I found out I was pregnant a few hours after the father broke up with me and my mental health and self esteem spiralled. During the days I tried to function normally and conceal the morning sickness so no one would find out. At work I would forget simple words because of the anxiety fog.

I spent weeks at a time drunk to numb the anxiety/guilt/shame/sadness/fear. I continued to work and drive despite being drunk and I have no idea how I didn’t raise any suspicions. I am usually strongly against drink driving and rarely drink but I could not handle reality.

I stopped seeing friends, and stopped all of my hobbies due to shame and stigma.

I became acutely paranoid and jumpy. At night I couldn’t sleep without pills. I didn’t allow myself to sleep on the bed or use blankets because I believed I was a terrible person. Every tiny sound convinced me someone was trying to break into my house after finding out that I was having an abortion.

I barely ate a thing Because I thought that if I didn’t support my body it wouldn’t support another life and I could get out of the problem without anyone else knowing.

My shame delayed me seeking help and so I had to have a more complex procedure.

I was in this state because of the stigma against abortion. As you can see I was in no fit state to become a mother. And yet societal opinions meant I was afraid to ask for help. And this stigma was not in my head. I lost a friend of 16 years due to my decision and was told by a smirking GP that he “didn’t know how you would get a treatment like that”. I needed help not judgement. I needed support not isolation. Abortion Stigma steals women’s voices when we need them the most.

Thankfully I was able to have the termination and while I sometimes wonder, I never regret. I am certain that if I had not had this abortion my mental health would have declined further. While the emotional recovery has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I’ve now reached a level of self awareness, compassion, and acceptance that I otherwise couldn’t even have dreamed.

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