Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Swazi woman's abortion account #1

"I am a 33 year old Swazi woman and I had an abortion 12 years ago.

I remember the first time I suspected that I was pregnant. I was finding hard to wake up in the morning and even harder to keep my eyes open after lunch. A friend suggested I do a pregnancy test. I was so young (21) and scared of being judged. So I decided to have a blood test done at the clinic. The doctor that attended to me was a good friend of mine, so that made things easier. He to a blood sample and carried out an HIV test as well.

I went back a few days letter to get the results; negative for HIV and positive for bun in the oven. That was the scariest exciting news I’d ever had. The next bit was telling the father of the baby that I was expecting a baby. We agreed to meet and when I told him I was pregnant, he immediately announced that I had to get rid of “it”. We argued about it, I even told him not to call me any more.

How foolish I was to think I could wish someone away and feel nothing when I next saw him again. He came by and tried to “reason” with me. The sad thing is everything he said seemed to make sense. I was planning to leave for Europe at the end of that year and a baby would not make that possible. He was not ready to have a baby and I had my future to build.

I eventually gave in to pressure and we drove to a Marie Stopes International Clinic in South Africa to have the abortion done. I remember talking with the father of the baby; he asked me why I wanted to keep the baby. I told him that “it” was a part of me and him put together to make a beautiful gift.

I remember walking into the room for the procedure to be done. I’d been given medication to take to “open” the cervix. When I walked in to the room, I was internally horrified to see that the doctor carrying out the procedure was a scary looking man with tribal scars on his face. The nurse at his side, glared at me as I climbed onto the bed. Next to the bed was a bucket. I was told to relax while the doctor did what he needed to do. The first pain I felt was when the suction tool was inserted into to me. It was as if someone was tearing into my flesh. The next pain was when he started to jab it (the suction tool) in and out of my womb. I thought the pain would never end. I wanted to scream, but the lady in the room next to mine was already screaming for both of us. It felt like it would never end. I can still hear the noise the machine makes when it sucks out your unborn child. I was 9 weeks pregnant; the baby would have been born in April 2000.

I walked out of there feeling so sad; it’s a sadness I have never ever been able to get over. Today I have two beautiful children. The eldest alive child was born in July and the last born in April - 11 years after that horrible abortion. I have learnt that I would have been better off having the baby than having the endless heart ache. The smell of the clinic never leaves your nostrils. The sounds never leave your mind. It’s a road I would NEVER recommend anyone to go through. I have prayed for forgiveness and know that God has forgiven me. But I am still struggling with the idea of forgiving myself. No one should wear the shoes I walk in daily."

(published in The Swazi Observer, 23rd January 2013)

This true account is the first I've been able to collect from sources. I have left her words unedited, to better preserve her unique voice. Thank you to Aunty A, and her brave beautiful client who spoke up about this terrible experience. I desperately hope that other women and girls would be encouraged to seek godly counselling and find real healing and peace from a life-long hurt.
Love, Ruth xx
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