After Abortion: Clare's Letter

Clare, aged 22, is a secretary. She had an abortion when she was 19. Immediately she regretted it and became very distressed. She has overdosed twice since it. She decided not to post the letters below to Billy and Veronica

Clare - letter 1

I know exactly the night I got pregnant. It was a Saturday. One of my close friends had a very serious accident and we didn't know if she was going to make it or not. Anyway, Billy brought me to see her and afterwards we held each other and ended up making love. He said he was sorry after, because we said we wouldn't, but it wasn't his fault, it was both our faults.

I knew for about a month before I did the test that I was pregnant. I did a home pregnancy test and it just confirmed what I knew already. I rang Billy and told him. It was about 10.00 pm. He walked into the flat about 12.00 pm. That was the first time he told me he loved me. I was crying and he said that we could get married if I wanted to. I said no, as it was too soon for us. Later I changed my mind, but he had changed his too.

Arriving in England

He thought I should have the baby and give it up for adoption. I really didn't know what to do. I was so scared. I told my best friend, and she came to the flat the following day. It was she who suggested the abortion. I remember thinking that sounds OK. But then I said that Billy wouldn't allow it. I was really hoping he wouldn't. From the start I was really against it. I am very dramatic. I thought if I told Billy about abortion that he would say no, take me in his arms and solve everything. Then I found it was my problem. He kept saying that anything I wanted to do was OK by him. Now I see why I resent him so much.

The morning we got to England was a Sunday. Billy wanted to go to Mass, so we did. During it I got really upset and he had to bring me out. There didn't seem much point being at Mass having come to England for an abortion. The first clinic was awful. I hated it. I had to get several tests done, the doctors were horrible and cold. There was one counsellor who was nice. She asked us if there was a support group that would be able to help me afterwards. She said that there was one in Dublin. Doesn't that make you mad? They knew that I would probably be like this, they were even telling me about a support group, and I hadn't done it at all at that stage. They knew the effects and still they did it.

Always enough room

The counsellor asked if I was really sure that this was what I wanted to do. I was crying by then. Billy held my hand and I said yes. She told me that I was lucky to have Billy's support. Then we had to give £40 to another girl. We then went to a waiting room. After a while I had to go for an internal examination. The nurse or doctor was coloured and as cold as ice. This examination was probably the most humiliating and degrading of the lot.

The following day I had to go to another clinic. We got the names of B&B places from the first clinic. Billy rang one of them and they said they were full. Then they asked him if he was from the clinic and they said that they always had enough room for the clinic. They picked us up at the tube station and the man was telling us where we could go for dinner, and which pub would be nice, and telling me not to drink too much, and saying not to worry about it as a couple of hundred girls got it done every day and it was nothing.

So we went out that night and I did have a lot to drink. Then we went home and slept. We woke in plenty of time for the butchering the following day. We had a long walk to the clinic. Billy held my hand. I don't remember what we were talking about. We passed a flower shop near the clinic. In the clinic I gave my name and signed some paper. I was in a daze at that stage. There were others there. A nurse came down the stairs and called out names. My name was one of them.

In the wheelchair

Billy called me back and asked me if he would get a kiss. I kissed him and remember the nurse and the other two girls waiting for me. If I had asked him to take me away there and then I think he would have done it. We would be happy now instead of being so unhappy.

In the room the three of us were left to undress and put on white gowns. A nurse told us we would probably not be done until after lunch-time. Then another black nurse came along and asked for me. I thought it was time for me, but she gave me a bunch of red roses. Billy had brought them there for me. I hated that. I thought it was hypocritical. I thought he was to blame and was putting me through the whole thing. I realise now that I was wrong, as I am so often wrong in my thoughts and feelings.

The three of us began to talk. One girl was English and a little empty-headed, but the other one was Irish and Catholic and already had two children. She had as many doubts as I had. We talked all day about what we were about to do. At 12.00 a nurse came in and gave us valium tablets. After them we were a bit light-headed and were even laughing at the Flintstones on TV. The first to go down was the empty-headed girl. A large nurse took her in a wheelchair. I was next to go into the wheelchair, out the corridor and down in the lift.

I was crying then. I went through two swing doors and into a tiny corridor. I was crying a lot now, and the nurse looked at my files. She said I would be alright and there was no need to worry. Little did she know. I knew I was going to be alright, but I also knew that my baby wasn't. I got the injection, and it felt like water running through my body, and all the time I was crying. And that was it. It was all over.

Time for the visitors

I woke up feeling tired and weird. I cried loudly and the other girls wanted to get me some help. I said "I don't believe I really did it." I kept crying and couldn't stop. The other girl in the room, the Irish one, started to cry also. It was sad. We were both very upset and talked about what we had done, saying that it felt like murder, which it still does all the time.

We did cheer up after a while, and maybe at that stage it hadn't really hit me. I know that we were very hungry and were waiting to get something to eat. After a while a nurse came in with some sandwiches. I think that I read for a while and then we were given dinner, a brown stew. We complained about the food to each other, so if something like bad food was on our minds the baby couldn't have been bothering us that much at that stage.

Shortly after it was time for the visitors to come. When Billy was five minutes late I was really mad with him. I was blaming him for all that had happened at that stage. I asked him then if he would marry me now, after what I had done because of him, and he said no. I was horrible to him, and in the end I told him to get out as I didn't want him. He left the clinic and went to a pub and proceeded to get locked drunk. Again we talked about how we felt about the men responsible. I think I started to blame Billy then and have continued to do so all the time, even now. I must admit I feel if only he had been there to stop me. I am living a life of hell now, and I wonder how long more I will be able to keep going like this.

Scrubbing myself in the shower

After a while a nurse came to me with a box of tablets. They were anti-biotics. As I was going to Ireland soon they wouldn't be able to see me again, and they would prevent infection. I still have the empty box with the name of the clinic written on it, as well as most of the leaflets which they gave me. At about 9.00 pm another nurse told the English girl that she could go home. She hadn't been as far pregnant as they thought she was.

They then came and told me that I was 10-11 weeks pregnant, and the other girl that she was 7 weeks. A doctor handed me a letter, telling me to take it to my doctor in Ireland three weeks after my return. (I kept the letter but didn't go to the doctor until I was really cracking up. He burned it as he said it was one of the things that was upsetting me so much.) I was then given a sleeping tablet and I cried for a while after the lights were turned off and the room was quiet. Then I fell asleep. We were wakened at 6.00 am and allowed to have a shower. I remember getting into the shower and scrubbing myself, but I came out feeling dirty.

We went downstairs to breakfast. It was horrible. Everyone was sitting around. It was the first time I had seen more than the girls in the room with me. There were lots of people and everyone looked fairly miserable. Most of the girls had met someone. I was with the girl in the room with me. We went upstairs after only a short time.

Our beds were made. We sat on them and were told by a nurse to get up as the beds were made for new girls. We again watched TV and read magazines until the doctor came. He just asked me if I was alright and told me to look after myself and not to lift anything heavy. He was the doctor who had done the abortion. And that was it.

It wasn't a baby

We were told to wait in the hallway until we were collected. Billy turned up at five past eight. Leaving the place I spent the whole time calling Billy every name under the sun. I was calling myself a murderer and generally giving out about everything. We got to the tube station. I was saying all the time that I had just killed my baby. I sat on a seat and Billy got me a coke.

When he came back I was still complaining. He hadn't said anything. Then he told me that it wasn't a baby, that it was only a heap of cells, not yet a baby. But it was a baby and I know it was now. I don't know whether he knows it or not, but it was my baby who was killed and I know it. She keeps telling me and reminding me every night and day of my life what I did. I am always being punished in so many ways.

Last night in bed I kept thinking of a comment a friend made about her sister, in a joke. She told her that she was like something that escaped from an abortion bucket. I kept seeing my tiny baby inside in a bucket with all other pieces of babies, and I was really upset.

I still can't see what good all this damn writing can do. It doesn't make me feel better. The only thing is that I am giving this typewriter a cruel death. Even though it is electronic I am hitting the keys as if they hit me first. I am so mad.

I will go now and let you think what you like of me. I don't care what you think. Why should you give a sh- anyway? I'm sorry for saying all these awful things. I'll write again when I am more together.



Clare - Letter to Veronica 

Dear Veronica,

It is time to write to you to tell you how I feel about your part in my abortion three years ago. You were always the best friend I had, I would have done almost anything you wanted me to. I know we were close, which is long gone at this stage isn't it?

In one way I hate you. I really trusted you, and when I found out I was pregnant I knew you would help me. The first thing I did was ring you and tell you my problem. You were along to me the following night, with your damned stupid advice. How could you have advised me to have an abortion? It was you who said it. I remember it well, "You don't have to have the baby you know, Clare". You had to have known someone who had one before, and of course she was fine. She would be, wouldn't she?

What kind of monster did you know, who wasn't affected at all by having murdered her baby? Or was she another friend you didn't bother with when the whole thing was over? Were you ashamed of me, you friend, holy Veronica's friend? Holy Veronica who would go to every Mass and every prayer meeting that ever existed. But did all your religious outings teach you to help your friend to have an abortion? You are nothing but a hypocrite.

Your boyfriend was against it. You would tell me how he gave out over what I was doing, and tell you that I would regret it. And you would say, what would he know, he wouldn't have the baby. He knew exactly what he was talking about and only wanted to help. Why wouldn't you listen? You organised everything. I let things go, being mixed up as I was.

The way my life is now

You made me go to the doctor, and made me fix holidays. You made all the phone calls, you even went away and bought me the ticket for the plane. God, I am surprised you didn't offer to kill the baby yourself. Did you think of what it might do to me, at all? Even now when you see what it did do you stay away from me as much as you can. You bitch. You have a great life, and you did a lot to make mine the way it is now.

I am miserable, unhappy, and most of the time lonely. Why? Because I have to live with the fact that I killed my own baby. You let me and my baby down. You helped me to commit murder! You suggested it, encouraged it and organised it. All I had to do was actually go through with the murder. After all, you saw to it that everything was arranged, and I wouldn't have to have a child.

You probably felt that if I had the baby I wouldn't be able to go out and be such fun any more, and who would you have to hang around with then? But it doesn't matter anyway, I'm not any fun any more. So you stay away from me. After all why should you be stuck with a friend who is always upset, and always wants to talk about her dead child?

The torture since then

Until I started this letter I never really realised how big a part you played in the killing of my beautiful innocent Lucy. Why weren't you there for me with better advice and other options? Do you realise what kind of torture I have been going through since then? I know you don't. Because you got sick of listening to me giving out about it and you stopped seeing me.

I will never forgive myself for allowing myself to have that abortion. I will never forgive myself for killing my baby and I will never forgive myself for trusting you. God, you were so definite about what you thought I should do about the pregnancy; and all the time, after you little bouts of advice, you would say "Of course, it is up to you". How could it be up to me when I was so mixed up? But that cleared you from the responsibility of knowing that it was you who put the idea in my head.

I know it is easy for me to blame you for the whole thing. Well, I don't, but I know that I killed my baby. And if only I had the proper support and help, maybe I would have seen things more clearly. I wanted everyone else in the world to make my decisions for me, but you only helped me to make the decision that has screwed up my life.

You can argue that you were trying to help me. But I don't need any more help screwing up my life. I thought I had done that all by myself when I became pregnant, but my life wasn't destroyed until I killed my baby. And you certainly helped with that!



clare - letter to billy

Dear Billy,

Will you ever understand all the pain I have gone through in the last two and a half years, and all the pain that I still suffer? I know you think it was my own fault, and some of it was. But you were equally to blame. God, I needed you so badly.

When I told you I was pregnant I thought you would help me. But you could only say it was totally up to me, what I wanted to do. That wasn't support! Love and support, that was all I wanted. I didn't know what to do. For God's sake I was desperate. And all you could do was just stand back and tell me it was up to me.

Sometimes I hate your guts, when I think of all I gave up for you. You had no respect in the world for me. All you wanted to do was get me into bed. God, when I think of how stupid I was, all because I thought you were the perfect fellow for me. You are the main reason that my life is a hell, and half of me hates you so much that I want to kill you.

Yes, I have thought about it. I feel so much resentment for you and your nice comfortable life and your precious drinking buddies. Whenever we have a fight you walk away. Well, I know that is the one thing that you are good at. You walk away, no you run, until I hurt so much that I come running after you. Then you take me back. It does you ego the world of good, doesn't it? You still don't understand why I get depressed. You still don't realise what that baby meant to me. What it means to me knowing that I killed her because I was afraid. When I was pregnant I would sit in that flat night after night. You thought you were being the dutiful boyfriend by ringing me twice a week, to see how I was doing. But you didn't have to put up with the pain!

It was our baby

You were all I had to grab on to, and by God, but you weren't much. I needed someone to tell me that they loved me and my baby. Why didn't you do that? My baby just wanted to be loved, but neither of the two of us were, so I killed her, maybe because I am weak. I know I am, but I couldn't love her on my own. I needed some help.

When I found out I was pregnant it wasn't a very nice feeling. But I thought everything would be OK when I told you. I know I probably expected too much from you, but I got nothing! You came to me and asked me what I was going to do about it. I will never forgive you for that! Never ever. It was our baby. I know you couldn't wave a magic wand and make the problem disappear, but it was your baby too.

Why didn't you help me? When I asked you for help I got a lecture about being stupid and you having responsibilities. What the hell was I and my baby? But of course we came second to your football, drink and stupid immature friends. I needed support so badly.

I remember ringing you on several occasions when I knew I was pregnant and you were out. Yes, you were out, drowning your sorrows, trying to figure out a way of getting rid of your baby and me, and wondering what the hell you ever saw in me.

I don't know what I expected when I told you I would have an abortion. But I didn't expect you to agree with it. I thought I would make you think twice and give me more support. I didn't think for one moment that you would want to kill our baby. But I should have known.

What were your suggestions? Go away. Have it and give it up for adoption. You were useless. And God, I needed you. When you went to England with me everyone thought you were great, giving me all that support.

Like we were going on holiday

As far as I am concerned you were just making sure the damn problem was murdered. You never saw it as a child. I used to call the baby a her, and you would call it nothing. Avoiding talking about it all the time. You brought a damn camera with you and took photos. I hated you for that. It was far from being a damn holiday for me! And it was a one-way ticket for my poor innocent baby.

I hate you! When I told you about being sick and about my body changing you didn't want to know. You told me the night before we went to England that I didn't have to go through with it. But the following day you were getting on the boat with me and acting like we were going on holiday.

For the last two years you have run away every time I started talking about my baby or got into bad form over it. When I'd ring you wouldn't ring back. You were always safely away from the pain I was going through. I think I will never ever forgive you for running away. If you had made a mistake, admitted it and tried to put it right everything would be alright. But it isn't like that, is it? When I am awake all night crying you are nowhere to be seen.

I need to talk about my baby. She is part of my life and I want to talk about what she would be like if she was alive now. Remember when I had to get the present for Jack's little baby? I really couldn't stop looking at the little suit and booties I got him. I kept thinking about how lovely it would have been to buy things for my own little girl. She would probably be walking at this stage.

And when I tell you about it you see it as my way of getting back at you. Maybe it is! God knows that at this minute I would love to tear you apart slowly so that it would hurt you, but even that wouldn't be bad enough. What I would really like is to put you through the same mental pain that you put me through.

The sort of respect you have for me

Don't you see that it isn't fair? You have your life. My life is centred around you, and what use is that to me when you run away every time that I need you? How can you say that you love me? How could you have let me go through all that and still be mad with me when I am upset? Will you ever understand that I love my baby and I hate myself and you for what we did to her?

Do you remember telling me that if it wasn't you who made me pregnant it would have been some other fellow? That is the sort of respect you have for me. I am a human being, and I deserve a lot better than that. I was stupid, I know to give in to you so easily. But you must admit you spent all your spare time trying to persuade me to hop into bed. You are still as immature as ever. I think the last couple of years have taught me not to trust you, not to trust anyone, I suppose.

If I get better it won't be because of you, and maybe some day I will leave you and let you go through a tiny bit of the pain that you have let me go through. But that would probably suit you. You could run home to mammy and daddy and be pampered as their only little boy. If only they knew what sort of a low down bastard their son is!


(The relationship between Clare and Billy gradually became violent - recently they ended it.)