Zoe

Share your story

I had an abortion. It was a stressful time, I am glad it is all behind me. My friends were very supportive. I am left angry with society that forces women to feel shame, pain, and guilt, forces them into secrecy. How dare they torture women in such a way.

2014 United Kingdom

I wish there were a few more positive emotions to choose from. I feel mostly that I was forced to feel a certain way by internalised abortion stigma, an this leaves me so angry. After a little time I am was able to rid myself completely of all the negative, self blame feelings. I am now very open about my abortion, in that I would not lie about it or hide it were it to arise in a conversation in some way. Of course, sometimes, even with some friends, there is fear on how they will react, and annoyance that maybe, probably, internally they do judge you a little.

It was quick. I had to go to the hospital to get the pill that induces menstruation. I had to be there until the foetus came out and the nurse checked it. I understand that it is to make sure everything went well, but I was a horrible experience to go to the hospital and stay there in the cold room, bleeding incredibly, and then get home again weakened. I want abortion pills to be legally available for use at home. Give women some credit!

I just could not.

Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?

It is only legal in my country until the 12th week, which I think is too short. The stigma is so strong that it forced me into secrecy, and only now that I am a little older (I was 20 at the time) I have absolutely no weird thoughts and am completely at peace with my experience. Well, not at peace, because I am left with this anger I described before. Stigmatisation is on the rise again, where right wing extremist control most media and propagate a message that equals abortion with murder, genocide and presents women as unreflected, one dimensional infants, mentally too limited to think about their actions. How dare they.

How did other people react to your abortion?

I only told one friend and my partner at the time, I was too ashamed to tell my family or close friends. This need to lie and isolation, disgusts me, why does it have to be this way? I only told most of them, my sister, and all close friends and new partner about it a year later. I was met with so much love and admiration for my strenght. I wish I had told them as soon as I knew I was pregnant, it would have helped me. But the fear to be judged was too deeply hammered into me.

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