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#HERStory – Episode 13: Not Keeping the Pregnancy

What Did She Do?

Aborted A Pregnancy I Could Not Afford to Keep

Not Keeping the Pregnancy: I met Reginald at a Gala in Ikoyi. He was tall, dark and handsome. He said he was smitten by the red gown I wore. I gave him my card, and that evening he sent me a text and we started our whirlwind romance. He was perfect. Sent flowers to my office (just to make me smile), called everyday and always responded to my texts (almost immediately). He had his own successful real estate company; he was everything I could ask for. Our first night together was something right out of a Nora Roberts novel. I felt like I was in a dream, because I was! It was all too good to be true because it was a big lie. The second month into the relationship, I missed my period. No panic. A week after the delay, I asked my best friend to follow me to the clinic to get a pregnancy test kit. I was too embarrassed to go myself. At least, the Pharmacist would not be able to tell which of us was in confusion. “Sade, why are you quiet? Is it positive?” Paulina screamed from the bedroom as I sat in shock on the toilet seat. “Two Pink lines” I whispered. I kept checking the side of the test kit and re-reading the instructions. I was pregnant. “Not now. Lord, not now” I whispered to myself as my face sunk in my palms.

How Did She Do it?

I Still Don’t Know

Not Keeping the Pregnancy: I invited Reginald to dinner at my place to break the news to him. “Folasade, you cannot keep that child. I am a married man. I am so sorry. I want nothing to do with you or that pregnancy.” Reginald barked back at me as I finished my speech. I was in utter shock. Not because he was asking me to abort the pregnancy, but because he was a lying bastard. “Get the hell out of my house!” I screamed as I pushed him out of my apartment, tears running down my cheeks. How could I have been so foolish? Giving myself fully to this man that had been a liar all along. I was heartbroken. Now, to make matters worse, I had this pregnancy that could possibly ruin my future. I was just 21. Nigerian men run from women who already have kids. Dating becomes even harder. Let us not even begin to talk about the stigma of being a single mother. This was not the plan for my life. Keeping this pregnancy that would constantly remind me of this big mistake called ‘Reginald’? Raising a child all by myself? No! I was not going to do that to myself. I had never been someone who considered abortion as an option. I grew up in a Christian home. My parents would disown me if they found out. But they would also disown me if they found out I was pregnant out of wedlock. Two weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I found myself seated at this shanty-looking clinic; Paulina at my side. This was the only clinic we could find that carried out the procedure we were looking for. It is not very easy finding a clinic that carries out abortions. It had been an embarrassing and difficult search. Now, the day had finally come and I just could not help but wonder how I let myself get here. I was a good girl with a decent upbringing. How did I end up being the girl at the shanty clinic about to abort her first pregnancy? I was heartbroken, because I had no one else to blame but myself. I should have known better than to trust a man named ‘Reginald’. When I woke up after the procedure. All I remember was the smell of stale blood. My clinical robe was soaked in blood from my vagina. The sight was so gruesome and I was so light headed. I passed out. The next day, I woke up to Paulina’s face. She had spent the night with me and helped clean me up. Thank God for friends like Paulina. We never spoke about that day ever again. It is like we both erased it from our memories. The entire experience was the worst experience of my entire adult life.

A Moment That Tested Her

Dealing with The Burden of the Guilt

Not Keeping the Pregnancy: Getting to the point where I finally decided not to keep the pregnancy. It was a feeling of numbness. I remember it so well. It was like the death of my innocence. But, I was torn between the decision of bringing a child into this world to a life of sadness and discomfort at the expense of my own happiness and bright future or, living with the pain of knowing that I did not allow this child come into the world to suffer along with me with the hope of another chance to make my life better. I chose a second chance. I know some people would call me selfish, or say I killed my baby. But, I’m not here to defend myself. I just pray no woman has to find herself in that position.

Her Eureka Moment?

It Was My Best Option at the Time

Not Keeping the Pregnancy: For many years, I’ve carried this guilt in my chest that I killed my baby and that I may never be able to have kids again after what happened to my womb during the abortion. But, every now and then, a perspective pushes through – I have seen many children, even adults go through life wishing they were never born into the circumstances they found themselves in. I realize I would have been even more heartbroken if I had to live with the pain of watching this child suffer or having to give the child up for adoption to go through life as an unwanted baby in an orphanage. Even worse, would have been the pain I would have carried for the rest of my life, being constantly reminded of the rejection I faced from his/her father. Reginald never even called to ask me how things turned out. So, in the end, I know in my heart, I did the right thing. I can only hope that when God gives me a second chance at having a family, in the right setting, I would be fortunate enough to have the baby I pushed back, return to me.

The issue of Abortion is a very controversial one in today’s African society. Even globally, abortions are frowned at and in most regions punishable by law. However, many groups have come up to defend the rights of women over their bodies, citing the unfortunate circumstances around the inception of these unwanted pregnancies, and the impact of having these babies on the lives and futures of these women (and sometimes girls), as strong arguments for the legalization of safe abortions for women; especially as millions of women still endanger their lives through unsafe abortions every year. The global debate continues as some women continue to fight for the right to be allowed to freely make the decision to keep or terminate these unwanted pregnancies that could make or destroy their lives, without facing execution from the state. It does not matter where you seat on the spectrum, if you or anyone you know is currently going through the very scary and confusing experience of an unwanted pregnancy, click HERE to get help.


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