“Suddenly, here I was looking at a positive test and knowing exactly what I had to do.”
Singaporean hotel receptionist Kelly*, shares her abortion story, her personal decision- and why she hid it from her husband.
I don’t even let my mind go there for fear of the terrible sadness that will follow. These images give me a glimpse of the brutality of what I participated in. It’s absolutely horrifying. But what I did was far worse – I hid it from my pro-life husband.
Most people look back fondly on their high school sweethearts; I look across the table at mine at dinner every night. My husband and I met when we were in Secondary 3, and we’ve been together for the last 9 years.
But Scott* and I had a roller-coaster relationship, from parents disagreeing to our union, to us doing the long-distance thing the entire time we were in University- it wasn’t easy on us. And 6 months into our marriage, we were barely scraping by.
We had always talked about having a family together and we both came across as ‘kid people’. But we said we would when we could ensure we could provide for our child.
I took the pill religiously. My life was like clockwork and contraception was always high on my list of priorities. Somehow, I skipped a few (while we were travelling) and I kick myself for that silly mistake.
The night I took the home pregnancy test (I had missed my period for a week by then), I was stuck in my head so much that my husband asked me if I was feeling alright. I convinced him that I was just reading a book online and caught up in the story. The truth was that my mind was running rampant with thoughts, worrying if I was pregnant and wondering if it could be my weight-lifting which fueled delay in my period. To my dismay, the test came out positive and I went to the doctor the next morning to double confirm it- and yes, I was expecting our first child.
I thought about the amount of debt my husband and I were in. Well, we weren’t in trouble or anything, but we were just making ends meet with rent, household expenses, groceries, car payments, credit card bills, and a set of student loans to top it all off (our parents left it to us to put ourselves through Uni).
Those two pink lines on the test made my tummy roil and I broke down. I knew we couldn’t afford a child. I knew my husband knew we couldn’t afford a child. All signs pointed to abortion except one- Scott didn’t believe in abortions.
I loved Scott and never had the intention to hurt or betray him. Although I bestowed a secret that was sure to do both.
I never ever thought I would ever have an abortion. And I never imagined having to go through it alone. I went to a clinic in Ang Mo Kio on a Friday morning, on purpose, so I could rest over the weekend. I asked a close friend who had been through it secretly because her boyfriend and her were too young for a family, and she recommended this particular clinic. Of course I told her I was asking for a colleague.
“Are you here with your husband, ma’am?” the nurse asked me, looking over my shoulder.
“No, he’s overseas for the next 3 weeks”, I murmured.
“Someone will need to bring you home later. You will be very drowsy,” she continued.
Gosh, could she get off my case already? I was nervous enough, and had considered telling my best friend, but I really wanted this to be my secret. So no lady, I don’t have anyone who can bring me home.
“Don’t worry, I will call a taxi and I have a maid at home who will look after me.” I finally shut her up.
She didn’t look too happy, but carried on with the paperwork that was required. The procedure was simple and clean, and took no longer than an hour. All I remember was the doctor giving me an injection and telling me to count to 20. I recall counting till 4, and I must have been unconscious thereafter. I felt no pain.
I checked with the nurse that no documents would be sent to my home, and made sure that I paid for the procedure by cash. I took back no receipts. It felt like I had committed a crime (well, some of you may say I did).
I cried all the way home thinking about what I had just done. I had to remind myself of my reasons, and then I felt mildly comforted.
As informed, I was still groggy after the procedure, and just wanted to lie down and rest. Without making it too obvious, I called my husband and told him I was down with a terrible migraine, and had taken sick leave to get back home to rest.
I had a good few hours before he returned home from work. He didn’t suspect anything, and left me alone to rest (I always need my space when I am ill, and he knew that). There was a bit of bleeding that night, but nothing too severe.
The next day, I was up and about like nothing had happened. I expected some cramping or more bleeding, but nothing of that sort happened. I went for a follow-up check at the same clinic a month later- everything was fine. It’s been 3 months since that dreadful day, but I know deep down that what I did was right for my unborn child.
There will be a day when Scott and I can feel secure, stable and happy to bring a kid into this world. And till then, I pray that God forgives me for what I have done.
I was strong enough to do what I had to do; I can only hope that I am strong enough to bear the weight of it on my back forever.
(Story as told to Pavin Chopra)
*All names in this story have been changed to protect the identity of those involved