A British woman has written a haunting account of her life story — which has her having an abortion as an 18-year-old and realizing, at the age of 42, that she is childless and regretting the child whose life she destroyed.
Kate Spicer recounts her story in the London Daily Mail, taking about the lack of solid relationships she had as a teenager as a reason for the abortion she now regrets:
Yet if someone had told me then: ‘This is your only chance to be a mother — it’s now or never’, I suspect that between us, my mother and I would have made a fair fist of raising the child. Now, at the age of 42, it is the ‘if only I had known’ that haunts me. The idea that I passed up my only chance to have a child. If I dwell on this thought, it is disturbing, so I try to avoid it.
Although she tried to keep it hidden, she says her parents eventually found out she was pregnant:
A few days later, while waiting for my A-level results to arrive in the post, I flipped out. The stress exploded in the most violent way and I lashed out at my mother and then at my stepfather, as he tried to defend his new wife from this stepchild monster.
I ran to my room and cried. My mum came in and asked what was wrong. Even today, almost 25 years later, I can feel how visceral my shame was.
When she asked: ‘Are you pregnant?’ I said nothing, but let her cuddle me like a little girl while I bawled.
‘Please don’t tell Dad. Promise?’ I implored, over and over again.
She phoned and told him immediately; he made some calls and the date for the termination was brought forward. Mercifully, there were no recriminations, just swift action and quiet understanding.
Two weeks later, on a September morning, my mother accompanied me to Torbay Hospital, where I became a statistic, one of the 174,000 women who had a termination that year (interestingly, 10 per cent of them were overseas visitors — abortion tourists from countries with less liberal ideas).
I remember very little about the operation, other than slipping out of consciousness as the anaesthetist counted down from ten.
Spicer recounts the initial feeling of joy many women have after an abortion, that is later replaced with sorrow.
The euphoria far outweighed any physical discomfort when I left hospital. Any shame had gone, together with the nine-week old foetus: I was free again, I could breathe.
In fact, and rather alarmingly, I felt incredibly grown up. To my mind, the abortion was almost a rite of passage to being a proper woman.
Later, Spicer talks about the regret:
Just around the time of my trip to Brazil, the ghost of my never-born came back to haunt me. I began imagining what he might have been like — a tall and sandy-haired boy, who would have been 17 at the time. I was 35, the age when the experts say your eggs and fertility start declining.
It’s embarrassing to reveal these visions of my never-born son, and important to understand their significance. This imagined son was not some moral spectre come to punish me; it was my subconscious reminding me to wake up and face reality.
My relationship with the boy responsible for that pregnancy lasted three years and ended badly. Since then, I’ve had nice enough relationships with some great men, but I never met someone I could settle with for longer than a couple of years. Yes, I was a commitment phobe.
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Ironically, from the age of 35 my relationships became even more unsuitable: a married man, a boyish party animal, a confirmed bachelor.
Instead of trying to solve the problem, I was compounding it. Did I secretly not want children? More pathetically, I wonder if I thought that I didn’t deserve them.
Kristi Burton Brown of Live Acton was engrossed by Spicer’s story and responded to it.
“Her story haunts me as well because her baby would have been born in 1987, my own birth year. Though Spicer has still not come to the full realization of what her abortion did to her child (in one paragraph she talks about her “fetus” who she did not allow to become a “child” and in another paragraph she refers to her baby as her “son”), her story illustrates how many women come to regret their choice of abortion once they see the full picture, years later,” she says.
Brown adds: “Even more tragic, Spicer writes that “sensible girls” got abortions back then and that she would advise her 17-year-old god-daughter to get one today if she became pregnant. Even all the years of wondering what could have been; the years of empty arms; the years of sad infertility have not fully convinced Spicer that abortion is a choice that will come to haunt every woman one day. Regardless, Spicer shares the details of her own dilemma, caused by abortion, and how she thinks of her loss each day. Her story serves as a warning for teenage girls—or anyone—who believes that abortion is an easy choice, free of the haunting death of an innocent child. It is anything but.”