out or got drunk a lot, this was actually my first time since I had turned 18. I’m usually the one that looks after other people when they get plastered but this night it appeared that he was looking after me.
Even though I hadn’t had much to drink, I started feeling really strange so I went to the bathroom, entered a cubical and I remember the walls closing in on me and then expanding. After some water I felt a bit better so carried on as normal. He kept handing me drinks as the night went on and I kept dancing. I then went to sit down and after that it’s just black. I remember nothing from sitting down until waking up at his house with just him and one of his friends. I, however, was completely naked! All sorts of things went through my head – did I throw up on my dress so they took it off so I didn’t have to sleep in it? I thought of many things but with him being my best friend I never suspected the worst.
I left and we spoke as normal. It wasn’t until March 14th that I did a pregnancy test that came back as positive. I was incredibly shocked and confused as I got with my partner on February 13th and we had sex once so my first thought was that it was obviously his. I had my first scan and it was all going great until the nurse told me I was 3 almost 4 months pregnant. HOW!? I normally have regular periods so the doubt didn’t come from that.
The doubt came when I was getting messages asking me ‘is it true?’ I had no clue what they were talking about so I got them to explain. My supposed best friend told people at college that he had spiked my drink for a laugh and then we had sex. I was in pieces. I thought of many things that morning but not that. I was unconscious when he did what he did, how could he do that to me? He wasn’t even being safe when he did it! I just wanted it to be a nightmare and for me to wake up but I had to face reality so I phoned him and said we needed to speak face to face. Once we met I told him straight away and asked for an explanation. He laughed. He said that he hoped I was getting rid of it as he wasn’t ready for a child yet. I said well what were you doing having sex with me! He said it was good though, we were pretty drunk. I completely lost it. I was unconscious not drunk. He laughed again and it was all just a joke to him. I couldn’t handle being around him any more so we left it at that. How could I bring a baby into this world when it was conceived this way? I had no love for the father whatsoever. He was meant to be my best friend – someone I trusted for 8 years and was still meant to trust. I booked to have a surgical abortion and told the father. I cried every night up until the night of the abortion. I’ve always wanted a family of my own but I just couldn’t. My partner was my rock. Without him I really don’t think I would have been able to get through it. The day of the abortion I seemed fine to everyone. I just wanted to block all emotions out and for them to never return. My mum stayed with me through the surgery. She managed to keep my mind off everything and I was surprised I made it through the day without crying.
It’s now been almost a year and I am still paying for it. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t close my eyes and think about it. The sadness just takes over and I feel like crying for hours and hours. I’m now engaged to my partner that has been there through everything and we have set a date for our wedding!
So there is good in this horrible situation but I really don’t think this will ever leave me. I just need to know when it gets easier because at the moment – I still feel as sad, upset, angry and low as the night before the abortion. I know that many people are going to think that it was my stupid fault for going out drinking but I honestly thought I could trust him with my life. It has taught me not to be so trusting and to only have drinks that I have made.
I found out
I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of this year, I knew straight away I couldn’t keep it as I was 21, not financially secure at all, the father and I are both performers which would have meant giving up our entire career, I wasn’t in a stable relationship and it wouldn’t have been fair on the baby, father or myself. At first I didn’t tell the father. I felt like I knew I was pregnant after I skipped my first period but didn’t like to believe it so kept putting off getting a pregnancy test until 1 day I knew I would have to face the truth. I brought 2 pregnancy tests and they both came back positive. I called my friend not knowing what to do and she got me an appointment at the local doctors.
I went to my appointment and took another pregnancy test which obviously came back positive. My doctor explained all my options and also told me that there was support with whatever option I chose. I chose abortion and so she booked me in with the local clinic about 6 days later. When I left the doctors it hit me and I just stood outside and cried. When I went to the clinic I went for a scan which told me I was 8 weeks pregnant. I opted for the surgical abortion and was booked in for a few days later. I was also tested with a swab that I was able to do myself for chlamydia which was optional and a blood test. I got home that night and was still arguing with myself as to whether to tell the father. I don’t think anyone can say whether you should or shouldn’t as it completely depends on the circumstances and your views. He was about to leave on tour for 9 months and as I say we were just friends however seeing him that night I knew I had to. He was shocked but supportive and am so glad I told him. I don’t think I could have come out the other end and him be completely unaware, going along his every day life, but that is completely my personal view and was right for me and him at the time.
When I went in for the abortion I was given 2 tablets to start the process. I then had to sit and wait on a chair in a hospital gown with us all in separate cubicles. All the other women were fine, quite happy and comfortable. I on the other hand did have a reaction to the tablets meaning I had bad sickness, diarrhoea and cramps. Now I am told this is a very very rare reaction however it is in the side effects which I was told about before taking the tablets. I had to wait a while for the tablets to do their job and then I was taken into surgery. The doctors were lovely talking to me about everyday things. Next thing I know I am waking up in a bed. I just opened my eyes and started crying with relief. I suddenly felt like my life was back on track again. I was told to lie there until my blood pressure was back to normal and I wasn’t allowed to leave until I had been to the toilet. Once that was all sorted I was absolutely fine. I had read some stories of being in pain after but I literally didn’t feel anything I was completely fine. I was so relieved and happy I can’t explain.
11 months later I can honestly say I think about it at least once a day. Really, I have no regrets, I know 100% I was not ready to raise a child and know I couldn’t have done it, physically, emotionally, financially.. However not a day goes by where I don’t think “I would be having a baby now”, “I’d have a baby now”, “this would be my baby’s first Christmas”.. I really want to help as many people as I can who are going through this emotional roller coaster and I get everyone’s experience and circumstances are different but more people have been through this than you think and you are not the only 1. My love goes out to anyone who is going through this x
I was 22 years old
I was 22 years old when I had an abortion 10 months ago. I was in total shock when I found out I was pregnant. I had split up with the father just a couple of days before, he had 3 children already at the age of 30 and we split up after he showed his true colours. Although I was infatuated by him, he was an awful person. I told him a couple of days after finding out myself and he was really angry.
My only way of calming him down at the time was to tell him I wasn’t keeping it. *And once I said the words I couldn’t take them back.* The same thing happened with my parents. Everyone around me was telling me I had to get rid of it, now I hate that saying. I grew so attached to my baby more than I could have ever imagined. I used to stroke my stomach and say I love you. I had seen a scan and seen my baby’s heartbeat, and cherish that moment. The night before going into hospital I was totally numb and a zombie.
I almost changed my mind once there, made a phone call to my ex to try and tell him. He shouted at me so much screaming are you trying to tell me you don’t want to do it???? I was sobbing, and eventually put the phone down and walked like a zombie to go and do it.** As soon as I woke up I screamed, crying in uncontrollably that I wanted my baby back.** I have since dreamt a lot that I said to the doctor as he was putting me to sleep ‘please don’t do this’ and wonder if I really did say it. I hated everyone I came into contact with since then.
But then put on a brave face and only cried when on my own. **I have never regreted something more in my whole life.** I have cried so much I’ve been sick, been so angry I’ve scratched myself and bled without realising it, sat on my window sill and wanted to just let myself fall out. I wanted to go and get pregnant again on the weeks after it, the thought definitely came to my mind, but I knew it wouldn’t be the baby I no longer had and thankfully saw sense.
I was so alone afterwards.
Didn’t have my family there for me at all, no man to hold me and be there. The crying, nightmares have got slightly better, but the hurt and regret never has. *I would give anything to have my baby back and worry every day that I won’t ever get pregnant again.* I can’t talk to friends or anyone about it because I’m rubbish at it unless I’m writing it down..hence this. I loved my baby more than anything I have ever loved. I even torture myself by looking at 8 week old foetuses online to see how developed it was…that is not normal and it makes me feel sick but I still do it. I hope, one day I will be able to get over it and move on. I feel like I have ruined my life. Because I don’t talk about it enough freely I now can’t stop and could go on forever but I know I can’t!! I can’t change a thing now and I know that, but I cannot stop wishing I could. I feel jealousy of every pregnant woman I see, I get a sick feeling at every advert, poster, baby in the street. Listen to Ed Sheeran, Small Bump repeat. I can’t see myself ever getting past that. To the outside world people would think there was nothing wrong!! It’s exhausting being this angry and regretful, coupled with not being able to sleep. I just hope that one day it all goes away and I get being me back again.
I had an abortion
I had an abortion 3 years back and I still hate myself for it today.I was 17 years old and when my mother found out she immediately forced to have one. Part of me is angry at her for forcing me when she had her 1st child at 17 but she’s my mother and I understand that she thought it was best. I had a medical abortion. My boyfriend still wants a baby and so do I but its like it can’t happen.
So now not only am I cheating on him but I also have unprotected sex with those guys in the hope that I might fall pregnant. To date I’ve had sex with almost 8 different guys and had a pregnancy scare with all of them. This is stupid and I’m stopping it but after losing a baby you can get really desperate!
I find it hard to write the words
I find it hard to write the words – I am now 44 and have a 21 year old son. I got married at 19 and had my son at 23. I was so happy and in love. My world fell apart when my son was 7 months old – I was 12 weeks pregnant second time around although not planned I thought everything was ok- I went for my scan – but my husband didn’t come with me which was odd. It was Xmas eve when he told me he didn’t know how he felt about me anymore. I was devastated I was a new mum with my baby and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was very stressed and agreed to have a termination a few days later. I can recall my mum ringing my husband saying it was emotional blackmail and at the clinic I felt in a panic but too scared to say anything. Within a few weeks of the termination my husband told me he was seeing someone else and had been even when I was pregnant with my son. He said he didn’t tell me the truth before the termination as he knew it would affect my decision. He then left me and my son anyway. I coped with the situation and focused on my son. However my mum died last year and somehow this has triggered me to feel regret and guilt to the point that I can’t breath. I am constantly upset and cannot stop longing for my child. I am so depressed it scares me. I have also been trying to conceive again and am considering IVF with an egg donor – can somebody please help me .. I feel totally responsible for allowing my husband to manipulate me and why wasn’t I strong enough to say no.