"I don't regret my abortion and it's not your place to make me feel like I should"

Young woman who is pro-choice
Young woman who is pro-choice

Having an abortion is never an easy choice to make. And sometimes, women who make the difficult decision to abort are treated badly, get judged by friends, partners, colleagues, strangers and even family members who feel like they have a say in what someone else should or shouldn't be doing with their bodies.

READ MORE: What the law says: Can men have a say in you getting a abortion?

I spoke to Kelly Daniels, 23, who unexpectedly fell pregnant while doing her second last year at the University of Johannesburg during 2016. 

Read her story below. Kelly wants to share her story with other women faced with a similar choice to make.

"I come from a very disadvantaged background so when I was given the opportunity to go and study I grabbed it with both hands. Everything was going very well for me, my grades were good and my mom and dad who worked very hard to get me through school were so proud of me.

I felt like a role model to my younger siblings and planned everything in my future almost obsessively, I wanted nothing to hinder my success. I worked very hard and landed an incredible internship which I was meant to start in the beginning of 2018 right after my graduation.

READ MORE: Even after seeing Nomzamo Mbatha graduate, I didn't think going to my ceremony was important - until my gogo told me what it meant to her

Being desperate to never have to live in the ghetto I grew up in served as one of my greatest motivators, so I never set a foot out of line, didn't drink or party excessively like all the other people in my class.

One morning I felt incredibly sick. I didn't think anything of it, but decided to skip class and stay in bed. My sudden sickness persisted for the entire week. At this point both myself and my boyfriend were a little worried. I scheduled an appointment at the local clinic.

That's when I got the news. I was six weeks pregnant. I went into a shock like no other. A wave of emotions swept over me and I suddenly felt crippled. Instantly all my dreams were crashing around me. Having a baby was not in my plans at the time.

Admittedly the initial shock of discovering out I was pregnant temporarily stripped me of the ability to think rationally. All I could see was the look of disappointment in the eyes of my father who used blood, sweat and tears to send me to school.

READ MORE: ‘I found out I was pregnant at 5 months – and it was terrifying'

I also thought of my internship. It would definitely slip away from me along with my graduation and everything else I had planned for the next few years of my life.

Neither I nor my boyfriend had jobs or came from a wealthy background. This baby would have to suffer with parents who had no means to make ends meet. I'd probably be forced to take up any job available to me just to provide. Having a baby would also mean my parents no longer paying for my studies but instead raising another baby.

After a lengthy and emotional discussion with my boyfriend, we made the tough decision to have an abortion. I cried for weeks while waiting for my appointment date to terminate the pregnancy. I thought about every negative comment I have ever heard people make about women who chose to abort. I thought about the life form growing inside my belly.

At the same time I imagined the poor quality of life I would provide this unborn child, being an unemployed college dropout.

READ MORE: "It’s saving lives" – nurses who perform abortions share their story

And so the day came and I went through with the abortion. The physical pain couldn't be compared to the emotional pain. Even though I made the decision, I still experienced feelings of loss. 

Apart from my best friend (and boyfriend) I told no one else about the abortion. She didn't say anything but the disgust in her eyes was so evident it made me feel sick. Abortion shaming is still so real and I was dealing with so much of my own emotions I couldn't bear the judgement from people who had never been in a similar situation.

Currently I am working for one of the biggest engineering companies and am well on my way to a more successful future. Besides trusting my own friend for support in such a dark time, I have no regrets about the abortion and feel confident that when I am ready for motherhood, I will be given the opportunity to plan and properly prepare for it."

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