What do I say to my 16 year old self, who now stands in her 40+ skin which has housed four pregnancies with only one child to hold and name. A termination at 16 was hard. It felt at the time that I was making the best decision, but not the right decision. I felt strongly that I was killing a child and at some point I would be punished for it. The hospital and doctors made sure I was well aware of the weight of my decision. I felt lonely and alone. Waking up post operation with giant orange stickers of elephants and pink kangaroos above my head. Not quite the support I needed or wanted at the time. Quite a different journey years later with my next experience of pregnancy and loss. Another termination, this time the choice was easy. It was a way out. There was no guilt or lamenting like the previous one. The circumstances were different. I was different. I was lucky this time to be looked after by the Pregnancy Advisory Centre. Their care was unwavering. And I felt supported, but still alone.
Time passes. And I am blessed with a beautiful child to share my world with, and I feel incredibly lucky to be a mum. And its not all easy and the hard bits are definitely heart affecting, but I share in the discoveries and laughter and tears with a deep sense of love.
Another twist. An unexpected pregnancy miscarried, rocking my afternoon some years back. The ‘product’ (a lovely medical term) repeatedly falling out of me, rivalled any horror movie. I didn’t have time to mourn this thing that I didn't even know existed as I was rushed to hospital where more questions shook my world. Questions pertaining to my mental state. Hospital staff looking at the self harming choices I had made and then extending them to the foetus I had just lost. Again, not the right way to support any woman who emotionally was in need of hugs.
And now, once more I find myself facing fertility issues. This time early menopause. What a kick in the guts. I feel as a woman, I can't escape the beating pulse that my body operates in. How should fertility feel? How am I meant to feel? Whats the right choice vs the best choice? How do I even begin to talk about all this swirling in my head, especially when I don't always have the words, or know how to say out loud what’s in my head. Where do I go to talk about this? Who wants to listen? Without a safe space to share our stores, without the kindness of words and hugs I feel I am left to share very little, but remember in vivid colour.
What do I now say to my 16 year old self.... be kind to yourself. The right thing, is the best thing. You know what you're doing.