REASONS TO HAVE AN ABORTION
There are a number of different reasons why women may choose to have an abortion.
...you will have many years after the abortion to think back on your decision.
Here we will consider a few of these, together with the potential consequences that may result from them.
If you are considering having an abortion, we would encourage you to think very carefully about your reasons for this, as you will have many years after the abortion to think back on your decision.
The section on Women's Stories gives the heartbreaking tales of just a few of the women who recognised too late that they had made the wrong decision over abortion.
"I'm not ready to have children."
Some women don't feel ready for children when they become pregnant - either because they have other things they would like to achieve or experience first, or because they don't feel they are mentally prepared to bring up a child.
It is not unusual to feel unprepared for the task of looking after children. Even those who carefully planned their pregnancy often experience doubts about their abilities and their readiness, right up until the day of the birth. Feeling unready is a natural part of becoming a parent - and if you do continue your pregnancy, these doubts will quickly disappear once you have given birth and bonded with your new baby.
...there will be lots of people around you who are willing to help and advise you...
There is also plenty of help available to you for both pregnancy
and childcare - there will be lots of people around you who are
willing to help and advise you, and there are lots of books,
videos and websites that can guide you step-by-step through every
stage - www.babycentre.co.uk
is a very good place to start!
If you have other things you want to achieve before having children, don't assume that having children will stop you. It's worth looking into alternative ways to achieve your aims - for example, if you want to complete your education, you could see if your course can be completed at a later date, or over a longer period of time.
It is equally important to realise that, if you do choose to have an abortion, the mental and emotional toll this can take may still prevent you from achieving the goals you had set yourself (see our page on Post Abortion Stress Syndrome for more information on this). You may find yourself too unhappy and distracted to complete your studies, or your traveling abroad may feel very hollow without the baby you lost.
In contrast, many mothers talk about their baby being the best thing that has happened to them, giving them new focus and drive to achieve their goals.
"My boyfriend/partner/parents want me to."
...when we are in a crisis, we can be easily influenced by others' opinions...
Pressure from a partner, family member or advisor is a very common factor for women considering an abortion. The person concerned may have some very strong arguments for you to abort, or may threaten to abandon you if you don't.
But no woman should ever be put under pressure to make such a big decision. If you are in this situation, we would strongly advise you to seek help - find someone to talk to about it who you can trust and who can help you to stand up to the pressure.
Whatever you do, don't have an abortion because someone else wants you to - you have to make up your own mind.
Making a decision over an abortion can be very stressful, and when we are in a crisis, we can be easily influenced by others' opinions (as we start to doubt our own judgement). Having someone alongside who can reassure and support you is critical at this time.
If you stand up to those putting pressure on you, things might
be difficult for you in the short term - but if you give in to
them and have an abortion, the long-term effects on you
for the rest of your life could be devastating. Women who
have an abortion under pressure are highly likely to suffer from
problems with post-abortion trauma - see the following links for
Don't let someone else decide your future for you! If you have no-one to talk to about this, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
"I couldn't afford or care for the child."
Many people think that you have to everything perfectly in place before you can have a child. You may think you have to have a stable job, plenty of money saved up, with a stable relationship and plenty of friends and family members around to help you.
But while all of those things are helpful, you can have a baby without them! Financial support is available to you in various forms, along with advice on how to manage your finances with a child and how to get childcare.
Many parents will tell you that the joy of having children far
outweighs the costs!
For more information and advice, see the following links:
And here's one tale from a father who thought he couldn't afford children:
"I'm a teenager - I'm too young to have a baby."
...those who keep their babies often talk about the joy their child brings them...
Many teenagers think of aborting their baby, for lots of different reasons - they may think that they will be unable to cope as a teenage mother, or that it will prevent them from fulfilling their life's ambitions. They may feel they aren't mature enough to look after a child, or they may not have the support of their parents or partner.
If you are a teenager considering an abortion, whatever your reason, there are a few things you should consider:
1) You are going through a difficult period of your life anyway as a teenager - your emotions and feelings are developing, people and situations around you are changing all the time, and you're learning how to become an adult. If you are pregnant at this time, you may easily be overwhelmed by the situation, or be strongly influenced by those around you (see the section above on Pressure). It's normal to be uncertain or upset at this point - but give yourself space and time to think everything through - don't let other people or your own worries decide your course of action!
2) Many teenagers who had abortions regret it in later life, but those who keep their babies often talk about the joy their child brings them - no matter what problems they had to go through or how it's impacted their own lives. Here's one teenage girl's story: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11283247.
3) Help is at hand! However much you may be worrying about how you'll cope as a teenage mother, there are websites and organisations that can help guide and support you through every stage. Specific help for teenage pregnancy and childcare can often be accessed through your local council or your school, or you can search online for generic help. If you would just like someone to talk to and you can't find someone locally, get in touch with us.
4) There are financial benefits available to you, which can help you through this time in your life. Gingerbread's benefits finder may be helpful if you're unsure of what is available to you: http://gingerbread.org.uk/content/681/Teenage-parents-benefits-finder. You may particularly be interested in the Care to Learn scheme, which can help teenage parents fund childcare while they study: https://www.gov.uk/care-to-learn.
"I'm not in a stable relationship" / "I'm single."
This doesn't need to be a problem! While pregnancy and child care can feel difficult at times without the support of a partner, many single parents will tell you that it's well worth it for the joy and satisfaction of bringing up a child.
Again, there is lots of help available, both for finances and for support - Gingerbread (www.gingerbread.org.uk) provide lots of help and advice for single parents, and their website is a good place to start.
"I don't want others to know I was pregnant."
This is a very natural reaction when you discover that you're pregnant - especially if you think those around you might disapprove.
However, worrying about what others think of you shouldn't lead you to choose an abortion. While you may find things uncomfortable in the short term when people hear your news, this is far better than living with the consequences of an abortion for the rest of your life.
You may well be surprised by the reactions of those around you when you tell them that you're pregnant - and even if some initially disapprove, they will usually come round quite quickly!
Try to find someone you trust to tell the news first, and ask them for support as you tell others. As the saying goes, "a problem shared is a problem halved".
"My baby may have a disability."
Please see our dedicated page about babies with disabilities for information and advice on this difficult subject.
"I became pregnant through rape."
This is perhaps the most difficult reason to discuss - if you are in this situation, we know that our words alone may seem inadequate to help you - but we hope we can give you the encouragement you need to keep going.
Given the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing, it's important that you don't make any snap decisions. Take time to think everything through, to adjust to what has happened - and most important of all, to talk about it with people you trust. While this may feel difficult, the more you talk about what has happened and how you are feeling, the more you will be able to cope with your situation now and prepare for the future.
While you may feel that having an abortion will solve the problem you're facing, you need to remember that abortion is not a perfect solution - in fact, for many women who have an abortion, it can create a problem in itself as they face up to the emotional and physical consequences that abortion can create.
Fighting a negative with a negative is rarely a good idea - by following rape with abortion, you risk adding new trauma to the trauma you have already experienced. In contrast, if you have the baby, you may find (as thousands of others have before) that the child is a source of comfort and inspiration, actually helping you to move on with your life.
You may think - or be told - that if you carry on with your pregnancy, the resulting child will constantly remind you of what you went through. But aborting the baby won't change what has happened for you, and it won't make you forget it - as has been said above, it may just make matters worse for you.
So we would strongly encourage you to think very carefully before you make a decision - and if you are struggling to find someone you can talk to about this, get in touch with us and we will help in any way we can.
To hear the stories of other victims of rape, and how they look back on their different decisions on abortion, see the following links: