Abortion: A choice that changed my life forever

I wasn’t ready to be a mum at 16 (Picture: Emily-Jane Clark)

‘I can’t be pregnant,’ I said to the doctor who had just examined me.

‘But you are sexually active,’ he pointed out.

‘I wouldn’t say “active”.’ I explained. ‘I’m not sexing around all the time. Just, you know, when my parents are out or…what I mean is, I have a serious boyfriend and we only have sex sometimes. Well, actually it is more like making love.’

‘Yes… But you’re still pregnant.’

I met my boyfriend when I was 14 and we fell in love quickly and greedily with the fearless abandon reserved only for the young.

We’d listen to love songs like they were written just for us and kiss until our lips were sore. We believed that nothing bad could happen as long as we were together.

But at 16, pregnant was about as bad as it got.

We left the doctor’s surgery that day in shock. Neither of us knew what to say so we didn’t speak. We just sat on a bench smoking cigarettes in the rain, our young minds desperately trying to process the news.

I couldn’t understand how it could have happened. Girls like me didn’t get pregnant. I had only ever slept with one boy. I wasn’t stupid. I knew about contraception and I thought I’d been careful.

I had plans – I was going to finish college, move to London and be an actor. Having a baby was not part of my plan.

‘Well, I’m not having a baby,’ I finally said feigning nonchalance and bravado. ‘I can’t keep it. We can’t.’

‘Are you sure?’ he asked weakly, struggling to work out how he was supposed to react.

‘I think so,’ I replied and we did the ultimate walk of shame home to tell my parents the big news.

I spent the next few weeks leading up to the operation in denial about the fetus growing inside my body.

I told no one about the pregnancy. Only my parents knew but I didn’t talk to them about it. I didn’t talk to anyone. The less I talked about it, the less real it felt.

(Picture: Irene Palacio…

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