When I was 17-years old I’d been dating a guy. We’d been together for about a year by that point and I was smitten. Head over heels. Looking back, I was so unaware as to how happy I was and how much I should have been appreciating it. It was that real, true first love feeling without a care in the world. I would do anything to be back there right now. Young and in love. What’s not to like about that?
One summer we spent a lot of time together in the holiday village in which we had met and both had family holiday homes. Then, in September, having returned to school for the last school year, I started to feel a little different. Not emotionally, but physically. Somehow, and I still don’t quite know how, but even in my youthful ignorance, I just knew I was pregnant. The multiple pregnancy tests confirmed it. Understandably at that age I was terrified. I knew there was no way I could tell my parents. So, my first step was to visit my GP.
To confirm the multiple home tests I had taken, I was asked to submit a urine sample. I think this needed to be from my first toilet trip of the day, which meant I had to drop a sample off on my way to school one morning. Getting to the GPs surgery before they had opened I rang the bell to see if there was anyone there that could receive my little pot of wee.
I’ll never forget the rude and obnoxious lady that yelled at me for not just posting it through the letterbox. I had honestly thought that posting piss through the door would have been worse than trying to hand it over in person. Obviously not. As a terrified and emotional teenager, it was not nice being spoken to so harshly when I was already desperately trying to hold myself together. That woman will never know how awful she made me feel.
A few days later I got the call on the landline. I don’t think I even had a mobile phone back in those days. Thankfully I was the one who answered which meant I didn’t have to explain to anyone why the doctor’s surgery was ringing me. I still remember now, standing in my bedroom, listening to Mum cooking supper downstairs, being told what I already knew, that I was pregnant.
I had decided that I wasn’t going to continue with the pregnancy. I knew that I would not be able to provide for a child at such a young age and that it was not a burden I wanted to put on anyone. The guy was incredibly supportive. He was devastated about the whole situation and made all the usual promises about standing by me and helping me with whatever I decided. I knew what I wanted and indeed needed, to do.
Appointments were made and the logistics of how I would get to and from the clinic were thought out. It wasn’t going to be easy to do without my parents finding out what was happening. I could drive in those days but you’re not able to drive after having the procedure, so I’d planned to leave my car close to home and have a friend drive me.
Then, one day, I started bleeding, and I heavily suspected that I was having a miscarriage.
At my appointment, an ultrasound confirmed that whatever had been there was there no longer. I had indeed had a miscarriage and thankfully everything had passed naturally. I already knew that though, as I had seen it on the toilet paper. At that point, I knew that I had briefly held a tiny bundle that would have been my son or daughter.
I still carry this secret, with only a select few ever knowing what had happened. I would like to thank the teacher that covered for me when I told her I needed to miss some school but wouldn’t be able to provide a note from my parents. I think she knew exactly what was going on behind my terrified expression and tear stained cheeks.
As we approach what would have been his or her 13th birthday, it has only been since becoming a parent that I feel such sadness for the loss I endured. I am often grateful that nature took its course and that I didn’t resort to having an abortion. My consolation is that it was obviously never meant to be but I do wish it could have been different.
Despite intending to terminate the pregnancy, it doesn’t stop me from feeling all the loss that one feels on losing a child. The guilt doesn’t go away and the ‘what ifs’ keep coming.
I will always wonder if I would have had a little boy or girl. What would I have named them? I try to think what they’d have grown up to be and what they’d have looked like.
Every year I will think that their birthday would be approaching.
I will always miss my baby.