This is a collection of stories, written by some incredibly strong and powerful women, showcasing why choice over our bodies is important. Termination is discussed very little in our society, yet it is something that becomes part of so many women’s lives. Women need support in their choices, to be given confidence that their choice is the RIGHT choice for them. So this is us, taking back our keys over our bodies and showing the world why we need to not only be given choices, but be supported in them. Share yourself holding you key on your social media with the hashtag #takingbackourkeys
I’m unfortunately a carrier of a rare genetic abnormality which causes severe disabilities and a very short life. There is a 1 in 10 chance with any of my pregnancies that the baby could be affected by this and unfortunately my baby was severely poorly and I had to make the tough decision to abort the pregnancy. I then fell pregnant again and lost my daughter early on due to the condition.. I didn’t choose to abort and I gave her the chance but she was just to poorly.
Our choice matters because without that choice I would of been through heart ache more than anyone could imagine. Our choice matters because it’s OUR pregnancies and our way of life
My best friend and I fell pregnant at the same time; mine planned, hers accidental. I found out when I was 2 weeks gone, she did not find out until she was 13 weeks. In those 13 weeks, she had been heavily drinking, smoking, doing all kinds of strenuous activities that non-pregnant people do. When she found out, she was told it likely wouldn’t be a viable pregnancy, and if she did happen to carry to term, there may be further issues. Her partner also told her that it was him or the baby. She felt as though the decision had ultimately been taken out of her hands, with both medicine and her partner against her. She made the decision to have a termination, which at this stage had to be surgical. She had her termination at 15 weeks and a few days. It nearly broke her. Her sister also happened to be pregnant, she was two months ahead of the two of us. Throughout her pregnancy, she was messaging my best friend, her sister, photos of her bump captioned “this could have been you.” She had very little support. Despite this, she was there throughout my pregnancy, she has been there for the first months of my sons life, and she loves him with every piece of her heart. She is amazing. This experience ultimately didn’t break her, but it so easily could have, given the lack of support along with the stigma of termination. It is not always a choice, but taking away that choice is just barbaric. She wanted her baby, but having the choice to do what was best for her at the time, is a right that all women should have.
I think choice matters because even though I haven’t had to make that choice yet in my life, if I should have to I should have the freedom too. It shouldn’t matter the circumstances that a woman should fall pregnant it should be her choice (and her partner if they have an appropriate relationship). It should be a decision they should freely make. In my personal opinion I would rather a pregnancy was terminated then a pregnancy go to term unwanted and another child end up in the foster system. Or another woman be forced to illegal and unsafe practises of abortion leading to deaths and unnecessary illness just because safe practise was not available.
ovh_x (Instagram name)
Pregnancy and the gift of giving life is an amazing thing however it isn’t for everyone. Every life matters. Every choice matters and every woman matters. Pregnancy in itself can entail several physical, mental and emotional difficulties. As a mother myself I can vouch for this. I made the choice to have my son however I’m not afraid to say I struggled and to this day I am still struggling. I am now almost a year postpartum and can confidently say I do not want another. This is my choice and my body. Life isn’t just about surviving it’s about living. Women being stripped of this choice can imply so many downfalls, whether this be physical, mental or emotional. Pregnancy and motherhood is life changing it isn’t just a temporary segment to ones life; its impacts are lifelong. The very point in this law being applied is relative to the fact that ‘every life matters’. Nevertheless, it is not just about life itself but also the quality of life. Whereby a woman is not in the correct physical, mental, emotional or financial state to carry a baby and become a mother she should have the right to a voice. Wherein a rape victim falls pregnant; she has a right to not carry her rapists baby, which can only add trauma to an already existing traumatic event. Where a woman has had a difficult and traumatic experience in pregnancy or relatively so, she has a right to choose whether or not she can put herself and her body through this again. Such laws don’t just impact women but also the very life that these laws have been put in place for. If a mother is not of great stability, that child may too struggle. Instability can be damaging to both children and adults. Every childhood is precious and so is every child thus every life big or small deserves the very best. The seed to stability in children stems from a stable mother and more importantly love and warmth. Women should not be imprisoned by their own bodies nor stripped of their rights. A child isn’t something to be taken lightly and nor are women. I believe it is crucial that the lives of women and children are not negatively impacted by such laws and policies. Happiness and stability are the key to success and health.
I had a termination at age 17 after finding out I was pregnant with my partner at the time. It wasn’t a healthy relationship and things turned ugly as he was physically and physiologically abusive. During in that time I felt pressured into having a termination by my partner, and although I was uncertain as to what I wanted – I knew the decision had been made for me.
The day of termination I was scared, the environment in which it took place was scary I was I sent into a room in a gown and got told to wait until I was called to be put under general anaesthetic (for the first time), where I’d go to sleep with a baby and wake up without. I was later sent home, with a leaflet of support but never called as I just didn’t know what to say, I was in shock and it wasn’t ever spoken of after that.
I suffered in silence for a long time after having the termination. I felt guilty that I had what I felt like ended a life when I felt I had so much love to give them. I felt shame that if anyone was to find out they’d judge me in a negative light. I felt sad, alone, scared, selfish, weak and angry.
But I know that it wouldn’t of been right for me to carry on with that pregnancy, in that relationship, at that stage of my life with a Saturday job, still at college and living at home in a abusive relationship. I wouldn’t of been able to give that baby what they deserved and for that I felt guilty and then I felt selfish because I felt that I should’ve been stronger and made the changes needed to be able to give them a great life. But I was a child and as time went on things did get easier, I was able to understand my emotions and that I was grieving the lost of someone I loved but never met.
However now 5 years later about to have a baby I’m happy in my life, in my relationship, in myself that I know I can give my baby the best start in life. I still feel a sense of guilt as to why this baby and not the one I terminated. And I still don’t have the answers which still affects me to this day. All know I won’t ever forget my angel baby.
Having that termination saved me as I dread to think what my life would’ve been like with an abusive partner so young. It’s ok to grieve over the loss of someone you love but never met, no one’s judging you. It’s ok to not be ok and when the time does come that you’re ready to create and nurture a life, you shouldn’t feel guilty because it’s your life too and you deserve to be happy.
When I was 19 I was pregnant with my 1st baby, I was anxious and nervous and really sick. But when it came to my 12 week scan I was told my baby had a condition called ancephaly. And was told that my baby was very poorly. And the reason I had been so poorly was because of an infection caused by baby because something else was happening too, it was pretty much all a blur. I wasn’t given any information on the condition I was just told that I should consider a termination. I went home and googled the condition (worst mistake ever) but basically it said that baby would not survive because the brain wasn’t growing. And along with the infection caused to me I was risking both our lives by continuing the pregnancy. There was nothing more that I wanted than to have this baby and hold her and love her. But the consultant basically just told me that couldn’t happen. I ended up making the choice to have a surgical termination and although it caused me massive heartbreak I think it was probably less heartbreak than if I had had the baby and met her just to lose her. If I had to go through that I’m not sure the rest of my life would have gone how it has. I now have 5 beautiful healthy babies and I am planning my wedding to my soul mate. If I wasn’t given that choice and was made to continue the pregnancy regardless I could have died, and if I hadn’t I would most probably have had to give birth to a stillborn baby and spent the 30 weeks knowing that would happen would have had severe effects on my mental health.
I’d had pregnancy scares before. Not because I’d been reckless or irresponsible … just sometimes I’d be a few days late and no matter how safe I’d been, I’d automatically think ‘the worst’ and begin panicking. Then eventually it would come and I’d breathe a sigh of relief and laugh at how silly I was, thinking I could possibly be pregnant! Only stupid girls manage to get pregnant ‘accidentally’.
But one day, my period didn’t come. And so I waited. Nothing. I took a test, just to rule it out, there was no way I could be pregnant for God’s sake!But there they were, the lines that I was really hoping weren’t going to appear were very clearly there. And in that moment I felt as though my life had ended completely…Because that’s what society leads us to believe. All girls that manage to get pregnant while they’re young are dumb, dirty or trying to play the system to get a council house. And I’m ashamed to say I thought the same.
So there I was faced with essentially two choices. Keep or abort. Life or death. I was very fortunate to have so much love and support from my mum, who promised me that she’d be behind me no matter what avenue I went down. Not all girls get that luxury. I tortured myself trying to decide what the f*** I was going to do. I honestly don’t think I slept at all those few weeks, how could I?! This little thing was growing inside me day by day all the while I was praying to wake up one day and for the whole nightmare to be over.
I went to my GP to try and get some advice? Therapy? Im not really sure what I was expecting to get out of it, I think I just wanted someone not emotionally involved to talk to. What I wasn’t expecting was for said GP to listen to everything I had to say, and just hand me the contact details of BPAS. So it seemed very clear to me what society was screaming at me to do.
Eventually I phoned BPAS, sobbed down the phone and booked the appointment. I went to the clinic for the pre-assessment where they talk you through the procedure, make sure you’re mentally stable with the situation and then scan you (with a very aggressive looking wand) and long story short I realised I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t for me. This baby wasn’t planned by my God was it wanted and so very loved.
But I’m not ashamed. And I’ll never be ashamed. I’m sure I’m not the only young mum who is constantly asked “was he planned” *insert eyeroll here* I’ve never quite understood why people are so desperate to know that, but I’m always pretty blunt and I’ll happily say I went down the route of abortion but realised it wasn’t for me. I can’t really explain what made me decide I wanted to keep him (possibly it was the scary wand being waved at me) but it was like a sudden light switch. Looking back, had I not been able to explore the route of termination with the love and support of my mum and my boyfriend, I truly believe I would have resented the whole pregnancy journey and worryingly even the baby. I hate feeling out of control and being able to speak to family and professionals about something as taboo as abortion whilst not feeling judged helped me feel in charge of my own body and my own life.
And now I am fiercely protective of women’s right to their Own. Damn. Bodies.It baffles me that we can be in 2019 and STILL be having this conversation. I PERSONALLY didn’t have an abortion, I made the CHOICE that was right for me, for my situation, for my mental health. How dare ANYONE try to take that away from a girl. The thought of being forced into a pregnancy I didn’t want makes me want to scream, and that’s why I’m screaming and yelling for all of my sisters who are.
Being pro choice doesn’t make you ‘anti-life’ It means you respect women enough to let them have control of their bodies and their lives.
Knowing what I know now, at 26 with 3 children, I know that I did the right thing when I was 15 and decided an abortion was something I needed to do. At 15 I got the shock of my life finding out I was pregnant, I got pregnant in my final month of school, and had only been with my then boyfriend 3 months, so I tried to deny it for as long as possible, if I didn’t think about it, then it wasn’t happening(or so I thought). At 15, I wasn’t mature enough to look after another human being, I was very selfish in my wants and needs, and I had no job, no money and stayed in a 2 bedroom flat with 5 people Fair enough I could of applied for my own flat, but I could barely look after myself, my mum still did everything for me, I would of had no clue on what I was doing so I would of needed her with me. That wouldn’t of been an option though, as my mum made it very clear how disappointed she was in me, and the fact that I would be doing this on my own. And well, my boyfriend at the time made that pretty clear that he didn’t want a baby. He was trying to get into university, he wasn’t trying to become a dad and raise a child. A d&c was my only option as I denied it for so long, and the procedure was fine, apart from me feeling incredibly upset before and after. I felt this choice was bullied upon me, and it wasn’t one that I fully made myself. I do regret it everyday, and funnily enough so does the guy I was with, I wish we spent more time going over it all, and truly talking about it instead of just no we can’t do it and that’s it. I know it was the right thing to do though – we had no money, both stayed with our parents, no job and had just left school. We had nothing, and I always knew I wanted to give my kids the best start in life and I just honestly don’t believe they would of got that with me at that time. I believe that abortion if not misused is fine. Nobody should feel judged for a choice they have made, because if they are anything like me I can guarantee they probably feel terrible about it every single day. You never know a persons situation, why should someone be forced into bringing a child into the world if they honestly know that it isn’t the right thing to do?
As I lay in the bath googling “termination” scrolling through the sterile environment of online information about how they will remove my baby from his home, my mind flashes to my 3 beautiful children all laid snug in their beds. Each child I carried and brought into this world, each child becoming my entire world the moment I knew about them. So why am I laid here reading through about termination? Life is chaotic. I have 3 children 5 and under, work full time living in a 3 bed home with a car that seats us all comfortably. My relationship is strained with the day to day stress of managing financially along with 3 young children who demand our attention. My youngest hadn’t turned one yet, she was still only 9 months old!
It’s Tuesday. I took the test this morning. I don’t know why, but there it was, “positive” staring right back at me. I took another and another. Now I’m laid in the bath. Pregnant. Fuck.
I’d always thought of myself as someone who would never even consider termination. The information online scared me. The questions and thoughts that bounced around my head completely contradicted each other. My body didn’t feel strong enough to deal with this even more so my mind couldn’t. I’d not been back at work long from my youngest child, we had only just got used to life with 3, to being outnumbered in our home, to the stress it brings not having enough pairs of hands to console everyone at the same time and now I was crying too.
I read through posts from women who were asking online communities their opinion, what they should do, asking the faceless strangers online for advice…
“should I terminate my 4th baby”
“Help! What shall I do? Pregnant with unexpected 4th child”
As I scrolled desperate for an answer myself I read though comments from women supporting women. Pro choice, everyone knows their own circumstances and what will be best for their family. Then, the comments started, hateful, nasty comments, “murder” “selfish” “not worthy” “undeserving”
Do these words really define me at this moment in my life? The hundreds of faceless people online telling women they will cope and they need to have the baby and manage. Will they manage though? Will they cope? Was I coping right now? Is coping a way of living?
I stared down at my stomach and cried, for what felt like forever.
Would bringing this baby into the world destroy my relationship?
Would having this baby ruin my career?
I don’t think I could spread myself any thinner!
We’d have to buy a new house, a new car.
I can’t deal with this, I’m tired and stressed and emotional.
What will my family think if I have another baby?
What will my family think if I have a termination?!
What will everyone think if I have a termination?
Will I cope with a termination, could I live with the guilt?
Termination. It’d be a secret. Something swept under the rug, never to be discussed. Silently eating away at me as I looked at my children, as I celebrated their birthdays. Always there.
I’ll remember forever the day I went to the “clinic”
British Pregnancy Advisory Clinic.
That’s what they call it these days. Also known as the door I struggled to walk through. I went alone. I needed to be alone. It took me 4 attempts to try and walk through the door. An inconspicuous door at the side of the main hospital. I sat outside across the road for half hour before my appointment. Looking around for people looking at me. They know why I’m here, I can see the look of disgust on their faces. As I finally walked inside it was quiet, very quiet, not the usual busy hospital corridors and wards.
This was a “first appointment” a smiley face approached me and offered me a cup of tea. “No thank you” I was sat in a waiting room plastered from wall to wall with different kinds of contraception available. Advice I feel was slightly inappropriate for a room where women go to discuss options on unplanned pregnancy. A sort of “this is what you should have done” being thrown in their faces. A man and woman sat opposite me, in complete silence. I could feel their presence, I could see the thoughts running through their head seeing me sat here alone. Maybe I shouldn’t have come alone. But I wanted to be alone.
I was taken and quizzed about my past pregnancies.
5 pregnancies. 3 children. 1 missed miscarriage. 1 molar pregnancy. This is my 6th pregnancy.
“How many weeks?”
Erm, I don’t know. I don’t have monthly periods.
“Do you want the baby?” I was asked, without her looking up from her papers. Fuck. I didn’t know the answer to this question. I paused in silence. Silently screaming inside my head. I burst into tears.
I was taken into the room with the scanning machine. No excitement. No smiling. No chatting. Silence. I laid on the bed as she scanned my stomach. She moved further up my stomach. 6 week foetuses don’t sit that high up. “All done” I sat up on the bed,
“Can you tell me how many weeks?”
“24. I have you at 24 weeks.”
The decision was taken from me because of how far along in the pregnancy I was. To be honest this worked best for me. Because I wasn’t dealing well with the torment in my mind of what to do. There was nobody to talk to, nobody who was giving me advice on my options, if i had options. When I look back and think about it I was scared of what people would think, with whatever I decided.
Having babies is an amazing privilege that I’ve been able to experience 4 times over, its talked about day in day out. The good, the bad and the ugly is healthily discussed with my friends and family. But not having babies isn’t. It’s not discussed. It’s not talked about. Meaning when the situation arises it becomes a whole whirlwind of confusion and emotions.
I don’t know what would have happened if I were less weeks than what I found out I was. I don’t know if I’m quite ready to think about the what ifs. But what I do know is that choice is the be all and end all. Your choice. Your body.
I had a termination in 2014. I had just met my current partner and we conceived the first time we had sex. I didn’t know we would still be together 5 years later, and with a 10 month old. I had just finished my first year at university and he had just started his career as a fireman, and we lived 220 miles apart. Even though I’m still plagued with guilt, it was the best decision in those circumstances. And I wouldn’t have changed it!
A year ago today I found out I was pregnant.
I was on the pill at the time so thought that this would never happen. Everyone kept saying to me ‘what are you going to do?’, at the time I thought ‘what do you mean?’ and then I realised they meant that I could always just have an abortion.I had been with my boyfriend for just over a year. We were starting to look for houses so we both knew that we were going to be in it for the long haul. When the test said pregnant we both cried, not because we didn’t want it but just the pure shock of the fact that our lives were going to change drastically and that I was actually pregnant! Once we’d both got over the shock both of us just looked at each other and we both said that we could do it. At no point did we ever want to abort the baby and I’m so glad that we didn’t because we now have a beautiful baby boy but the thing we also had was CHOICE.
A few weeks later we had our 12 week scan. That was the first time we really spoke about abortion and this is the reason why. At your 12 week scan you have screening tests done on your baby, we were lucky enough that ours were 1/100,000. However, some people aren’t as lucky. If the test had come back and said that our baby was going to be really poorly and wouldn’t have a proper life; in and out of hospital and to be in pain or even die before he was 1 – then we both made the decision that we would have an abortion because it would not be fair on the baby to be raised in this world in so much pain. Once again we had a CHOICE.
Our baby boy is now 4 1/2 months old and is happy and healthy and I’m so glad that he chose us. However, a few weeks ago we had another pregnancy scare. It turned out that I wasn’t pregnant but we had had the discussion that if I was we were going to have an abortion. The reason why is the fact that we are not ready to have two children, not financially and I am not mentally ready. I really struggled adjusting to the lack of sleep and at times felt that because of my age people had made me think that I wasn’t good enough or mature enough to look after my baby. Once again it is not fair to raise a child in a world where you can’t give them your all. But once again, I had a CHOICE.
How can people decide what you do with YOUR body? Everyone has their reasoning behind abortion and no-one should have to explain or have that choice taken away from them.