The doctor’s appointment and scan revealed that I was about 20 weeks pregnant, but I didn’t get to see my baby on the scan as mum felt this was for the best. I don’t know to this day whether it would have made a difference.
I had various visits to the doctors who all advised an abortion. It was decided and I was booked for a termination at 22 weeks.
I felt so very numb, so alone and lost in confusion. I didn’t know whether to fight for my baby or give up and appear compliant – I chose the latter. With only days to go, I’d lie there at night, just me and my baby feeling the flutters and wriggles which I loved so much. It hurts to think how cowardly I was. I had so much fight I know I could have used, and I don’t understand why I didn’t.
The day arrived, and mum and I travelled to Brighton with no idea what to expect. We arrived and met others who were also having late terminations. I was the youngest. I couldn’t understand why they all seemed to look relieved. We were all going to be induced the following morning, and I lay there that night hoping that mum would change her mind, I was so scared of the procedure the next day.
I was woken early and taken to a small room, away from the other ladies and from my mum. They hooked me up to a monitor that traced the baby’s heartbeat. A doctor came in and explained the procedure, but it went in one ear and out the other – it was all so medical and far removed from the reality of the situation. I was given some sedative to calm me and make me sleepy.
I hated every minute and prayed it would all stop. It wasn’t long before the doctor returned to remove the fluids from around my baby, which was painless but agony at the same time. They removed the baby’s heart monitor, covered me up, and told me to rest.
Alone in the room, I felt so empty, so utterly forsaken. Once again I prayed so hard that it hadn’t worked and that I’d feel the flutters and wriggles, but they were never to come. It’s impossible for me to find a word to describe the despair I felt at that moment, it was so physical and so deep. I wanted to hurt, I wanted to literally pull at my flesh – this feeling was to follow me for years to come.
I lay there and watched the other women in turn going for their D&Cs. For them it was all over. I went to sleep exhausted and feeling high on drugs.
I awoke in established labour. Two nurses came to be with me. I felt like I needed the toilet, so they carried me to the bathroom; it was there that I gave birth to my son, my still little boy, who was quickly wrapped and taken away. I never saw him, the nurses held my head up at all times and covered me with towels. Before I knew it I was being knocked out for the D&C.
I woke up in a ward full of people, and the nurses with smiling faces saying, ‘It’s all over now.’ For me, it had just begun.
Life at home became worse. I felt no-one understood me, that they blamed me because I was foolish enough to get pregnant. I couldn’t share my hurt, and it made me bitter and angry.
Life for everyone else seemed to move onward and upward. I honestly felt hatred towards my mum, I wanted her to hurt. Any time I expressed it, I felt my step-father mock me, and I heard him once. This was another bitter pill I had to learn to deal with. Needless to say, I didn’t make life at home easy for them either. I didn’t want to. I lay at night cradling old dolls, lying there so full of guilt and hurt. I wanted my baby back, I wanted to tell him how sorry I was and how much I loved him.
I moved out when I was sixteen; I needed to. Shortly after I turned seventeen I found a bed-sit, which brought me a sense of ease. I felt relaxed, I had no obvious triggers of hurt to face each day like I had at home. It also gave me a new social life and with that came drugs.
I felt strong again. I felt in control. I felt I could control those who had hurt me. I thought I could close the chapter on my loss. I was so very wrong. Even with my all my friends I would slip into pits of despair, wanting to rip my pain out and put it into someone else, just so they could feel the same way. This carried on for another eighteen months.
Having some friends in Coventry, I decided to leave my hometown in the hopes that a change of scene would help me. I thought I was better off without the drugs because of the place they had taken me mentally, but being lucid brought back the reality of pain and loss. I went very low and even put myself in danger hoping someone would hurt me, just so I could feel something other than what I was already feeling. I became desperate.
Then I met someone who showed me so much care, he was so different to my usual crowd. He also wanted my babies. I was thrilled. I thought this was amazing, I wanted a baby so much, I was sure that this would fill the gap. The baby would heal all my hurts, and no-one was going to take it away.
I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I had my baby at last and I thought this was it. I felt so much love and even started a healing process emotionally towards my mum. I wanted her to be a granny, the best granny ever, the granny I knew she already was. I felt so high and elated.
But within four months of having my daughter, I crumbled. I looked at her and saw how perfect she was and felt the loss of my son intensify. Now I had a visual reminder of my loss, I realised what I could have had. I would hold her tiny hands in mine and hold her close and feel so gravely guilty. I felt my son would be looking down at me thinking, ‘Why didn’t you love me mummy?’ I ached for God to take me to him so that I could hold his little hands in mine, hold him close and tell him how much I did and still do very much love him, and always will, and to tell him I’m so sorry that I didn’t fight for him.
A couple of years passed and I would have stronger days than others. My relationship failed and I moved back to Somerset with my daughter. I had a new purpose in life, from God.
In all my years of pain and all the years of my life I have always prayed, I can never remember a time when I didn’t. However, I needed Him now, every waking moment I wanted to know Him more. I wanted to be with Him always. I gave my life to God when I was twenty-one and I was baptised soon after. So many changes were happening in me, much from my own efforts, but God was making me stronger.
I began to feel that I could talk about my son, and also the feelings towards my mum; I was ashamed of the way I felt and needed to know how to stop. God showed me His grace and promised me that I would ‘get back the years the locusts had taken’. I knew from then on that I could begin to fight for the son I lost, by helping others and forgiving my mum, and understanding the reasons why. This began to work.
I married and went on to have three more little boys and felt on top of my low times. However, when I dipped it would last for weeks and again I would return to guilt, shame, bitterness and anger. The same feelings of wanting to tear off my flesh would rage through me as I knew I would never get my little boy back. I couldn’t take it anymore.